ONE LOVE/ONE UWI #4: Message from the Vice-Chancellor

A Series from Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

“Watch the landscape of this island…
And you know that they coulda never hold people here surrendered to unfreedom.
The sky, the sea, every green leaf and tangle of vines sing freedom…
Things here have their own mind…”
(Salt, Earl Lovelace)
COVID-19 we know poses an existential threat to Caribbean freedom. It challenges our communities, and the resilience of The UWI that has delivered freedom’s progress these past 71 years.

Freely embracing the science of the circumstance, our political leaders are standing tall, confronting the collective challenge. The public health measures they have put into action are designed to contain the threat, with a view to overcoming it.

Functioning within this freedom framework our five campus principals have rolled out strategies to keep our staff and students safe, academically engaged, and administratively committed. Countries and campuses are working hand in glove to win this freedom struggle.

Just today, Professor Clive Landis, Chairman of The UWI COVID-19 Task Force, informed me of the critical presentation to be made by Professor Ian Hambleton of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre to CARICOM on modelling the virus’ mobility, country by country, in the months ahead. This most valuable scientific work adds to the outstanding contributions being made every day on the front line by ‘UWI Science’ in policy fora, the region’s hospitals, clinics, and COVID-19 centres.

These and such like demonstrations of ‘UWI Science’ in service to the region will secure our success. Today, I celebrate specifically our medical faculty across the UWI system. ‘Nuff respect’ to each and every one. This includes our thousands of graduate doctors and nurses practising in the field, their technical supporters, and our medical students who are joining the growing army of anti-COVID-19 volunteers across our region.

Caribbean freedom, we are told by our sage, is a thing with a mind of its own.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

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