UWI experts called on to map Trinidad and Tobago's post COVID-19 recovery
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Dr. Keith Rowley has called on experts from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) to join a Cabinet-appointed ‘Post COVID-19 Road Map to Recovery’ team. The team which was recently announced, has sole responsibility for compiling a draft national post COVID-19 road map by April 30 and submit a complete proposal by May 31.
Prime Minister Rowley, a UWI alumnus and former Geologist at The UWI Seismic Research Centre, chairs the 22-member team. It comprises current and former ministers of finance, captains of industry, financial experts in the banking sector, as well as leaders in the trade union movement and civil society. The membership bears strong connection with The UWI including Chancellor Robert Bermudez; Professors of Practice Gerry Brooks (co-Chair) and Winston Dookeran along with Karl Theodore, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Centre for Health Economics; and other distinguished alumni and current and former adjunct members of staff.
Chancellor Bermudez expressed, “I am pleased to be able to serve and contribute towards what needs to be a national effort to repair the damage done to the economy and alleviate the hardships being experienced by so many.”
Commenting on the announcement, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said, “My views are in full support of Prime Minister Rowley’s thesis to CARICOM two days ago, himself a UWI trained scientist, that in pursuit of post COVID-19 development we must be guided first and foremost by the science of the circumstance.” He added, “This is a crisis like no other. It demands an economically-sound and socially-just strategy rooted in science and data propelled by the solidarity of regional unity. Universities are built and resourced to serve their communities and nations, so times like these draw precisely on our academy’s purpose as we focus on the sustainability of our Caribbean economies and people. Dr. Rowley, just like all our regional leaders, has The UWI’s full support. We are here to serve.”
The UWI also triggered its own quick response, launching a UWI COVID-19 Task Force in February to leverage the University’s knowledge and expertise to assist the Caribbean in its readiness and response to the virus outbreak. The UWI Task Force comprises multi-discipline specialists including scientists, researchers, and public health professionals with combined expertise in virology, epidemiology, laboratory diagnostics, health leadership, psychology, psychiatry, critical care, respiratory medicine, pulmonology, veterinary medicine, tourism, trade, international relations, ethics, advocacy and communication.
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI St. Augustine Professor Brian Copeland noted that, in a practical way too, the Campus has already been active in the national fight. “Our latest initiative has been to manufacture ventilators and other medical equipment using the expertise in the Faculty of Engineering while our incoming cohort of nurses, pursuing the Post Registration Diploma in Health Visiting, is assisting in the critical contact tracing,” he said.
The UWI COVID-19 Task Force website at www.uwi.edu/covid19 is regularly updated with useful resources, advisories and key information on the evolving pandemic.