Funding from Japan The funding of US$240,000 came from the JapanCaribbean Climate Change Partnership. The UWI is now prepping a full team of engineers and environmental scientists to make its first site assessment visit in March 2016. Mr. Raymond Charles from the Faculty of Engineering will be coordinating the engineering side, and Professor Hunte will coordinate the environmental response. Other members of the new team include Dr. Adrian Cashman from the Scoping Mission; Professor Sean Carrington, a vegetation specialist; Professor Julia Horrocks, a biodiversity conservationist; Dr. Vincent Cooper, a hydrology specialist; Dr. Derek Gay, a geotechnical expert; Dr. Bheshem Ramlal, a geographic information system specialist; and Dr. Richard Clarke also from the Scoping Mission. While the first mission focused its reports on capturing the extent of the damage and the skills gap for moving forward, the new mission will coalesce its efforts around how the people of Dominica can minimise future damage triggered by natural processes of the earth. If The UWI gets it right, the next time a natural disaster strikes the island, Dominicans are likely to have a lower probability of experiencing the kind of damage they’ve suffered this time. It’s the kind of tangible gains that Hunte says he feels strongly that The UWI can offer to countries and governments of the region. “The UWI must of course continue to provide long term education and training, and it must continue with its commitment to do research of relevance to national and regional development. But we must also be prepared to respond immediately to crises when the countries that we serve have a need.” It’s a clear case of to whom much is given, much is expected. And according to Hunte, The UWI cannot, and will not, avoid this responsibility, particularly since it has the largest pool of technical capacity in the Englishspeaking Caribbean. Professor Hunte suspects that regional governments prefer to utilise The UWI’s technical resources when they can. “Our governments typically prefer to be able to turn to the university as a regional entity than to have to rely exclusively on international agencies. They feel a greater sense of pride if the university steps up to the plate.”
No true maroon-blooded West Indies fan can pass on a good game of cricket. But throw in the fact that it was for charity, and the guarantee of seeing your favourite West Indian celebrity in action, and you’ve just described a deliriously exciting match. Such was the mood on September 27, 2015—a stark contrast to the anxious faces across the region exactly one month before—when the island of Dominica was struck by Hurricane Erika. It was a major setback for a territory which has earned its moniker as the nature island of the Caribbean, with its 365 rivers, enchanting rain forests, and famous Morne Trois Pitons. Losses have been estimated in the millions. In a show of support, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) teamed up to urge the people of the region to “Rally Round Dominica”. It was felt that a celebrity T20 showdown between the ViceChancellor’s Celebrity XI and the WICB President’s Celebrity XI was the perfect way for the region to strike back. The goal was to raise US$1 million for the cause from corporate donations, ticket sales, a live telethon, and a text donation drive. Many fans would readily agree that to see former Manchester United striker, Dwight York, and Olympic silver medallist, Yohan Blake, share a field with cricket legends Brian Lara and Sir Curtly Ambrose, was worth every penny. And words can hardly describe the unadulterated pain of watching Chanderpaul being dropped twice in one over of clever bowling by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. At the end of the day, it wasn’t terribly important that Lara made 68 runs for The UWI side. Or that, despite his efforts, The UWI went under. The real victor was the resilient West Indian spirit— the one that never fails to summon us to rally!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: WINDIES CRICKET/ WEST INDIES CRICKET BOARD (WICB)
THE PELICAN/ISSUE 14 –