THE University College of the Caribbean is to confer an honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree on Cayman Premier William McKeeva Bush at the institution's Fall 2012 Commencement Ceremony, scheduled for this Thursday, December 13, at the Jamaica conference Centre in Kingston.
Premier Bush will be recognised for his years of public service in the Cayman Islands, his efforts at improving the lives of Jamaicans in Cayman and his continued efforts to improve the relationship between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
In announcing the decision to confer the degree, UCC noted the politically risky but principled decisions which Bush made to improve the standing of many expatriates in Cayman, including a number of Jamaicans who have lived, loved and worked in the neighbouring British territory for years, contributing to its development.
The university referred specifically to the controversial but far-reaching decision by Bush's government in 2003 to grant citizenship to some 3,000 long-term expatriates who had established roots, but who faced an uncertain future.
In its release on the weekend, the UCC board also noted Bush's status as the Cayman Island's longest-serving legis-lator, which has earned him the fond moniker “Father of the House”.
“He has served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands con-tinuously since 1984, during which his country has enjoyed enviable economic stability, significant foreign direct investment and relatively low crime,” the press release reads.
Before becoming premier in 2009, Bush also served as leader of opposition business, minister of health and human services and minister of community development, sports, women's and youth affairs, as well as culture.
He was educated in the Cayman Islands public school system and holds an honorary master's degree from the International College of the Cayman Islands.
On receiving his honorary degree, Bush will address UCC's graduands under the theme ‘Integrity: The Language of Leadership’. Almost 100 of them are expected to walk for undergraduate and advanced degrees in the areas of Accounting, Information Technology, Marketing, Business Administration, Tourism, and Human Resource Management that day.
This is the second graduation exercise for the University College of the Caribbean this year. In July, some 400 students received undergraduate and graduate degrees in a commencement ceremony which saw University of Technology President Dr Errol Morrison receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his contribution to education and science.
UCC President Dr Winston Adams noted that the decision to confer honorary degrees on these two outstanding sons of the Caribbean fits with the university's larger mandate of cultivating and rewarding excellence and its recognition of public service as an important avenue of development.