JIS News

It is not by chance that the University of the West Indies (UWI) has been chosen as the venue for the symbolic signing of the CARICOM Single Market (CSM), will take place in late January. The fact is that both institutions share a symbiotic relationship.In 1965 when the leaders of Barbados, British Guiana and Antigua and Barbuda signed an agreement in Dickensen Bay, Antigua to establish the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), it was the UWI, which began three studies on the feasibility of integration, specifically on regional trade and economic development.
The studies were: the ‘Dynamic of West Indian Economic Integration’ by Haveloc Brewster and Clive Thomas; ‘Possibilities for Rationalising Production and Trade in the West Indies’ by Alister McIntyre, Norman Girvan, George Beckford and Eric Armstrong; and ‘Problems of the Caribbean Air Transport Industry’ by Steve DeCastro.
The studies were completed in 1967, the same year that participating CARICOM Heads of government decided to proceed with CARIFTA. As detailed by the 2005 publication, ‘CARICOM: Our Caribbean Community’, and issued by the CARICOM Secretariat, aspects of the studies were included in this agreement, in conjunction with the 1965 Agreement.
Established in 1948 in Mona, Jamaica, as a College of the University of London, the then University College of the West Indies (UCWI), is the first regional tertiary institution. At the time, medicine was the only faculty. However in 1960, the St. Augustine campus in Trinidad and Tobago joined the mix when the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture merged with the UCWI.
In 1962, now independent from the University of London, the UCWI changed its name to the University of the West Indies (UWI) and in the following year (1963), established its third campus in Cave Hill, Barbados.
Over the decades, some of today’s CARICOM Prime Ministers shared lecture theatres and even halls of residence. CARICOM Prime Ministers included in the UWI alumni list are: Kenny Anthony (St.Lucia); Owen Arthur (Barbados); Keith Mitchell (Grenada); Ralph Gonsalves (St. Vincent and the Grenadines); Percival Patterson (Jamaica) and Patrick Manning (Trinidad and Tobago).
Other dignitaries listed among the UWI alumni are: Perlette Louisy, St. Lucia’s Governor-General; Professor Maxwell Richards, President of Trinidad and Tobago, who is also a past Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Principal of the St. Augustine Campus; Secretary-General of CARICOM, Dr. Edwin Carrington; Deputy Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr, Eddie Greene; Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr Len Ishmael; President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Professor Compton Bourne; and Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Sir Dwight Venner. In recognition of this relationship between CARICOM and the UWI, the institution’s main assembly hall at the Mona campus displays flags of all CARICOM member and associate states that it serves.