Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has given the commitment of her Government to assist in the continued success of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“In my capacity as Prime Minister for Trinidad and Tobago, in whatever way that we can help to sustain this institution, we will continue to contribute and to help to ensure that you grow from strength to strength,” she pledged on July 8, during a tour of the Mona campus, which she attended.
“We will find creative ways together.we will hold hands together and we will rise together,” she added.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, smiles at a comment from Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor E. Nigel Harris, during a meeting held at the Mona campus this morning (July 8). The Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister visited the institution as part of her two-day working visit to Kingston.
Mrs. Persad-Bissessar’s tour of her alma mater was part of a working visit to Kingston, as the special guest of Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, following the 31st Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which ended on July 7 in Montego Bay, St. James.
According to the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, the UWI is one of the most successful models of regionalism and has a key role to play in educating the future leaders of the Caribbean.
“This is the best working regional institution that we have. If there’s a model, an example of a regional institution that has really worked and continues to work, it is the (UWI). What you can offer here, that education that you can give, is the passport out of poverty for people,” she stated.
A lawyer by profession, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar is the first female graduate of the UWI to be elected Prime Minister of the twin island republic. She said that her time spent at the Mona campus helped to mold her into the leader that she is today. “I attended my first political meeting while I was a student on the campus here,” she informed.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, peruses a history book during a tour of the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Library , while Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor, Gordon Shirley, looks on. Partially hidden is Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Professor E. Nigel Harris. The Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister visited the institution today (July 8) as part of her two-day working visit to Kingston.
“I believe that the training, the learning, the experiences here, went a long way in shaping me into what I am, into what I have become,” she noted further.
Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Professor E. Nigel Harris, in his remarks, assured Mrs. Persad-Bissessar that the institution remained committed to the high standards of teaching that she was accustomed to when she attended the school.
“We (also) remain committed to ground breaking research and knowledge development. We remain committed to reaching out to our governments and private sector to assist in whatever way possible in policy development and strategic planning support,” Professor Harris stated.
He said the goal of the UWI is to continue to be the institution of first choice to Caribbean students wishing a higher education.
“We want to be first in research and new knowledge development and we want to be the port of first call for governments and the private sector wishing policy advice and other strategic advice,” he further remarked.
Mr. Harris added that the entire UWI community was looking forward to working with the newly elected Prime Minister, specifically in the areas of national and regional development.
Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Mona campus, Professor Gordon Shirley, said Mrs. Persad-Bissessar’s achievements will serve as a source of inspiration to the thousands of female students attending UWI.
He said the institution was finding innovative ways to reduce costs, including eliminating unnecessary activities, improving its efficiencies and making more effective use of its physical and human resources.
Mrs. Persad-Bissessar studied at the Mona campus four years and lived in Jamaica for an additional 10 years while married to Dr. Gregory Bissessar.
In her political career, she was the first female to act as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the first female to be appointed Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, the first female Deputy Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC), and the first female Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.