At her January 21 Induction as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine reflected that she is guided by a belief in the “exceptional nature as Caribbean people, and an imperative to make a positive contribution to society.”
She said, “We are as intelligent, creative, talented and capable as anyone anywhere, and our abilities find their greatest expression in service. I am fortunate to be part of an institution that gives me the opportunity to work so closely in alignment with these values”.
Principal Antoine explained that her philosophy has always been “that a university, this campus—must be entrenched in its community to have relevance—A vibrant, impactful and revered social actor, with cutting-edge research. We cannot retreat and become reactionary—we must be proactive, thought-leaders and problem solvers.” In that regard, she plans to help expand The UWI from the classroom to the communities. She emphasized that “Scholarship should be taken to the people. It is then that our research, our teaching, will be grounded and transformative.”
Delivering opening remarks at the Induction ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles stated, “Professor Antoine has demonstrated a record of distinguished leadership and development expertise…I have admired her tenacity, her sharp intellect and deep commitment to our people, in particular, those who have been marginalized and rendered especially vulnerable…She joins a team that has had no doubt, that has had no despair, that has experienced no diminished nature of self-confidence. She will be a critical part of the team going forward and we have no doubt that she will strengthen this team and see to it that we continue to be rooted, ready and rising.”
Later in the ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Beckles presented Professor Antoine to Chancellor Robert Bermudez for Induction. As he formally handed her the responsibilities of the Campus, Chancellor Bermudez noted that she is a “daughter of the Caribbean, a UWI graduate, a distinguished award-winning scholar who has made significant contributions to policy and jurisprudence in the Caribbean and globally”.
St Augustine Campus Council Chair, Sharon Christopher pointed out that Professor Antoine is the pride of the Caribbean law fraternity since she is the “only person from the law profession to rise to the top of an esteemed tertiary institution—first as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and, now, as Campus Principal.”
Among the dignitaries in the audience were Saint Lucia’s current Prime Minister the Honourable Philip J. Pierre, and former Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, husband of Principal Antoine. Also present were former Jamaica Prime Minister the Hon. PJ Patterson, Claudius Francis, Speaker of the House in Saint Lucia, Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago Ivor Archie, Minister of Education of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and Chief of the First Peoples in Trinidad and Tobago, Ricardo Bharath.
Principal Antoine, a trained soprano, ensured that the ceremony and reception featured the best of Trinidad and Tobago’s diverse musical talent. From The UWI Arts Steel, soprano Natalia Dopwell accompanied by The UWI Arts Chorale, UWI alumna Laurissa and Renelle Maharaj (both lawyers) on the violin and viola; alumnus Abhijit Anchortassoo with a classical Indian song, to Khion de Las and Daniel Ryan on pan and saxophone. The ceremony ended with Malick Folk Performers African Drummers and Tassa performing fusion music at the reception in the University Inn and Conference Centre. Calypsonian and Extempore Artiste Black Sage completed the lineup on the night.
The new Principal, who selected ‘Together We Can Create The Change’ as her induction ceremony’s theme is the second woman to hold the title. Professor Bridget Brereton served as Campus Principal in 2007.
For more on Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine and her work, visit https://sta.uwi.edu/induction.