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St. Kitts PM tells graduates fromCuban universities to fight poverty

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August 25 Basseterre St. Kitts: Twenty five students who have just graduated from several universities in the Republic of Cuba were congratulated by St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr.Denzil Douglas. Speaking during a Recognition Ceremony held at the University Centre in Basseterre and organised by the Association of St. Kitts and Nevis Students Studying in Cuba, Prime Minister Douglas noted that the students have successfully completed courses of study leading to degrees in engineering, medicine, dentistry, psychology, architecture, accounting and economics. 

“Apart from this very wide array of professionals that we now have returning to St. Kitts and Nevis, I believe that this is the single largest group of our citizens who have graduated at any one time from any university around the world,” said Dr. Douglas.  

“You have been trained in an environment that is different, from other environments of learning I believe around the entire Caribbean, if not around the world.  You have been trained specifically to return to serve, to serve your people in a poor country.  You are part of the bigger initiative to eradicate poverty here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who along with Cuba’s Resident Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Mr. Orlando Alvarez, presented the Certificates of Recognition awarded by the Association of St. Kitts and Nevis Students Studying in Cuba.

Prime Minister Douglas used the opportunity to congratulate the students, their parents and children for the sacrifices made during the six to seven years that the students pursued tertiary level education with the assistance of the Government of Cuba and his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration.

“As we ponder the issues of poverty, as we ponder on its causes, the manifestations and poverty reduction actions, let us remember that education must be translated into action and persistence, vision and a passion to make things better,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who noted that it was the former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge who viewed it this way: ‘Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent it will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. ….. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.’

“Tonight I say, my dear fellow citizens and graduates press on, press on in our fight against poverty,” concluded Prime Minister Douglas. The theme of the Recognition Ceremony, which was co-chaired by President of the Association, Mr. Dail Crawford and Ms. Violet Williams, who is studying psychology in Cuba was “Fighting Poverty through Education.”

Dr. Giovanna Matthew (Basseterre), Dr. Vance Gilbert (Tabernacle), Dr. Garfield Alexander (Basseterre), Dr. Terrence Drew (St. Peter’s), Dr. Merissa Grant (Basseterre), Dr. Norgen Webster (Sandy Point), Dr. Joylett Woodley (Sandy Point), Dr. Darryl Warner (Sandy Point) and Dr. Sharon Archibald (Basseterre) obtained medical degrees.

Dr. Trevor Christmas (Saddlers) graduated as a dentist and Carolyn Brownbill and Cherrilyn Warde-Crawford as psychologists. Warde-Crawford husband, Dail, is also pursuing a medical degree in Cuba and expects to graduate next year.

Other nationals who graduated from Cuban universities are Jovica Williams (Cayon), Scwbash Caines (Middle Island) and Dion French (Saddlers) in Accounts/Finance; Hollis Prentice (Basseterre), Abou Elliott (Basseterre), Theodore Phipps (Saddlers) and Dahlia Francis (Cayon) in Economics; Jeremiah Woodley (Sandy Point) and Calvin Martin (St. Peter’s) in Architecture; Kevin Bennett (Newton Ground) in Industrial Engineering; Verna Morris (Tabernacle) in Spanish/Linguistics; Linden Dickenson (Challengers) in Mechanical Engineering) and Nubian Greaux (Basseterre) in Electrical Engineering.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of Public Works and former Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Earl Asim Martin, the first Cuban-trained physician in St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Kitts and Nevis Kingston-based Ambassador to Cuba and High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Mr. Cedric Harper; Cuba’s Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Mr. Orlando Alvarez and Resident Tutor, Mrs. Olivia Edgecombe-Howell.

Pastor Lloyd Williams, father of graduate, Jovica Williams, gave the Invocation. Miss Nadine Natta, who is studying pre-school education in Cuba, dedicated a selection to the graduates and the Mighty Junior, St. Kitts’ Junior Calypso and OECS Junior Monarch sang is famous “Fight Violence and Crime.” Dr. Garfield Alexander responded on behalf of the graduates. Caronette Franks, daughter of former Commissioner of Police Mr. Stanly Franks and his wife, gave the Vote of Thanks. Caronette is studying medicine in Cuba.

AESNEC President Crawford told the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister that two Cuban-trained Nevisian dentists, Dr. Veron Brookes and Dr. Royston Archibald have returned to Havana to specialise in a field of dentistry. Kittitians Dr. Randy Liburd and Dr. Daveen Wilkes-Wilkins and Nevisian Dr. Retna Walwyn previously graduated from Cuban universities in the last two years.

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