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(from left) Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Sir George Alleyne, presenting Sir Shridath Ramphal, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, with the Chancellor’s medal. Looking on is Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of Cave Hill Campus.


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Chancellor’s choice


Sir Shridath awarded Chancellor’s Medal

By Tanya Lightbourne

Sir Shridath Ramphal, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, regional statesman and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, was awarded the highly coveted Chancellor’s Medal, during a ceremony held at the Errol Barrow Centre, Cave Hill Campus on Thursday evening.

Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Sir George Alleyne, acknowledged that the medal is a special award of distinction to a person who has made a substantial and lasting contribution to the welfare and development of the University.

“This institution is rich in its traditions. One of the traditions that is enriching us more and more, is the tradition of recognising excellence; recognising those from among us who have demonstrated that excellence and it is in that spirit that the University of the West Indies recognises Sir Shridath Ramphal,” he signaled.

Sir Shridath was described as the quintessential Caribbean person, a much sought-after negotiator, serving on several independent, international commissions convened to consider many of the major issues facing the global community.

He chaired the West Indies Commission set up in the early 1990s to point the way forward for West Indies integration and he was later appointed Chief Negotiator for CARICOM on international economic negotiations with Europe, the Americas and globally. He also headed legal teams arbitrating maritime border disputes between Guyana and Suriname and between Belize and Guatemala; along with holding numerous prominent positions in his homeland Guyana.

“Sir Shridath has lived several prodigious lives in his four score years plus three. His achievements are legion, and his name is forever honoured in the Shridath Ramphal Center for International Trade Law, Policy and Services on our campus. In the words, once more, of Sir Alister McIntyre, ‘he is an international humanist in the finest sense of the word’.

“He has been showered with blessings and showered with praise, honours and awards from many nations, and honorary degrees from two dozen universities. He is twice be-knighted – Knight bachelor in 1970 and Knight Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George, in 1990, and many times ordered – with a capital O … from the Order of the Sun, Grand Cross, of Peru, to the Order of the Supreme Companions of O.R. Tambo, Gold, of South Africa … and most precious of all, the Order of the Caribbean Community. Indeed he is so well ordered, he must be the tidiest man in the country,” quipped Professor Emeritus Henry Fraser.

On acceptance of the medal Sir Shridath expressed his profoundest gratitude.

“To join the company of such icons of the University – Sir Philip Sherlock, Sir Alister McIntyre, The Most Honourable P. J. Patterson and most recently, Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, the late Professor Rex Nettleford – is beyond my expectations. Mere thanks are inadequate, but I assure you that it comes from a full heart,” he said.

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