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Harvey to UWI graduands: Be human, good citizens

Published: 
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Roman Catholic priest Fr Clyde Harvey was in a dancing mood shortly after receiving an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of the West Indies during its annual graduation exercise at the St Augustine campus yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ

Temporarily shelving his motor board, Fr Clyde Harvey replaced it with a Rastaman cap, complete with its ice, green and gold colours. Toying with the assembly, Harvey asked, “Should I wear it like this (young people style)?” Harvey merely set the tone to invite graduands to do a measure of introspection as to whether they were “human and good citizens.”

 

Occasion was the ceremony for the Presentation of Graduates 2012. Harvey was conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) Honoris Causa at UWI Spec, St Augustine Campus, yesterday. Among those present were Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Clement Sankat, deputy principal Prof Rhoda Reddock, Vice Chancellor E Nigel Harris and Chancellor George Alleyne.

 

As his address unfolded, Harvey touched upon the need for Caribbean integration. He said, “My young and not-so-young friends, I ask you, as you graduate this morning, to hold two words in your hearts today and for the rest of your lives—human and citizen. Are you a human being? Will you be a good citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St Lucia, and Dominica, a faithful son or daughter of the Caribbean?”

 

Addressing students of the Humanities who analyse complex characters in novels and tear apart historians biases in copious data, Harvey said, “You who have studied the humanities ought to have developed a deeper consciousness of the complexity of being human, of the mysteriousness of every human being, especially as revealed through great literature, universal and West Indian.

 

 

I hope these studies have expanded your horizons in such a way that you will always stand in awe before the wonder of your own humanity and the humanity of others.”

 

He reminded them that they were called to be citizens. “The idea of citizenship takes us back to Ancient Rome. A citizen was basically someone who was not a slave. In 1976, we said to the world that we wanted to be no longer subjects of a monarch, but rather citizens of a Republic.

 

 

The French were very clear about the principles of the Republic, liberte, egalite, fraternite. My generation has tended to take these for granted as we wallowed in oil and gas. Your generation must see these as tasks yet to be achieved in law and in life. There can be no freedom without responsibility, no equality without justice and no community without respect.”

 

Among the other highlights were valedictorian BA/French/Spanish Nayaatha Taitt’s address in which she called upon graduands to “make society a better place,” and called on students of gender to use their education to address inequality.
History lecturer Dr Rita Pemberton was celebrating with daughter/graduand Gelien Matthews.

 

Disabled Sangre Grande SWAHA Hindu College school teacher Alana Gajadhar came in for kudos for achieving a Post-Graduate Diploma (Dip Ed with distinction). The wheelchair-bound graduand said, “I wanted to show differently abled people they can achieve something.”