TRINIDAD and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was last Tuesday inducted into the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Honour Park.
Persad-Bissessar, the first female head of government to be so recognised, paid tribute to the university, saying that it had moulded and guided her on the path to her present post. She said that many of her most memorable experiences occurred during the time she studied at Mona, and that the campus was an integral part of her life's journey.
Persad-Bissessar said that like cricket, the UWI was a great West Indian institution which brought the people of the region together. She also recognised the role and contribution of the UWI in the development of many of the region's leaders, and also for the part it played in shaping the minds and lives of Caribbean young people.
Pro vice chancellor and principal of the UWI, Mona, Professor Gordon Shirley, in his address, paid tribute to Persad-Bissessar, saying that she was another UWI graduate who had distinguished herself and thereby earned the right to have her name on the roll of honour in the park.
He said that the number of inductees in the park —16 so far — also provided evidence of the UWI's ability to produce leaders to serve at the highest levels of government. It also testified to the enduring ability of the UWI to remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the people of the region.
Persad-Bissessar, the first female prime minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, graduated from the UWI, Mona, with a Bachelor of Arts degree (1974) and a post-graduate Diploma in Education in 1976. She then earned her Bachelor of Laws at Hugh Wooding Law School, UWI, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, in 1985. Persad-Bissessar also holds an Executive Master in Business Administration from Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in St Augustine, Trinidad.
Also speaking at the function was Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, who said that he was elated that Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar had come to Jamaica for our 50th anniversary celebrations.
He also said that Jamaica was looking forward to celebrating with Trinidad and Tobago its 50th Anniversary of Independence later this month.
President of the Guild of Students Daniel Wilson, in his remarks, hailed the prime minister as a role model and an inspiration to all UWI students and graduates.