Three Bajan women hailed
Outstanding Barbadians to receive Honorary degrees
Three Barbadian women will be among 20 outstanding individuals conferred with honorary degrees by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in October for their contribution to the region.
Retired politician Dame Billie Miller and women’s rights activist Dame Maizie Barker-Welch will receive their honours at the Cave Hill Campus, while president and CEO of Sagicor Life, Dr Marjorie Patricia Downes-Grant, will be awarded at the Mona Campus in Jamaica. The trio, along with the other 17 awardees, are receiving the honorary doctorates in recognition of their stellar contributions to Caribbean development, according to a statement from the UWI.
Dame Billie had an active and prolonged political career and was the first woman to sit in the Cabinet of Barbados, serving as minister of foreign affairs and deputy prime minister, among other senior positions, in several Barbados Labour Party administrations.
She received Barbados’ highest honour – the Dame of St Andrew – in 2003 in recognition of her distinguished career and her outstanding contribution to Barbados, to international organisations and to politics. In 2008, she was laureate for the United Nations Population Award in recognition of her stellar contribution to the awareness of population issues.
Dame Maizie, who was also involved in politics – as a member of the Democratic Labour Party – has a “distinguished record of service at the national, regional and international levels in the fields of community and women in development, ageing, and politics”, the UWI noted.
“Her developmental work in Barbados and the region spans seven decades. She is the founder of the St Joseph Action Group, an NGO which helped to address the concerns of women in rural areas in Barbados,” it added.
Dame Maizie has also served in senior positions in various national and regional organisations devoted to those causes, and represented Barbados repeatedly on the global stage.
In outlining Downes-Grant’s contribution, the UWI said she stands at the top of the finance industry in Barbados as head of the largest financial conglomerate in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
“Not only is she the leading woman in corporate Barbados, but is also a transformational leader who has done a great deal to ensure that the UWI benefits
from her success,” the university noted.
Downes-Grant has had extensive experience in business consulting, financial services and development banking, and has been with Sagicor Life since 1991. She is also director of a number of statutory boards and private companies in Barbados.
The others who will be conferred honorary degrees are: Dame Irina Bokova – politician/UNESCO director general, Bulgaria; Dame Cécile Ellen La Grenade – food scientist, Grenada; Nicholas Brathwaite – global technology industry executive, philanthropist, United States; Ryland T. Campbell – educator, banker, entrepreneur, philanthropist, Jamaica; Michael Fennell – sports administrator/retired business executive, Jamaica; Professor Alan Jackson – scientist, United Kingdom/Jamaica; Dr Robert Jeremy Poynting – founder, director of Peepal Tree Press, United Kingdom; Sir Brian G.K. Alleyne – diplomat/lawyer, Dominica; Dr Earl Long – parasitologist, St Lucia; Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona – fifth president of Trinidad and Tobago; Adrian Camps-Campins – historian/artist, Trinidad and Tobago; Catherine Rukmini Kumar – business executive, Trinidad & Tobago; Rhonda Mary Maingot – philanthropist, Trinidad & Tobago; Dr Robert Moore – public servant/politician/writer/journalist, Guyana; Subesh Ramjattan – entrepreneur/philanthropist/author, Trinidad and Tobago; Sir Ronald Sanders – international consultant/writer/former diplomat, Guyana; and McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis (Calypso Rose) – calypsonian/cultural Ambassador, Trinidad and Tobago.
UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne will confer the degrees at UWI graduation exercises during the months of October and November.
The Open Campus will be the first of the four campuses to host its graduation ceremony on Saturday, October 11, in St Lucia. The graduation ceremony at Cave Hill, Barbados, will follow on Saturday, October 18, with St Augustine and Mona ceremonies hosted on October 23 through 25 and October 31 through November 1 respectively. (PR/DP)