Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES)


A Professional and SALISES Tribute to Dr. Henry Charles

Prepared by: Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard

Acting Director

Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES)

The University of the West Indies

St. Augustine

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On Saturday 8th July 2023, Dr. Henry Charles known by many of his close associates as “Charlo” or Comrade Charlo transitioned, leaving all and sundry in absolute disbelief.  That certainly was my experience, having returned from Guyana that very morning and been informed on that very same morning that Dr. Charles was on his way to England.  Not surprisingly, his mission was to deliver yet another one of his very well researched, experience-filled, and pragmatic presentations to international actors, all eagerly awaiting his wise counsel.  I have prepared this tribute to Dr. Charles wearing two hats, first as the Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), and second as a professional colleague who met him because we shared a similar interest in youth development.  I shall treat with the latter first.

On a professional level, I became aware of Henry’s work through Dr. Armstrong Alexis (now Deputy Secretary General, CARICOM Secretariat) who, in the late 1990s and in the early years of the 21st century, served as the Regional Director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) based in Georgetown, Guyana.  During that period, the CYP Head-Office in London, England was engaging in pioneering work to develop a Youth Development Index to gauge the status of youth development in Commonwealth Member States and I provided consultancy services in the form technical advice that enabled the London Office to concretise the process that yielded the Commonwealth Youth Development Index. That was my entre into the youth development arena and the vehicle that eventually spawned my fuller engagement with Henry, in the arena of youth development practice and scholarship.

It was not until 2011 that I received a call from Ms. Dwynette Eversley, a longstanding colleague of Dr. Charles, who was at that time, the Regional Director of CYP in Georgetown, Guyana.   Dwynette called me to perform the role of facilitator and lead trainer of a workshop that would expose Caribbean youth workers and leaders to skills akin to monitoring and evaluating youth development programmes.  Dr. Charles had succeeded Dr. Alexis, a fellow St. Lucian, to become the Regional Director of the CYP in Guyana.  He assumed diplomatic status while working in such a capacity, and upon reflection, I was not surprised by the call as it was a call to duty that would have been orchestrated by Dr. Charles’ visionary mind.   At the time of the invitation, I had never met Dr. Charles though his formidable reputation in youth development and his lifetime commitment to the cause had preceded our formal meeting.  I had never even googled him to obtain a vivid image of the man.

Following Dwynette’s call, I arrived in Georgetown during the last quarter of 2011 and met Dr. Charles formally for the first time.  My first impression was an image of ROYALTY; and I should say James Earl Jones in the movie COMING TO AMERICA came full-blast to me.  I have heard several others mention the resemblance between Dr. Charles and James Earl Jones, but undoubtedly, in their respective fields, they both represent ROYALTY.  Dr. Charles’ charisma was, without a doubt, evident in our first meeting in 2011.  I actually remember him being a full participant in the workshop; a full testimony characterising him as a leader by example and not by command.  He grounded well with youth workers and leaders from the Caribbean.  From the Bahamas across to Belize, and southward to Guyana, youth workers and leaders revered Dr. Charles and loved him unconditionally.  Dr. Charles was courteous, graceful, charismatic, selfless, visionary, diplomatic, and charming.  Additionally, he possessed a jolly sense of humour.  In my mind, he was one of the few GENTLE GIANTS whom I have come to know in this lifetime, due principally to their seemingly effortless carriage as he attained lofty ideals and goals.

In 2012-2013, Dr. Charles lived in Trinidad and Tobago, having moved on beyond the Commonwealth Secretariat.  We sustained a professional association as a result of our general interest in advancing youth development.  During that period, I was the President of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA), and informed Dr. Charles that I was hosting the Annual Conference of the CSA in Grenada.  It was at that point that I became aware of Comrade Charlo.  He exuded wholesome knowledge of the activist in revolutionary struggle and could give a virtual ball-by-ball coverage of the status of events in Grenada between 1979 and 1983.   More than that, I recognised his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Grenada Revolution, the 1970s Black Power Movement in Trinidad and Tobago, the encounters of Walter Rodney and for that matter any other Revolutionary Movement that punctuated the Caribbean landscape.   His knowledge of Caribbean elections, electoral process, and political affairs convinced me that he was the premier authority on such pronouncements in the Caribbean Region.

Dr. Charles and his wife Dr. Jameson Charles have become academic stalwarts within the Movement of the Caribbean Studies Association, having attended and presented their scholarly works for the first time during the 2013 Grenada Conference, and continuing to do so in Merida (Mexico) in 2014, New Orleans (USA) in 2015, Port-au-Prince (Haiti) in 2017, and Havana (Cuba) in 2018.  They were also regular presenters in Conferences hosted annually by SALISES and I distinctly remember their full participation in the 2017 Annual SALISES Conference hosted by SALISES, St. Augustine and the one that was hosted by SALISES Mona in 2018.  Dr. Charles was an active member of the SALISES Research Cluster on Youth Development, led by Dr. Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts.  This was an august team of Caribbean youth researchers who met regularly and were driven by the wisdom and dedicated guidance of Dr. Henry Charles.  In 2015, the Cluster hosted a Caribbean Conference on Youth Development and despite the fact that Dr. Gilbert Roberts chaired and piloted the organisation of the Conference, Dr. Charles, Henry as we fondly refer to him, was always a solid mentor, advisor, and resource-person integral to bringing the conference into fruition.

I became acutely aware of Dr. Charles’ regional and international influence while attending regional and international meetings addressing critical issues reflecting upon youth development praxis and scholarship.  Dr. Charles and I were around the table and participated, making our respective contributions in at least three meetings in Marlborough House, Commonwealth Secretariat in London, England.  I also remember similar engagements at meetings in Kingston (Jamaica), Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), Georgetown (Guyana), and Belize City (Belize).   In the London meetings, the tremendous respect directed towards Henry was warranted and admirable, indicative of high commendation bestowed upon services rendered by a Pan-Caribbean man who always delivered selflessly to humankind and especially to young people, whether locally in St. Lucia, regionally in the Caribbean, or internationally serving the rest of the world.  As recent as April 2023, the UWI through SALISES, the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC), and the Caribbean Historical Society hosted a Conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Trinidad and Tobago Black Power Revolution.  As the Chairperson of that Conference Organising Committee, I invited Dr. Charles to participate in our meetings and he graciously obliged, bringing to our discussions his extensive knowledge of Caribbean Revolutions and especially facilitating Caribbean youth participation in the event.

Dr. Henry Charles was a graduate of SALISES, St. Augustine, successfully completing his studies in 2021 when he was awarded a PhD in Social Policy.  The title of his PhD was Assessing Grenada’s Youth Policy: A Mixed Method Study.  He endured the right of passage that culminated in this rigourous study that ultimately formalised what we already knew; that Henry Charles was always worthy of the title Dr. Henry Charles based on his life’s experiences in youth development work and other social movements directed towards the upliftment of the disempowered.  In my capacity as Director, SALISES, St. Augustine, I wish to state that everybody associated with SALISES Regional, is proud of the lifetime accomplishments of Dr. Charles and revel in the knowledge that he continues to be among our most celebrated alumni of this regional institute.  Whether in his capacity as a student or as an alumnus, Dr. Charles was an active participant in numerous SALISES sponsored events.  He shared with me his delight in the fact that SALISES had orchestrated and commissioned the series of Virtual Forums targeting development issues critical to Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Region, and the globe as a whole.  Altogether, SALISES has hosted 18 Virtual Forums and Dr. Charles obliged to be a panellist addressing youth issues during the 12th Virtual Webinar entitled “Advancing Institutional and People-Centred National Development Options in Trinidad and Tobago: Responses to the 2023 National Budget Statement“.

The 19th Virtual Forum hosted by SALISES, St. Augustine will feature the life and work of Dr. Henry Charles.  From a SALISES perspective, this is just one of the many ways in which we can honour the selfless lifetime contribution of this gentle giant.  His passing has been an unimaginable loss to the region, a loss that has occurred when he was in overdrive, crafting agendas and securing progressive fortunes for regional and global youth, and by extension a better global future.  SALISES, St. Augustine, and by extension SALISES Regional and the UWI wish to express our profound gratitude to the late Dr. Henry Charles for his selfless and devoted service to humankind globally.  To his widow Dr. Madgerie Jameson Charles, his children and grandchildren, and all other surviving relatives, colleagues, close friends, countless mentees, and unseen, known, and unknown admirers, I join with communities from SALISES, St. Augustine, for example, academic and non-academic staff, current and past students, and surviving past directors, to express our deepest condolences on the passing of Dr. Henry Charles.  I wish to also join with similar communities from SALISES (Cave Hill), SALISES (Mona), and the wider UWI, to convey similar condolences.  Dr. Henry Charles, you have served outstandingly well and will always be in our hearts.  Rest in Eternal Peace Dr. Henry Charles, affectionately known as Henry, Charlo, or Comrade Charlo.



A Selfless Crusader for Statistics for Development

A Personal Tribute to Mr. Dave Clement

Prepared by:

Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard

Acting Director

Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES)

The University of the West Indies

St. Augustine

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In the 1960s and 1970s, Diamond Vale was a special place for children and teenagers belonging to the local baby boom generation.  In those early days of this prized Trini community, several families with at least three children thrived, prospered, and co-existed in ways that have spawned vivid memories of a place and time.  The Clement family was one of the many families that I am referencing here.  I, too, came from a similar family and while I grew up on Sapphire Crescent, the Clements lived five to ten minutes walking-distance away in Jade Gardens.  I met the Clements, one by one, whether as a student in Trinity College Moka, on the Diego Martin bus commute to Diamond Vale during afternoons and evenings, football clashes between Jade and Sapphire, and of course, the legendary Vale house parties of the 1970s.

Dave was the last among the Clements that I would eventually meet during the 1970s. I met the others prior to meeting Dave. In fact, I formally met Dave in 1979 while being apprenticed as a young statistician as I transitioned between my second and third years as a student at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago.  In those days, it was customary for young upcoming professionals to taste the spirit of work in progressive enclaves such as the CSO which at that time, was characterised as an entity displaying professional pride and glory in serving the development needs of Trinidad and Tobago during the 1960s and 1970s.  Needless to say, Dave was among a new breed of young professional statisticians who were recruited in the CSO during the mid-1970s.  There was never any doubt in my mind that each of the statisticians including Dave, was progressive, intellectually gifted, patriotic, and at the same time, destined to serve the Caribbean Region and the world at large.

As a young apprentice, I was privileged to have met Dave and other statisticians such as deceased Arthur Bruce, deceased Peter Pariag, Ms. Alberta Titus, Ms. Shirley Christian Maharaj, Ms. Carol Salim, among others who worked as expert National Accounts Statisticians.  By virtue of their astute mentorship, professional conduct, and love for official statistics, I was convinced that I should follow a lifelong career in official statistics.  Upon graduating from UWI in 1980, it was not surprising that I would have been assigned to the CSO as a young statistician and fully concretise a fully fertile professional relationship with Dave, a relationship that persisted until his death on Saturday 24th September, 2022.  Upon joining the CSO, Dave was a big brother.  He was a nationalist, progressive in his carriage, competent as a statistician especially in the domain of national income accounting, and undoubtedly, one of the most affable human beings one can ever encounter in life.

I served in the CSO as a statistician between 1980 and 1987.  Despite working as a statistician with responsibility for social and demographic statistics, I would always consult Big Brother Dave for his wise counsel on countless matters whether pertaining to subject-matter technicalities in my own areas of work, capacity-building initiatives, employee relationships, outreach and the dissemination of CSO products, and access to equipment to service the technical needs of the CSO during the early 1980s.  That period was characterised by a technological revolution that introduced desktop computers and a range of desktop software applications deemed relevant to the operations of national statistical offices.  My memory of Dave places him at the forefront of such advancements.  He was a keen advocate for modernising statistical activities within the CSO in response to the technological revolution that occurred in the mid-1980s.  Until his death, he still embraced those vibes that propelled that progressive orientation to respond to contemporary movements characterised by a massive data revolution and a movement towards BIG data.  

During my seven-year sojourn as a statistician in the CSO, I remember Big Brother Dave as a consummate statistician who would leave no stone unturned in his quest to produce valid estimates of critical national income accounts.  He was actively involved in capacity-building and a host of outreach activities hosted by the CSO.  A number of such initiatives come to mind.  The first was a series that featured statisticians leading seminars in the use of statistical techniques akin to regression analysis, experimental designs, survey sampling methodology, time series analysis, and principal components analysis.  In those days, there were a number of young statisticians who embraced extraordinarily high professional standards and would take responsibility for delivering seminars.

The second initiative was a seminar series entitled the Staff Seminars Organising Committee (SSOC).   I do remember deceased Brian James and Big Brother Dave leading the charge, ably supported by David Thomas, Martin Farrell, Philomen Harrison, and yours truly, and realising the SSOC Sessions under the auspices of the CSO.  The SSOC won the approval of deceased Leo Pujadas (former Director of CSO) and deceased Ruth Rawlins (former Senior Statistician) and brought visibility and recognition for the CSO.  Dave was a leader among a young cadre of visionary young statisticians who recognised and exalted critical linkages between the statistical activities of the CSO and development policy agendas during the 1980s.  Thus, it was this linkage that became the catalyst for invited and contributed papers formally presented during periodic SSOC Meetings.

The third initiative was the CSO In-Service Statistic Training Course that was administered under the auspices of the CSO in Trinidad and Tobago and organised to build capacity among technical officers who were assigned to support the work of statisticians.  National income accounting was a module within the economics component of that training initiative and Dave was among the principal resource persons who would facilitate sessions especially during the 1980s.  Dave’s engagement as a facilitator in this training initiative enabled him to interact with statistical officers from other allied public sector departments in Trinidad and Tobago as well as officers from national statistical offices in every CARICOM Member State.  Indeed, this was another initiative that signalled the impact and reach of the CSO during the 1980s.  Through such exposure, Big Brother Dave was able to gain additional recognition and demonstrate his expertise as a statistician.  It was this kind of exposure that would have added to his ascent as a regionally and I dear say, internationally renowned statistician who won great admiration, love and respect from his colleagues, whether home or overseas.

Apart from earning a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1975, Dave was the holder of a Master of Science Degree and was the recipient of expert training in national income accounting statistics through the International Programs Center in Washington, DC.  This was one of a number of programmes organised under the aegis of the United States Bureau of Census, providing high level, cutting-edge training principally to professionals in national statistical offices across the globe.  Participation in these workshops and seminars strengthened Dave’s professional capabilities and rendered him fit to operate in a well-respected and revered advisory capacity for colleagues across CARICOM Member States and even beyond the CARICOM Region.  This wealth of expertise did not go unrecognised as Dave was a principal focal point in the delivery of lectures to undergraduate students pursuing courses relevant to economic statistics in the Department of Economics, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.  For almost twenty years, if not more, Dave has been a lecturer serving countless cohorts of undergraduate students within the Department of Economics.

The first phase of my professional encounter with Big Brother Dave ended in 1987 when I left Trinidad and Tobago to pursue graduate studies.  I returned home in 1993 and immediately assumed duties as an academic in the Institute of Social and Economic Studies (ISER), known today as SALISES (Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies).  The second phase began upon my return home in 1993.  I left a desktop computer in Dave’s safekeeping in 1987 and upon my return, he visited me to return the computer which by that time had become entirely obsolete.   The camaraderie that we always shared was rekindled and on numerous occasions we would spar and share notes regarding our love for official statistics and our desire to facilitate its greater reach and appreciation.  In the 1990s, we were in professional arenas where we could advance that mission despite the fact that he prevailed in national income accounting and I prevailed in social and demographic statistics.  We continued exchanging ideas and building upon the camaraderie that had been forged in the early-to-mid 1980s.

During the 1990s and the early years of the new millennium, I can identify some moments when I fully admired and hailed Dave’s achievements and phenomenal intellectual contribution to advancing development agendas.  Specifically, I remember an intellectual movement spearheaded by Dr. Vanus James and supporting capacity-building initiatives of the Policy Research Development Institute, an arm of the Tobago House of Assembly.  The movement drew upon expertise from Dr. Shelton Nicholls, Dave Clement, and yours truly.  I remember participating in high-powered intellectual meetings in conference rooms in Tobago and witnessing Dave’s expert contributions on matters pertaining to statistical methodologies that could have informed the estimation of economic activity in localised settings in Tobago.  Dave was always spot on and second to none with respect to the intellectual depth of his discourses and the presentation of his arguments to support his positions.  Also, I remember when he was assigned to the Turks and Caicos Islands to commence activities to establish a national statistical office there.  That was indeed a monumental task that Dave was able to address and deliver with distinction.  The National Statistical Office in the Turks and Caicos Islands continues to thrive today and as I have been reliably informed by one of its managers, its vision and mission continues to be informed by insights gleaned from the contribution of Mr. Dave Clement.

During the early years of the new millennium, Dave became heavily involved in governance arrangements revolving around the production and consumption of official statistics at national and regional levels.  With regard to the former, he functioned as the Director of Statistics in CSO, a position that also gave him administrative and technical oversight over the 2011 Round of Population and Housing Census.  With regard to the latter, Dave actively participated in the annual meetings of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) and served in a number of its sub-committees.  His numerous roles in this august body included mentorship and advice to a younger generation of statisticians coming of age in the Caribbean Community.  Dave has always been a fierce champion for training the next generation of statisticians and professionals who are likely to use statistics to facilitate activities in development realms.  Not surprisingly, he was instrumental in offering advice and wholeheartedly supporting my efforts to realise the Master of Science in Development Statistics in SALISES, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.  Although the programme was established in 2008, it was not until 2010 that Mr. Clement embraced the role of lecturer in several modules of a course entitled Elements of Official Statistics, a role that he has upheld over the years until his passing.

While Dave was not a member of the Task Force that was commissioned to facilitate the framework for establishing the National Statistical Institute of Trinidad and Tobago, he contributed indirectly based upon the invitation of members who trusted his valuable insights and felt that he was capable of adding value to this Project.  Dave willingly obliged in keeping with his selfless desire to advance    national and regional causes geared towards progressive development agendas.   His desire to facilitate progressive developments in statistical activities regionally continued to exist even beyond his mandatory retirement.   Major international organisations have continued to draw on Dave’s expertise for guidance and the development of novel statistical operations.  This constitutes a mark of respect for the more than 40 years of service and associated work experience that characterised the working life of Mr. Clement.  He was among the foremost professionals endowed with the skills to chart the region’s statistical development in the 2020s and beyond.

The Caribbean Association of Professional Statisticians (CAPS) is a regional entity established principally by official statisticians from across the Caribbean Region.  Dave and the deceased Sean O’Brien were instrumental in the establishment of this professional association and establishing its administrative home-base in Trinidad and Tobago.  In January 2020, CAPS embarked on a mission to establish a scholarly journal showcasing research and practice relevant to statistical activities that impact approximations of reality in Caribbean societies.  This resulted in the commissioning of a journal entitled the Journal of the Caribbean Association of Professional Statisticians (JCAPS).  I have been privileged to have acted in the role of Chief Editor of the Journal’s Editorial Board, also consisting of Mr. Lance Busby (Trinidad and Tobago), Mr. Iwan Sno (Suriname), Mr. Sean De Boer (Curacao), Mr. Abel Dasylva (Canada), Mr. Kevin Sears (Jamaica), Ms. Philomen Harrison (Trinidad and Tobago), and Ms. Belinda Henry (Guyana).

In late 2020, the Editorial Board established a Publications Committee and Dave was recommended by the board members to chair the Publications Committee consisting of an expert group of international statisticians.  The role of the Publications Committee is to permit the double-blind review process of the journal and ensure that submissions are suitable and ready for publication.  Thanks to Dave’s leadership and guidance, the first issue of JCAPS was released in April 2022, a feat that he was righteously proud of and expressed his pride in no uncertain terms.  We, the members of the Editorial Board salute Dave for his leadership and guidance and all who served the Publications Committee for their dedicated service towards realising the publication of the inaugural issue of JCAPS.  JCAPS will continue to have life and Dave will be immortalised in subsequent publications.

Dave was an alumnus of St. Mary’s College, Port of Spain, Trinidad.  I am aware of the respect that Dave demonstrated towards St. Mary’s College and rightly so.  However, as an alumnus of Trinity College, Moka, Trinidad, I am also aware that Dave was seriously allied to his Trinity College Brethren to the extent that he was granted honorary status among those alumni of Trinity College.  On behalf of all of Dave’s Trinity College crew, I wish to express our deep-felt condolences.  In addition, Dave has served SALISES and other arms of The University of the West Indies with distinction.  On behalf of SALISES in St. Augustine, SALISES Regional, and the University of the West Indies, I also wish to convey our condolences on the loss of a selfless crusader for advancing development causes.  I also wish to express condolences on behalf of the Editorial Board of JCAPS and especially express our sincerest gratitude for his earthly passage and contribution to the journal.  On behalf of my own family (Patricia, Asha, Kristen, Heather and Alethea) who all knew and respected Dave, I wish to express our deepest condolences. 

All condolences are directed towards family members, professional colleagues, and close friends of the late Dave Michael Clement.  Despite your grief, I pray that you be comforted by the exemplary life that Dave lived and the overwhelming contributions that he humbly made in advancing the cause of humankind.  In particular, condolences are directed to Dave’s surviving relatives - his mother, siblings, daughters, in-laws, grand-child/children, and other relatives.  As a cultural ambassador, Dave served the steel band movement and in particular, the Birdsong Steel Orchestra with distinction.  Condolences are also conveyed to Dave’s Birdsong family.

Big Brother Dave, you were a positive force in my life and I have always treasured the positive vibes that I received through our earthly interaction.  You are now gone but will never be forgotten. You walked well Big Brother Dave.  Now, you are reunited with Claire and your souls will continue to receive heavenly blessings.

Rest In Peace Big Bro from D’Vale



Tribute to Sean O'Brien

Prepared by:

Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard

Acting Director

Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES)

The University of the West Indies

St. Augustine

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I met Sean O’Brien in the mid-1990s, not too long after returning to Trinidad and Tobago upon the completion of my doctoral studies.  At that time, he worked in Social Statistics, an area that I grew to love while I was a statistician in the CSO during the early to mid-1980s.  I would say that collective love for social statistics was the bond that drew Sean and me to be lifelong professional colleagues.  Since then, Sean and I became sparring partners, testing one another with the aim of facilitating our own growth as statisticians and boosting our capacity to translate such growth into the advancement of statistics for development.  Sean was the quintessential government statistician with a consummate knowledge of all aspects of official statistics, this becoming abundantly manifest as he grew in stature and confidence resulting from his affable spirit and his progressive mindset. The domain of official statistics was very dear to his warm heart but nonetheless, he demonstrated an overwhelming interest in the scientific dimensions of statistics as a discipline with deep philosophical roots that would undoubtedly sustain sustainable development agendas nationally, regionally, and internationally.

It was not surprising that Sean would eventually begin studies with the hope of completing doctoral studies in Development Policy in SALISES, UWI, St. Augustine.  Sean progressed well with his coursework and often claimed that he grew professionally because of his short exposure as a student in SALISES.  I say “short exposure” because his duties at the CSO often overtook his engagement with post-graduate studies and prevented him from completing his studies.  So dedicated was he to his professional duties, he eventually gave more attention to ensuring that the official statistics trumped everything else in advancing progressive development agendas.  His commitment to duty in the highest echelons of management and technical direction of the CSO prevented him from attaining formal credentials that would have confirmed achievements that many began to witness due to Sean’s carriage in public settings.  Sean was among the fiercest defenders of official statistics known to humankind and his overt wit and frankness may have annoyed many, but in my view, such characteristics were often well placed and with a sense of purpose.  Sean was a younger brother that I grew to respect as we aged as professionals sharing interests in the advancement of statistics for development.

Apart from being an alumnus, Sean was a dear friend.  Oftentimes, I witnessed his benevolence towards SALISES, and Sean would move mountains to meet requests for data needs among SALISES students and academics.  Sean was always motivated to move mountains as high as Everest and even higher to secure a rightful place for statistics in research and public sector policy.  And sadly, he left us, as we wonder where the next soldier with those attributes will come from, to serve in the battlefield to sustain and preserve the sanctity and importance of statistics in national and regional development.  Sean was not only a friend and student of SALISES.  He was also a respected academic colleague of SALISES.  Based on my recognition of his wealth of experience and growth as a statistician, I invited him to be among the esteemed team of professionals charged with the delivery of the Master of Science in Development Statistics.  He was a noteworthy asset in the delivery of SALI6019 – Elements of Official Statistics given his wide and varied experience.  His formidable presence was instrumental in mentoring the next generation of professionals who have embraced aspirations of applying statistics, and in particular, its principles, methodologies, and techniques to development policy agendas.

On March 25th, 2022, SALISES will be hosting its Sixth SALISES Virtual Forum entitled “National Statistics, a Culture of Best Practice, and the Establishment of The National Statistical Institute of Trinidad and Tobago (NSITT): Imperatives for Securing National Development”.  Sean received his invitation the week before he died and indicated that he would have been among the virtual audience.  During that telephone call, Sean and I reaffirmed our commitment to advancing and realizing the ideals of the NSITT.  He even offered comments about prospective panelists and content areas carded for discussion.  Our dear friend and comrade transitioned unexpectedly, gone too soon.  His charm, wit, expertise, and fierce protection of the statistician as a high-ranking professional practice will be missed.  Not surprisingly, SALISES will be dedicating the Sixth SALISES Virtual Forum to this outstanding and internationally respected public servant in the Government Service of Trinidad and Tobago.  It is my hope that many of his questions will be asked by forum participants and answered by the panel.  At the same time, we stand to miss his frank commentary, wit, and innate knowledge of official statistics due to his earthly absence.

In my own personal capacity, on behalf of my own family, the staff and students of SALISES Regional, the UWI Community, and members of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Caribbean Association of Professional Statisticians (JCAPS), I wish to convey our deepest condolences to Ramona, the widow of the late Sean O’Brien, their son, all close family members and relatives, and of course, Sean’s dearest friends and colleagues.  Sean was an ever-present beacon light in our lives and his earthly passage was, without a doubt, filled with a sense of purpose that was felt by all and sundry closest to him.

My little/big brother Sean, Rest in Eternal Peace.



The Passing of Professor Selwyn Ryan

Prepared by:

Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard

Acting Director

Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES)

The University of the West Prepared by:Indies

St. Augustine

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The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) mourns the passing of Professor Selwyn Ryan on Saturday 12th March, 2022. 

At the time of his passing, Professor Ryan was Professor Emeritus attached to SALISES, The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine.

Professor Selwyn Ryan received a BA (Hons.) degree in History from the University of Toronto in 1960 and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Cornell University in 1966.  Since obtaining his PhD, he taught at York University in Toronto, the University of Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, and in the Department of Government in The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.  Between 1976 and 1979, he was Head of the Department of Government, UWI, St. Augustine Campus.  Professor Ryan’s service extended beyond academia into public sector domains.  He was a member of two Constitutional Commissions established by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.  He served as Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, and Deputy Chairman of the Caribbean Press Council.

Professor Selwyn Ryan was one of the early stalwarts responsible for promoting the virtues of participation in the Annual Conferences of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA).  He has mentored countless younger CSA members who have excelled and broken barriers either as scholars or professionals in domestic, regional and international settings.  Professor Ryan was the President of the Caribbean Studies Association in 1989/1990.

During 1986-2002, he was the Director of the SALISES, formerly the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), UWI, St. Augustine Campus.  He also served in the capacity of University Director of the Institute and assumed responsibility for administrative and academic activities on the Institute across the Cave Hill, Mona, and St. Augustine Campuses.  He was one of the Directors that pioneered the transition from ISER to SALISES in 1999.

With heartfelt condolences, we wish that God's grace comforts his family in this time of grief. 

May his soul Rest in Peace.




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