FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.PORT OF SPAIN – November 09, 2021. – The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health will deliver the keynote address at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd National Health Research Conference, which will be held on November 18 and 19. He will be joined at the Opening by the International Guest Speaker, Professor David R. Williams of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University. The title of Professor Williams’ presentation is Resilience for Mental Health in the Age of COVID.
The theme of this second annual conference is Building Resilience through Research in a Pandemic. While last year’s conference introduced local COVID-19 research, there are several papers this year under general topics such as COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake and Hesitancy, Adapting to the New Normal and Its Impact on Quality of Life. The conference will also highlight research papers on NonCommunicable Diseases, Cancers and Mental Health, Pharmacy and Oral Health as well as Clinical and Laboratory Studies. In keeping with COVID-19 protocols and guidelines set by the governing bodies, the event will once again be held virtually. It will also feature a 3D poster hall.
The 2021 National Health Research Conference is another multi-sectoral partnership and is co-hosted by the Ministry of Health, The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus, University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and the regional health authorities (RHAs): Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA), North Central Health Authority (NCRHA); Southwest Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) and Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA).
Registration fee is $200 for delegates and $100 for students. To register, visit http://conferences.sta.uwi.edu/nhrc or for further information feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for registration is November 12.
On Wednesday, October 20, 2021 the USC Administration and USC South Campus Teams paid a courtesy visit to His Worship The Mayor Alderman Junia Regrello at the San Fernando City Hall.
Present were President of the University of the Southern Caribbean, Dr. Colwick Wilson; Dr. Wanda Chesney, Provost, and Ms. Ebony Burton, Director of the USC South Campus.
This visit saw the formal introduction of Dr. Colwick Wilson as President of the University of the Southern Caribbean to Mayor Regrello.
The University of the Southern Caribbean remains dedicated to its long standing record of service to the city of San Fernando and looks forward to continued collaboration.
The University of the Southern Caribbean was represented with excellence at the UWI Conference on the Economy (COTE) Youth 2021 Virtual Armchair Discussion. Held on Thursday, October 14, 2021, the discussion was centered on the theme, “Accelerating Caribbean Development: A Youth-Centric Development Approach”.
Mr. Gershom Byng, a final year BBA Management student, presented on the sub-topic, “Entrepreneurship and Business Enterprise”. Mr. Byng emphasized the urgent need to diversify the economy with a priority on entrepreneurship due to the government being the largest single employer.
Mr. Byng explained that the oil and gas sector now faces a decline after years of, almost single-handedly, carrying the country’s economic load – investment in and amplification of the private sector will lead to increased employment and national productivity.
Mr. Byng credits his co-curricular participation for the development of his time-management skills. Despite carrying a full class load, and full-time entrepreneurship and employment, Mr. Byng prioritized preparation for the Virtual Armchair Discussion, thus enabling him to ably respond to off-topic questions on the German Economy.
Mr. Byng will join fellow students from USC’s School of Business & Entrepreneurship (SOBE) on Thursday, October 21, 2021 as they represent USC, and go for the gold, at the COTE 2021 Virtual Debate Competition.
The SOBE seeks to engage our students in co-curricular activities to assist them in the development of critical skills that will set them apart from others. Special thanks to Mr. Duane Winchester, Adjunct Economics Lecturer, who assisted Mr. Byng in the preparation of his presentation.
On September 25th 2021, the Church History Suite at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary (SATS) at Andrews University (AU) was named after the very influential, retired professor and pastor, Dr. Walter Baxter Theophilus Douglas. Positioned in a conspicuous place of honour on the upper floor of the building, is an artist’s portrait of the man who in 1972, became the first person of colour to join the teaching faculty of the SATS at AU. Dr. Douglas served with distinction as a scholar and member of teaching faculty at the ATS and in several other roles at AU for thirty-five years.
In his acceptance speech at the naming ceremony, Douglas, an alumnus of Caribbean Union College, Andrews University, McGill University and McMaster University chose to single-out Caribbean Union College (CUC) – now the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) – as the veritable point of original inspiration for the distinguished life of service he has led.
Walter Douglas – at the insistence of his mother – came to the campus of Caribbean Training College (the immediate institutional forerunner to CUC) in the early 1950s from his native Grenada. He was an impressionable, eager, and intellectually curious sixteen-year-old. His studies on the campus prepared him for the gospel ministry in the first instance, and also laid a solid foundation for his illustrious career as a scholar, consultant, servant-leader and the many other interesting things he has done with his life.
Douglas graduated from CUC as part of the very impressive class of 1958 and entered a brief stint of pastoral ministry in Port of Spain, Trinidad. His ambitions quickly took him to AU where he completed a baccalaureate degree in theology. He soon returned to CUC in 1963 as a member of its teaching faculty. Later in that year, he married Yvonne Sebro, an alumna of CUC and the daughter of Pastor Frederick A. Sebro – one of the first male students at East Caribbean Training School (the earliest formation of USC). Yvonne has been his supporter and partner in ministry, parenthood and life for almost fifty-eight years – and yes, they had a CUC campus wedding.
In 1964, Walter Douglas was one of quite a few youthful members of CUC’s teaching faculty to leave for North America to further their studies. He returned to Andrews University and there, as an exceptional graduate student, he left such an impression that soon after he moved to Canada for further graduate study at McGill University, he was invited by then AU president, Dr. Richard Hammill, to join the teaching faculty at the seminary. Douglas negotiated a postponed acceptance in order to complete his studies at McGill. In 1972, he took up what by then was a three-year old invitation and joined the teaching faculty at the seminary. He specialized in church history and the history or religion. He later added the emerging field of multiculturalism and diversity studies to his academic and professional skillset and was the founder and first director of The Institute for Diversity and Multiculturalism at AU.
In the privileged position of professor at the seminary – the epicenter of Adventist thought, research, scholarship and pastoral training – Dr. Douglas immensely impacted the world church directly and through his former students. For seminarians, being taught by Dr. Douglas became a rite of passage. The full stretch of his influence there will only be known when the records of heaven are unsealed. As for the more measurable, his exceptional work as a teacher and scholar at AU, earned him the John Nevins Andrews Medallion in 1993 – the superlative award AU reserves for its best scholars.
The demands of academic and professional responsibilities did not ameliorate the burden of his call to pastoral ministry and the pulpit. He was one the founders of the All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA and was its senior pastor from 1980 to 2004. Even after his retirement from AU, Dr. Douglas continued active pastoral ministry in Florida.
Beyond the cloisters of the denominational work, Dr. Douglas’ expertise and body of work in the field of multiculturalism and diversity studies brought him many special assignments in various parts of the world. One of the most memorable of these assignments for him, was his call to participate in an interim transitional government in his birthplace Grenada, after the fall of the People’s Revolutionary Government and the US led military intervention there in 1983.
In a reflective conversation with Dr. Colwick Wilson, the current president of USC, Dr. Douglas expressed thanks to God for the privilege and opportunity of spending thirty-five years in service to Andrews University and the world. He considered it an opportunity to represent CUC/USC at that level and that it was an honour for him to do so. He added that no man is an island and as such, his success is tied directly to the University of the Southern Caribbean. It was at CUC/USC that he experienced a call to ministry; it was there that he found Jesus; and it was there that he found his wife. Dr. Douglas even somehow managed to ‘grand-father’ the impact of CUC/USC into his explanation of the success of his three very accomplished adult children. He argues with a persuasive conviction that the blessings that he and his wife received from CUC/USC translated into opportunities for their children to be educated at some of the finest universities in North America and to experience outstanding successes in their own careers. Their children are Vonda, a pathologist; Derek, an attorney, university administrator and former aide to former US President Barack Obama; and La Vonne, a clinical psychologist.
The president, administration, faculty, staff, student, alumni, family and friends of the University of the Southern Caribbean here record heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Walter B.T. Douglas on his most recent honour and the inspiration and pride it carries for the people of the Caribbean.
On Thursday, September 30, 2021 Dr. Colwick Wilson, President of the University of the Southern Caribbean received a courtesy visit from Hon. Esmond Forde, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Tunapuna. The meeting which took place on USC’s Main Campus in Maracas, St. Joseph.
This introductory meeting served to acknowledge and bolster the long standing bilateral relationship between the University of the Southern Caribbean and the constituency of Tunapuna, and gave assurance for continued collaboration.
USC remains a dedicated contributor to national and regional development.
The 2021/2022 academic year has officially begun!
USC’s 29th President, Dr. Colwick M. Wilson cordially invites you to attend our President’s Convocation on Monday, September 20, 2021 at 3:00pm as we welcome the University community and inspire our new and returning USCians to continue Beyond Excellence in this new academic year.
Register Now: http://conferences.sta.uwi.edu/nhrc/
Gordon Ornsley Martinborough was born to Maisey and Gordon Martinborough Snr. in the colony of British Guiana (now the Co-operative Republic of Guyana) on November 12th 1936. He was the first of their four children. His father was employed as a policeman while his mother was an industrious homemaker. And so, the circumstances of Pooksie’s childhood were humble yet stable. Pooksie was his childhood alias, his home name. He is remembered by his sister, Shirley, as being a caring, bread-baking, older brother, tainted too by the common mischievousness of boyish childhood, but exceptional in his pursuit of a relationship with God and manifesting from early on, an intense devotion to prayer, biblical and academic scholarship and to evangelism and mission – a precocious priming for the greatness he would become when he would put away childish things. He also displayed in his youth an affection for church work. This blossomed in his teenage years as a member of the Buxton Seventh-day Adventist Church. Here he served as the leader of the local Missionary Volunteers Society (now called the Adventist Youth Society). In this capacity, his skills as an organizer and church leader truly developed. Gordon purposed to enlarge the territory of his preparedness for the Master’s service and his teachability abetted this well.
After completing his secondary education, Gordon Martinborough entered the teaching service and was assigned to the Enmore Government School. There, he excelled as a young teacher, so much so that when he wrote the first round of examinations in a three tiered teacher qualification system, he was adjudged as being qualified to be exempted from the second round.
In 1959, young Gordon Ornsley Martinborough and his best friend Roy Israel McGarrell, who also taught at the Enmore Government School, demitted the teaching service together and enrolled at Caribbean Union College (now the University of the Southern Caribbean) to study for the gospel ministry. Predictably, Gordon took with him a steadfast fidelity to fineness and was determined to succeed with the help, or above the hindrance of his instructors. His commitment to an active prayer-life did not suffer the pressures of study. His comrade, Roy, remembers of their college years that they would habitually “rise at 5:00 a.m. when sleep was ‘sweetest’ to go to the old broom shop to pray. We prayed together in the first session, then we separated to have our personal conversations with our heavenly Father.” With the winning combination of such faith and hard work, Gordon did exceedingly well in his studies at CUC so that he was selected as the valedictorian of the class of 1961.
It is at CUC, too, that he was drawn to Waveney Hinds who reciprocated his interest. Deep love and friendship resulted and in 1963 they were married and remained happily so, until the time of his passing. Gordon and Waveney Martinborough were soulmates, partners in parenthood and in ministry.
Pastor Gordon Martinborough’s denominational career has been inspiring and impactful. He has served the church in various capacities at various rungs of the structure of the world church, resolutely maintaining a passion for evangelism and keeping a wide berth from mediocrity and the ease of ordinariness. After being employed as an intern and district pastor in the Guyana Mission, a discomfort with his probably overworked voice, led him to Loma Linda Hospital in California, USA in search of a remedy. While there, he grasped the opportunity for further education, earning a Baccalaureate degree in Religion and History in 1972 and an MA in Church History in 1976 before returning to Guyana. In 1980, he was elected to the presidency of the Guyana Conference (the Guyana Mission became a self-supporting conference in 1976).
Following an outstanding term as Personal Ministries Director of the Caribbean Union Conference (CARU), he was elected to its presidency in 1991. As President of CARU, he assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of Caribbean Union College. In this capacity he worked with board and the administration of then college president Dr. Sylvan A. Lashley to persuade the government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to forgive an insurmountable TT$12,000,000 debt that encumbered the college. Here, the fortuitous entering wedge was probably the goodwill generated with government insiders after the Executive Secretary of CARU, Dr. Peter J. Prime, found the lost wallet of a senior Cabinet Minister and returned it to him unharmed – God’s ways are past finding out.
Under Pastor Martinborough’s chairmanship and Dr. Lashley’s presidency, the enrolment at CUC grew from around 300 students in 1991 to in excess of 1000 students in 1995, residential accommodation for students was expanded, the Science Complex was completed and furnished and the University Auditorium was relocated to a far more commodious space at the present site. Dr. Lashley recalls that:
Every day, at noon-day, he would call me to pray for the campus. This made an indelible impression upon my mind. He displayed a high sense of trust and faith…. Dr. Martinborough championed family life as a ministry and this became a part of my leadership practice also… Thank you Dr. Martinborough for your triumvirate example of prayer, faith and family. It has shaped my own ministry of practice and has become your gift to leadership in the Adventist world church.
In 1995 he rose to the Inter American Division where he served in various roles including Associate Ministerial Secretary, Vice President, Division Evangelist and Co-director of Family Ministries with his wife, Waveney. Pastor Martinborough was also instrumental in bringing the Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) movement to the IAD. Throughout his meteoric flight of promotions in his denominational career, his passion for soul-winning and developing superior implements for evangelism never abated. Gordon Martinborough was a thinker, a teacher and a prolific writer who thought, taught and wrote to his ministerial calling and practice.
Consonant with this, he wrote and published several manuals, Bible lessons, seminars and books on practical, family life and health evangelism. His written works have been published in several languages and successfully deployed in diverse cultures globally. His published works include: New Life Campaign Kit (1979), Operation Andrew Manual (1980), Health and Life Lessons (co-authored with Pastor Collin Parkinson (1984)), Family of God Crusade Handbook (1989), Family Life Evangelism Manual (1992, 2004 & 2010), I Love You (1995), Happy Family Bible Seminars Study Guides (2002 & 2006), Health Evangelism Campaign Manual, (2018) and the Healthy and Happy Seminar Study Guides (2018). The number of souls persuaded for Christ through the far-flung reach of this aspect of his contribution can only be numbered by heaven. Martinborough also published articles in the Adventist Review and the Ministry Magazine.
In 2005, he retired from denominational employment but never abandoned his duty to the gospel commission. He co-founded Happy Family Bible Seminars International with his wife, Waveney, and targeted the global community with their brand of practical family life evangelism and wellness. The programmes they have produced for television have been aired regionally and globally on 3ABN, Safe TV, Hope TV and LLBN.
Pastor Gordon Ornsley Martinborough has led an incredibly inspiring life that has personified the mission and motto of USC, his alma mater. He has modelled what an “extraordinary servant of God to humanity” looks like and in his 84 years on this earth has managed to go “beyond excellence!” For his life and work, the University of the Southern Caribbean conferred on this deserving recipient the Doctor of Divinity honoris causa at its eighty-fifth graduation ceremony in 2018.
The ultimate valediction for a life so richly lived composes a swansong of complex and variegated emotions – the melancholy of bereavement for precious loss co-mingled with the celebration of triumph, achievement and completion.
The board of trustees, administration, faculty, staff, students and community of the University of the Southern Caribbean joins in the mournful celebration of the life and work of the late Dr. Gordon Ornsley Martinborough. We express our heartfelt condolences to his wife Waveney, their three children, Dr. Esther Biamonte, Samuel and John Martinborough, their son-in-law, Dr. Marco Biamonte, his sisters, Dr. Shirley McGarrell and Mrs. Dolly Teixeira, their husbands, Dr. Roy McGarrell and Clement Teixeira and a host of cousins, nephews and nieces, personal and family friends.
Another decorated soldier of the cross has been called home to rest after serving distinguished tours of duty in the Master’s service. Psalm 116:15 instructs us that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” The Lord counts it as “precious” that Dr. Gordon Ornsley Martinborough is finished with the troubles of this world. May we allow the life of this exemplary alumnus to inspire us.
Velvet Benicourt enrolled as a student at the University of the Southern Caribbean, School of Business and Entrepreneurship (SOBE) in September 2018 with an aim to complete her economics degree under four years. She almost did it!
Along with regular semesters, Velvet also enrolled in summer classes in order to accelerate her progress. She was diligent and maintained a minimum, cumulative GPA of 3.70 throughout her studies. Brilliant and determined would characterise her efforts as she pursued her studies, taking pride in her performance. Her lecturers identified her intellectual abilities and encouraged her to take part in various co-curricular activities.
Twice she represented USC as a researcher and member of the SOBE debate team, and on one occasion led the Team to victory! Velvet was a ‘working student’ who had to face the challenge of balancing work-life demands on a daily basis. She admitted experiencing some health challenges in 2020 and was cautioned by several of her lecturers to slow down her pace of studies in order to manage her overall wellness.
She was poised to graduate with honours and wanted to achieve such a milestone by July 2021. Alas, as her health challenges proved complicated she had to pause attending classes in May 2021.
We extend our deepest condolences to her family. She will be missed for her dedication and determination and will always be remembered for her pursuit of excellence.
Remembering Velvet – Tributes from SOBE Students & Faculty
Velvet Benicourt impressed me to be a gentle, hardworking, determined and intelligent soul. While I never had the privilege of having her in any of my classes, I had several brief interactions with her, mainly during challenging times in her life. I was concerned at times that she was pushing herself at school too much but she assured me that she loved school and that assignments comforted her and took her mind off of other things. The only time I had a physical interaction with her was last year when we were desperately in need of a third person for the COTE debate. I asked her if she was capable and willing and she graciously accepted even though we asked her at the very last moment. She stepped right in and was of great support to her team members. We don’t always understand why death takes someone so early with such ambition and a bright future. However, we trust that God knows what is best for her and I am grateful for the brief moment on earth I got to spend with Velvet Benicourt.
– Esther Cedeno
‘International Economics’ would not be the same without Velvet. Always smiling, always willing, always volunteering. What an indomitable spirit, and an ‘A’-Class student in all her Economics Courses! We all would surely miss Velvet, her keen mind displayed in her debating team in 2020. What a treasure! In fact, we can’t really believe that she is gone. It seems surreal. As her Economics Professor and her Debating Coach in 2020, I would particularly miss her brilliance and her infectious enthusiasm that generated confidence among her class members. Velvet was certainly destined for greatness, but God in His wisdom saw it fit to take her to rest, even at such a young age. So, we look forward even more to that ‘great getting up morning’ when Velvet with all the saints of God shall be gathered home. I guess that’s when we’ll understand it … by and by. So, sleep on my dear student, for it won’t be long. We will see you ‘in the morning’. I join with all my colleagues and administrators in offering a special prayer of comfort for Ms. Benicourt (Velvet’s mother), and indeed for all her other family members. Remember that, ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy will certainly come in the morning’. Psalm 30:5
– Dr. Stephen Pilgrim
I met Velvet when she took an online marketing class with me. Her name really stood out as I never came across such. Her forum responses were always very thought out and she always asked questions to stimulate discussions. After that class she came into my office early in January 2020 and as she indicated who she was, I quickly replied…oh you are Velvet. She replied yes with a smile and we continued our discussions. On two other occasions, I was called in, to deal with some school matters for her and our communication increased thereafter”. I remember it all as if it were just yesterday. My prayer is that at this time, her mother may find the comfort that she needs to weather this storm.
– Stacey Simmons Roberts
What is wrong with this girl? Those were my honest thoughts after my first conversation with Velvet. Coming to class late and looking disinterested wasn’t enough. She had come to my office an hour or so before class to inform me that she was tired and not in the mood to wait around for my class. She said something along the lines of me being boring and she couldn’t handle that today. I tried to stay polite, wished her the best and allowed her to leave. Needless to say, I was shocked and somewhat angry at her audacity. Our interactions remained tense throughout the rest of the semester.
She would often look at me with disgust and I was certain she hated me (I had no idea why). I honestly wished for the end of the semester when I would no longer have to deal with her. As it turned out, Velvet was an economics major and as such we would go on to share many classes together. Sometime later she informed me that she was not enjoying economics and was thinking about changing her major. Yes! I thought to myself but I obviously couldn’t express that to her. Instead, I told her that she should probably give it some more time and not make a rush decision. To my amazement and slight disappointment, she decided to take my advice. In the next academic year, I ended up having Velvet in every one of my classes. I would literally see her every single working day. Velvet was by no means a bad student. In fact, she did very well in all of my classes, usually topping the class. However, for whatever reason, she didn’t seem to enjoy my classes and therefore appeared unmotivated. Who could blame her I thought to myself, I don’t like listening to myself either.
UWI’s Conference on the Economy (COTE) was approaching and as usual they invited USC to participate in their debate competition. As an excellent student I invited Velvet to be a part of USC’s team. She was very reluctant but eventually gave in under the condition that she would only function as the researcher and therefore won’t have to speak at the debate. I agreed. Over the next couple of days, myself and the team spent a lot of time going over talking points and building a coherent argument. To my surprise, at one of those sessions Velvet confessed that she was beginning to really enjoy economics. That year we won the debate competition. There was a significant change in Velvet’s disposition. This change was somewhat apparent even before the debate. She seemed to enjoy the smaller classes as given the low enrolment of economics majors, we typically had around 5 students in each higher level economics class. Given the size of the class, we would often spend time talking as a class about current issues facing the country, region etc. At one of these relaxed sessions, Velvet told me that I was her favourite teacher. I was flabbergasted, befuddled even. I wondered at what stage I moved from being a horrible teacher to a fairly decent one. She quipped that I was always a good explainer just somewhat monotone and boring.
Velvet went on to obtain A’s in every single course she did with me, nine in total. She had an inquisitive and brilliant mind. She was quiet and difficult to read if you didn’t know her well but once she was comfortable, she was talkative, kind-hearted, jovial and even boisterous. It wasn’t uncommon to enter the classroom and see Velvet and her partner in crime Blossom, laughing uncontrollably at something they were watching on their phones.
Velvet would go out of her way to help her classmates. She would visit my office just to talk. We became good friends. She confessed that she really didn’t want to be in school but that she had promised her grandmother to get her degree and intended to keep her promise. That’s who she was, a person of her word. I knew she had health challenges but never realized how serious they were. We were blessed to have her at USC. She was a blessing to the lecturers and students in the economics program. I’m sure she was also a blessing to her family and co-workers. She deserved a long, happy and prosperous life. Though she’s gone, I look forward to her getting what she deserves at the end of time. Death is not the end. May this hope comfort her close friends and family members and motivate us to live honestly, and unselfishly as she did.
– Lyndrison Lincoln