Her Excellency Makeda Antoine-Cambridge, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, recently visited her alma mater, the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), and made momentous scholarship presentations to two outstanding University students; Chevaughn Joseph and Christel Simon.
This particular USC Scholarship Program, also known as ‘The Makeda Antoine Excellence Award’, was established by Genesis – the Movement, a non-government organisation founded by H.E. Antoine-Cambridge. It is specifically for female students from Trinidad and Tobago at USC, with a GPA above 3.5, and pursuing a B.S. in Computing. Two scholarships are awarded annually at a total value of $13,000 (TTD).
At the special presentation event, hosted by the University’s Student Services and Enrolment Management Department, H.E. Antoine-Cambridge gave the featured address and shared her personal and experience as a Computer Science major at USC. Antoine-Cambridge shared the crucial importance of never allowing your fears to have control over you, but thriving to be your best in everything you do in spite of any challenges.
In attendance to witness the grand occasion were several University officials including USC’s Provost – Dr. Leon C. Wilson; Onesi La Fleur – VP, Student Services & Enrolment Management; as well as several department and faculty heads; and members of the Associated Student Body (ASB).
The full photo album can be viewed on the University’s Facebook page.
~ Ends ~
Collection of Certificates
Port of Spain, Trinidad – Monday 29thJuly, 2019: The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) takes the opportunity to congratulate its recent graduates on their achievement. This is an important milestone and USC salutes all who have made this step in their journey to excellence.
As the University works closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure all matters surrounding GATE are resolved, USC will grant provisional clearance to all graduates who have fulfilled the institution’s internal financial obligations. These measures have been taken to ensure there are no delays for qualified graduates in receiving their certificates.
The University wishes to notify recent and past graduates that certificates will be available for collection from Wednesday 31stJuly, 2019 at the Office of the Registrar once all internal financial obligations are met.
For further information or clarity kindly contact the University’s Office of the Registrar at (662-2241 ext. 2208/2218/2225.
From May 19th to 26th 2019, five members of USC’s music and related faculty were involved in the hosting of a music workshop in beautiful St. Lucia – the Helen of the West.
The workshop, which was the brainchild of St. Lucia SDA Academy and CUC alumnus Mr Gilbert Jn-Francois, saw the participation of sixty nine (69) students from the Academy, the Eucharist Lewis SDA Primary School, as well as a few other schools in the surrounding community. The goal of the workshop was to provide training and raise funds for the strengthening of the Academy’s music programme, through the establishment of an orchestra at the institution.
The workshop attendees were able to benefit from musical training in five different areas facilitated by USC mUSiC’s highly qualified instructors – Strings (USC String instructor Boyd Gibson); Choir (USC voice instructor Paul Cort); Percussion (Dr. Tracy Hislop); Woodwind and Brass (Mr. Niall Edwards, Director CUC Secondary School Concert Band); and Choir Chimes (USC mUSiC Coordinator Kerron Hislop).
The week of activities catered for children of all ages and musical abilities and it was especially rewarding to see students who could not read a note of music at the beginning of the workshop being able to perform at the final recital, after just a week’s instruction. Their excitement and appreciation provided its own reward to the instructors who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the venture.
The week’s activities culminated in a final recital on Sunday May 26th, presented to a packed audience of parents, friends and well-wishers. This recital was held under the patronage of the Honourable Stephenson King, former Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and current Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour. Minister King expressed his delight at seeing the degree of success the programme had achieved in such a short space of time and demonstrated his support for the initiative through the provision of a substantial financial contribution to ensure its continued success. Additional support for the workshop was provided by the St. Lucia School of Music, the National Skills Development Center, the Saint Lucia Mission of Seventh Day Adventists and numerous other individual and business supporters.
The Academy’s Principal, Ms Jacinta Berthier, also revealed her satisfaction with the transformation and progress of her students during the workshop and her excitement at the possibilities for the future as the programme continues to grow.
Going forward, the Academy intends to purchase some much-needed equipment and follow up with a summer music camp in August in hopes that by September, the various ensembles including Choir, Chime Choir and Band/Orchestra will be integrated into the Academy’s programme.
USC mUSiC looks forward to continuing to support the musical vision of not only the St. Lucia SDA Academy, but of all our region’s institutions.
The School of Business and Entrepreneurship of the University of the Southern Caribbean, in what has become a traditional annual activity of the School, held its 9th Annual Business Development Seminar entitled “The Role of Entrepreneurship and Trade in Economic Development with Reference to Entrepreneurial Financing” on 9th April, 2019.
This seminal function which is one of the School’s flagship calendar events, witnessed the gathering of a galaxy of government Ministers, seasoned academicians and, a showcase of alumni of the school who have gone to become successful entrepreneurs in various areas; representatives from the university administration, faculty, staff and a large contingent of students for whom the event was designed to benefit.
In keeping with its traditional design, this year’s seminar was also divided into three segments. After a soul warming musical rendition by Johnatan Blackman, the first segment witnessed special greetings from the president of the University of the Southern Caribbean Dr. Hilary Bowman, Dr. Leon Wilson (Provost) and, guests of honor Senator the honorable Allyson West who represented the Minister of Finance Mr. Colm Imbert, Senator the honorable Paula Gopee-Scoon – Minister of Trade and Industry who was represented by Ms Frances Signoret – Permanent Secretary (Ag); Ms Susan Shurland, Deputy Permanent Secretary- Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts who represented Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA) and Mr. Albert Chow, CEO – National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd. NEDCO.
In his goodwill message, Dr. Bowman admonished students to get started, innovate and create opportunities for themselves and to strive to be self-employed.
In the same vein, Dr. Leon Wilson reminded the audience that “it is the strategic role of USC to foster relationship with community agencies and government, to let them know that our role is not only to “pontificate knowledge”, but to be involved in the pragmatic needs of the society”
In his welcome address, Dr. Raghavalu Ramella, the Dean of School of Business emphasized the critical importance of entrepreneurial finance for SMEs. He said that for SMEs to survive and grow, adequate access to finance and enhancement of their productivity was a critical factor. “In addition to finance, supporting industry and promoting the internationalization of SMEs is key to stimulating inclusive economic growth, he averred”.
The reality according to Dr. Ramella is that in the Caribbean region, SMEs continue to have poor access to finance. This situation is further aggravated amid the continuing global financial uncertainty, as stable access to appropriate funding sources has become even more difficult for SMEs. The financial crisis impacted SMEs and entrepreneurs disproportionately, worsening their traditional financing. In addition to limited finance, the financial conditions of many SMEs were further weakened by the drop in demand for goods and services, amid tightening credit.
Senator the honorable Allyson West in her remark highlighted the important initiatives introduced by her ministry to promote entrepreneurship in the country. Before reeling off the various incentives provided by her Ministry either directly or through the Ministry of trade, the minister reminded the audience of the current state of the economy. She said inter alia, that the collapse of commodity prices in 2014 affected all the economic sectors of the country. “Given recent economic events, it is unclear whether we will get back to peaks of revenue that were generated between 2011 and 2014. Those were special times. Our budget went up to $63 billion in 2014 which is the highest ever. At the moment, we are operating within the region of $15 billion which is a significant decline”.
The Minister maintained that “it cannot be understated that even in this challenging economic times, the government has placed the economy on a growth trajectory. According to 2018 Review of the economy, this country’s GDP grew by 1.9% at a time when it was predicted that it could not happen. We have a fairly stable unemployment rate which is currently 4.8% which if you look at the region and globally, that is a very solid performance. In February 2019, the headline inflation remained low at 1.2% year-on-year”.
She gave commendations to the University of the Southern Caribbean for its commitment to fostering the edification and growth of entrepreneurs and for hosting for the 9th year, its Annual Business Development Seminar “because it is an area which Trinidad and Tobago needs to get more focused because the future of the nation depends not on oil and gas but on the growth of SMEs”. She also informed the audience that the government is willing to support the SME sector on seven distinct platforms which among others include: Institutional strengthening, enhanced legislation, more in-depth small business training, expanded and customized funding facilities, the establishment of new business clusters and, actualizing fair share programme. She reiterated that the government has introduced a large number of incentives to provide support to SMEs and, would be entrepreneurs should make an effort to find out what support is available through the government.
Senator the honorable Paula Gopee-Scoon who was ably represented by Ms Frances Signoret regretted her inability to be physically present in the seminar to which she has become a regular eminent presenter, due to Parliamentary duties in the senate. In her goodwill message, the Minister who indicated that she was very enthused by the title of this year’s seminar, commended USC “for its active role in the field of education and the institution’s detailed emphasis on purposeful and targeted transformation of its students into future leaders and entrepreneur”. She reemphasized the nexus between trade and entrepreneurship and its impact on economic growth and development as reflected in the National Development Strategy (NDS) for Trinidad and Tobago (2016-2030) – Vision 2030. Vision 2030 identifies the need to “create a culture and climate for entrepreneurship and innovation” through education and training including support for a culture of research and development.
In the same vein, another regular eminent personality in the school’s seminars, Ms Susan Shurland, Deputy Permanent Secretary- Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts in the goodwill message she delivered on behalf of Dr. the Honorable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA); the Minister thanked Dr. Ramella and USC for the invitation to bring special greetings, pointing out that “ the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) is very dear to Minister and she sincerely regretted her inability to be physically present at the function.
Relating Entrepreneurship to community development, the Minister said that “business enterprises must become more involved and integrated into development on a micro or community level for it fosters development on a macro or national level. It calls for businesses to have meaningful engagement in the communities in which they operate. As we know, our economy has changed, we live in stricter financial times and as the “ole” people would say, “eat little and live long”. The reality is, the economy has changed, and with these changes our communities must adapt. A paradigm shift in the economic development strategy of many communities over the past decade or so has been the increase in entrepreneurship. Now, as community developers we must recognize that entrepreneurship is critical to the vitality of the local economy and job creation as entrepreneurial projects make a positive contribution to community development in terms of both impact and sustainability”.
Mr. Albert Chow, the CEO of National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited on his part explained to the august audience the various support incentives that his organization provides to entrepreneurs. He enthused that this year’s theme is especially important to NEDCO as it is very close to NEDCO’s cornerstone of entrepreneurial finance.
Young persons, according to Mr. Chow, “hold a special place in NEDCO’s heart as we have had long standing partnership with several youth centered institutions such as USC, among others.
He mentioned that NEDCO provides pyramid mentorship, business advisory and assists in incubator services. NEDCO, he said, was fully committed to working with the nurturing environment of the University of the Southern Caribbean in developing its entrepreneurial protégés, by accelerating their growth in the coming months of 2019 and, we are confident that through our partnership, we will develop several of your entrepreneurial minded risk takers into independent business successes. While answering questions from the curious audience, he pointed out that NEDCO provides loans from as low as five thousand dollars to as high as two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
He advised that young borrowers should work with co-borrowers or guarantors to have a better reliability that they would succeed because they would be better mentored as young entrepreneurs and will have the backing and support of a network that would allow for a general success of their business.
The second segment of the seminar featured Academic Paper presentations by Dr. Lucile Sabas, Associate Professor of economics and Finance, Andrews University, Michigan, USA, and Mr. Gabriel Faria, CEO Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Dr. Lucile Sabas in her presentation enumerated the various types and sources of financing for entrepreneurship. She reminded the audience that the internationally successful businesses today started with a dream; they started small.
Mr. Gabriel Faria while focusing on the aspect of trade in his presentation said that “trade is difficult in Trinidad and Tobago because there is no access to foreign exchange and “we consume too much”. As a country, we are abusive consumers – we overconsume.
While analyzing the business environment in the context of contemporary changed paradigm, he averred that 20 years ago, TSTT earned 85% of their income when people spoke to someone on the phone. They charged you on every call. Today, 90% of that 85% of their revenue has disappeared. When was the last time you spoke to somebody on a “traditional” line, he asked. If you want to talk to somebody, you dial them on whatsapp. Our environment and ease of doing business is difficult but these are realities.
He spoke about the trade agreements that Trinidad and Tobago has with foreign countries regionally and globally but rued the fact that the country has not been able to optimize their benefits because of legislation they have in place. He elucidated on the benefits of CSME but regretted that the reality is quite different from theory. He pointed out that politicians are managing the system based on the aims of their constituents. In Trinidad, for example, the trade union says “you cannot bring more people. Why not? Because you will create problems for workers in Trinidad”.
In conclusion, he encouraged students not to be held back by the system, rather, to go forth and innovate.
The third and final segment which was ably anchored by Ms. Del Phillips brought together alumni of School of Business who have become successful entrepreneurs in a Panel Discussion format in which they shared their experiences on how they started their businesses small, weathered the storm in many instances and became successful entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago, a lesson that was invaluable to our students and numerous other participants who attended the seminar.
The Panelist included Mr. Johann Small – founder and proprietor of Jay’s BBQ and Grill, Mrs. Jewel Ramdhan, founder and principal – Jewel Ramdhan Prestigious schools of Learning and Mr. Solomon Rodney, Managing Director-Matvern Business solution Ltd.
Here is the link- 9th Annual National Business Development Seminar 2019 photos
We are proud to acknowledge the Pioneers and congratulate all PhD graduates from the Graduating Class of 2019. However, today we single out our own USC Vice President, Dr Prakash Ramoutar, who graduated on May 19, 2019, becoming part of the ‘first-fruits’ of some 16 doctors who graduated from this innovative bi-lingual PhD in Business Administration, at the University of Montemorelos, Mexico (See Photo below).
It was in 2015 that the Pioneer of this International Bi-lingual PhD in Business administration program, Dr Stephen Wayne Pilgrim, a Seventh-day Adventist Caribbean Scholar previously domiciled in The United Kingdom, and more recently past Vice President of USC, came together with another friend, the Ministerial Secretary of Northeastern Conference, another Caribbean Scholar and Alumnus of USC, Dr Ainsworth E. Joseph, to co-engineer the first-ever International PhD Business Administration Cohort offered through the University of Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico – one of the flagship Universities of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
The goals of this program were to bridge the language and cultural gap between Hispanic and English Pastors and congregations and to enhance the administrative skills of Pastors and Leaders internationally. Many doubted while others questioned the possibility of such an initiative. However, some captured the vision and immediately enrolled in the pilot program.
The program was generated by the Post-Graduate Coordinator at the School of Business, Enterprise & Law, Professor Dr. Pedro Gonzalez; and received its blessings from the President of Universidad de Montemorelos, Professor Ismael Castillo Osuna, as a very innovative and ‘blue ocean’ proposal.
We congratulate each of these ‘history-making PhD graduates’, including Dr Andrew Philbert, Alumnus of USC from the Grenada Conference. But today we particularly pay homage to our own Vice President – Dr. Ramoutar. We are proud of this son of the soil, for his dedication and commitment, and for flying the USC flag so high in the sky. We also congratulate all other Caribbean nationals who graduated in other disciplines at the UM Graduation Ceremony on Sunday 19th May 2019.
While this Business Admin Cohort has now graduated, others are in the process of forming; so that persons interested in joining this august group of Doctors of Business Administration, as well as Doctor of Educational Administration can contact Dr. Stephen Wayne Pilgrim through Email: firstname.lastname@example.org o
The University community was plunged into sadness as Mr Josephus Gilbert, a longstanding CUC/USC employee passed away on March 9th, 2019. Mr Gilbert time of service at the institution spanned over thirty years, beginning as an employee of Caribbean Union College (CUC) now the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) from November 26, 1973, to May 31, 2007.
An alumna of the Caribbean Union College Secondary School and the New York City Community College, he was also a family man. He was the husband of Marie-Georges Gilbert and father of four daughters and one son. He was a mentor to many students, faculty and staff and was described as a humble man yet profound man.
Mr Gilbert served as the Manager of the Maintenance Department at CUC/USC from 1973 to 2007 and was instrumental in the construction of many buildings on the campus such as the Science Complex. The ambience of the campus grounds was well-kept during his tenure at CUC/USC.
As news of his passing was shared many expressed their appreciation for the time they were associated with him either as a student worker, colleague, friend or otherwise.
Some sentiments shared are as follows:
During his tenure, he made significant contributions to the campus’ infrastructural development. However, his mark was truly left in the foundations of discipline and work ethics that he built and instilled in the student workers that assisted him. His best tools on any job were his exemplary dedication, work ethics and commitment to hard work and fairness. (Gilbert Jn Francois)
The end of an era. Mr Gilbert showed us that there is dignity in labour. (Elsa J. E. Cupid)
Thanks for the opportunities you provided for us to learn both work discipline and school fees! (Eon George)
This gentleman was responsible for the best maintenance that campus had for years. A great man in a great many ways, his mark is still evident in the way the groundsmen do their tasks. This is a deep loss, not just to the university campus and Gilbert family but to the Maracas Community and Society at large. You will be sorely missed, Sir. (Joel LeGendre)
You will be missed. To me, one of the great stalwarts of CUC/USC. (Rowena Moore-Mc Nichol)
I heard about Mr Gilbert as being a hard taskmaster even before I met him. My experience with him didn’t confirm the rumours. In fact, I found him to be wise and committed to his job, and to the institution, he worked for. His attitude toward the school was as if it was his own and had a vested interest. Moreover, Mr Gilbert didn’t limit education to the classroom. As long as you choose the work with him he will teach you a thing or two. I always remember what he told me once, he said work is work just as long as you are working for an honest day’s pay. These words made me adjust my attitude toward whatever I did from then on. For that, I say thank you, Mr Gilbert. (Latham Calbert)
As a fitting tribute to his time at the USC the celebration of life for Mr Josephus Gilbert was held in the New Auditorium, the most recently built facility on the University compound on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.
Our condolences to Mrs Gilbert and family from the University of the Southern Caribbean. May Comfort, Hope and Peace be yours from these promises from the Word of God.
From March 8th-16th,2019 the USC celebrated its diverse culture with the annual International Students’ Week of activities.
Under the theme ‘Out of many we are one’, the Main Administration carpark was transformed into a cultural village of bamboo huts draped with national flags and decorated tastefully by students, where club booths formed the ‘ISW Village’. Territorial clubs displayed their home cultures with food, decor, information, music and more. Walking into ‘ISW Village’, visitors were met by an array of fragrances as student groups offered various national dishes and delicacies for sale. This is typically a grand event around the university campus as staff and community members sample some of the various dishes on sale.
The eight-day schedule began with ISW Vespers on Friday, March 8th,2019 and included a Unity Cocktail on Saturday, March 9th, 2019. Throughout the week there were a number of various focused activities which began with the Opening Ceremony. Activities throughout the days from Monday 11th to Thursday 14th included Mr and Mrs Culture USC Oral Presentations, Culinary competition, a student Cultural Parade and Cultural Wear and Folk Music Expo. A small area of the carpark was transformed into a road tennis court and several students and even the University President, Dr Hillary Bowman enjoyed taking part in this Barbadian style tennis game.
On the evening of Saturday 16th, the week came to its climax with the Mr and Ms Culture Pageant, an exciting five (5) part competition where club representatives vied for the titles of Mr and Ms Culture USC 2019 respectively.
On this night, other awards for the various competitions held during the week were presented. The St. Lucian club can feel justly proud as their club carried eight (8) of the seventeen (17) trophies that could be won, including both Mr and Ms Culture USC 2019. The two winners represented the St.Lucian club: Mr Jean-Neal Lima and Ms Letia Alexander respectively.
Of notable mention was the Guyanese club who won trophies in five (5) categories this year. All clubs performed exceptionally and participation from Dominica and Trinidad & Tobago were thoroughly entertaining and educating.
Every year International student week is held which allows students from across the Caribbean to showcase various aspects of their culture. We look forward to bigger and better things at ISW 2019.
The school of Theology and Religion held its sixth, Theological Inter-denominational Symposium. The three-day symposium under the theme was held from Jan 23-26, 2019. The symposium’s objectives included but was not limited to ‘The establishment of biblical, theological and historical foundations of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as a major doctrine of the church’,’To give witness to the doctrine of the Trinity as espoused by the Seventh-day Adventist church to other religious faiths’ and to ‘Make an academic contribution to theological scholarship as an Adventist tertiary institution.’
Over two hundred persons were in attendance at the event which concluded with a panel discussion on Sabbath afternoon. The two main presenters were Mr Matthew L. Tinkham and Dr Thomas Shepherd, Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Programme Director both of the Andrews Univesity Theological Seminary.
Several abstracts for the Plenary sessions were presented including ‘Where is the Trinity in the New Testament? An overview’ and ‘The Divinity of Jesus Christ’ under the patron of Dr Sheppard. ‘Talking about God: Preliminary Hermeneutical and Methodological Considerations for studying the doctrine of the Triune God’ were part of the six sessions done by Mark Tinkham’.
Participants included several Adventist ministers from across the Caribbean Union who commented positively on the enjoyable, informative and engaging sessions particularly by Dr Shepherd who punctuated his presentations with many humorous anecdotes. The success of this year’s symposium is credited to the hard work and the team of the school which is affectionately referred to as “The School of the Prophets”.
On Sunday, February 3rd, 2019 USC saw 4 nominations for awards in various categories at the Ceremony and saw victory in one category.
USC Current Students/Alumni nominated were:
Lenova Ramella (Student) – Young Artiste of the year
Renee Lawrence (Student) – Undiscovered Artiste of the year
Shurnelle Spencer (Alumnus) – Collaboration of the year/Breakout Artiste of the year
USC Choir – Choir of the year
The nominees were up against many other artistes across the nation and found themselves qualified through both public voting and technical examination from the GMATT body and on the USC Choir/UCO won their category of Choir of the Year.
Receiving the award was Mr Kerron Hislop, Director of the UCO and Head of the Music Department at USC.
USC has a rich heritage of being an active participant to the national and international gospel world, and with the reviving of the Music Department under the leadership of Mr Kerron Hislop, it has begun to regain momentum and recognition in the spheres of music both nationally and internationally, competing and excelling in several competitions locally.
The Gospel Music Awards of Trinidad and Tobago is an oppportunity to celebrate the achievements of local and regional gospel music artistes and industry influencers and to reward the outstanding work of the various sectors within gospel music.
This ‘premium gospel event’ is an initiative taken on by the Celian International Group which is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) geared towards youth, with the aim of being triumphant through Sport and Culture.