Graduands of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, were last evening reminded of the importance of regional integration and the significant contribution of the university to the Caribbean.
These lessons came from one of the Campus’ 2016 honourees, noted physician, Dr Carol Lady Haynes, who received Cave Hill’s Honourary Degree of Doctor of Science at the 50th graduation ceremony on campus.
Lady Haynes, the wife of now deceased Sir Richard Haynes, a past Minister of Finance and founder of the now defunct National Democratic Party, was honoured for, among other achievements, her work with HIV/AIDS patients in Barbados.
The Jamaica-born Lady Haynes chose to focus part of her feature address on the significant role of UWI, and the benefits that come with Caribbean integration.
“UWI is one of only two regional universities globally,” she highlighted.
She went on to point out the number of national leaders who passed through the UWI, speaking of seven Barbados prime ministers, along with heads of government of The Bahamas, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, and Guyana.
With this legacy, she told the graduating class, the, “‘possibilities open to you, must not escape you”.
She urged the graduates to be mindful of their responsibilities to the UWI and the region as they prepare for the next chapter of life.
“On the one hand to continue your engagement with the University which has equipped you to set out on your life’s mission; and on the other hand to continually acknowledge the importance of the regional exposure you would have experienced while here as students, and in that context to seek meaningful contributions across the region”.
Lady Haynes signalled she was an ardent supporter of regional integration, denouncing insularity while stressing that the Caribbean as a grouping was powerful despite the small size of individual member states.
She said that the Caribbean was a formidable group at international meeting places such as the United Nations, because, “collectively we have 28 voices, which in any given forum translates to 28 votes, and to a formidable bloc whose voices cannot easily be ignored.
“We need therefore to move away from any vestiges of insularity or xenophobia, and fully embrace with pride the region that has given you this firm educational base in the unique cultural context of the widest Caribbean.”