CDB announces plans to invest in UWItv at 1st anniversary celebration and awards ceremony

UWItv—the multimedia, public information and education service of The University of the West Indies (The UWI)—marked its first year of existence with a celebratory event and awards ceremony held on Tuesday 28 November, 2017 at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at the University’s Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. Feature speaker at the event, President of Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) and Managing Director of the RJR Communication Group, Jamaica, Mr. Gary Allen, described the platform as “a source of information—for people in the Caribbean about the Caribbean, our leaders, the movers and shakers in what we do in business, in sport, in events that have shaped our societies—done well, produced well and provided easy access to our customers.” Many similar commendations came in from across the region, praising UWItv’s innovativeness and potential for the Caribbean. The biggest show of endorsement however, was an announcement by President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. William Warren Smith, that the organisation agreed to an investment of US$130,000 for UWItv.

During his remarks, Dr. Smith applauded the University saying, “UWItv is well-positioned to demonstrate the value proposition of The UWI and CDB is excited by the possibilities.” Details of the agreement that will be signed by both parties, include the commitment of CDB’s resources to support capacity building of UWItv staff, faculty and students of The UWI; provision of equipment for production and broadcast of programmes; an internship programme that synergises studies in communications and the creative arts with the development activities of UWItv and marketing and promotion activities.

In describing UWItv’s value proposition, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said, “How can we create a context for Caribbean peoples to have a conversation about the predicaments they are faced with? How can we promote the notion that any sustainable solution to these problems must be reasonable solutions? How can we establish and deepen and strengthen the concept that we are one people, we are one community, with a common history and a common destiny? To make these realities part of everyday life, do require that we mobilise information the best we can…This UWItv will allow us to create the most phenomenal archive on the Caribbean people.”

The evening’s programme also included remarks from members of The UWI community. Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau gave the welcome address. She expressed, “The UWI Cave Hill Campus is very pleased to have been involved in operationalizing this educational outreach strategy, to support one of The UWI’s enduring mandates – taking our University into the wider community; in this case, to the global community.” She continued, “While UWItv enables The UWI to strengthen its international footprint, simultaneously it facilitates us in entering every Caribbean household and empowering its citizens by imparting the wealth of ideas, research, and policies for which the University has built an enviable reputation.”

Congratulatory remarks also came from Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Mona Campus, Professor Archibald Mc Donald, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the St. Augustine Campus, Professor Brian Copeland, Assistant Registrar of the Caribbean Examinations’ Council, Mr. Cleveland Sam, and Secretary General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Ms. Sonia Gill. President of the Guild of Students at Cave Hill, Mr. Kai Bridgewater, delivered remarks on behalf of the student body. He recalled how he recently gave a speech at an event which was livestreamed on UWItv and received messages about it from family members in other parts of the Caribbean and in the US. He admitted that it was at that point that he really appreciated the vast reach of the platform.

Closing remarks were made by UWItv’s Managing Director, Ms. Janet Caroo, who noted the need for a trusted and reliable platform that focuses on informed discussions and research and also seeks to focus on the challenges that are unique to the Caribbean region with a view to solidifying our position in the global sphere.

The event’s highlight was the presentation of an inaugural UWItv award to the notably accomplished Julian Rogers, honouring his 54-year career of contributions to Caribbean media. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Rogers confessed that he got into a media career as a teenager, by accident, and credited The UWI with facilitating his formal training in the field. He said, “The emergence of UWItv really fits into what is clearly a longstanding tradition of the University to be innovative. This University has always sought to expand its reach across this entire region to let people learn about this region, so I am not surprised at the success of UWItv.”

In addition to the tribute to Mr. Rogers, an inaugural UWItv Student Ambassador award was presented to postgraduate student, Ms. Rhyesa Joseph who conducted a record number of interviews for UWItv during its year of operation. The most inspirational video award was presented to Ms. Miranda Blackman, founder and President of The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Association for Persons with Disabilities (UWICAPD). A number of Viewers’ Choice awards were also given for programme segments with the highest viewership (by campus) covering topics such as cancer control, advocacy for the differently-abled, reparations and others.

A Founder’s Award was presented to Ms. Janet Caroo and Mr. Don Rojas, while special awards were given to Mrs. Patricia Atherley for her work in the early development of UWItv and Mr. Maxi Baldeo for his provision of technical services. UWItv Editors, Ms. Rita Gaye and Mr. Jamani Dunn were also recognized for their service excellence.

Photo caption:
At the UWItv Anniversary & Awards Ceremony, (from left to right): Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI; Mrs. Patricia Atherley, special awardee; Mr. Julian Rogers, recipient of the inaugural UWItv award; Ms. Janet Caroo, Managing Director, UWItv and Dr. William Warren Smith, President, Caribbean Development Bank.