Addressing the second annual ministerial summit of the Caribbean Examinations Council in Grenada on Friday, The UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles lamented the low level of tertiary enrolment among young people across the English-speaking Caribbean which places this bloc of islands “at the bottom of the pile” in the hemisphere. The result, he said, is that the region is not generating the professional skills, training and “academic specificities” to push economic development and transformation.

Sir Hilary’s lament was not exactly news. In the pre-pandemic period of free tertiary education in Trinidad and Tobago, this country recorded increasing student enrolment on an annual basis but the same was not true for other Caricom countries, especially those dependent on tourism.

The disappointment in his statement was the absence of a more probing analysis of the factors responsible for low student enrolment. After seven years as Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary should be in a better position than anyone to provide this. It goes without saying that the ability to afford higher education is a decisive factor in enrolment. However, what is less obvious are the variables that come into play when young people weigh the decision to invest or not in their own higher education.

Relevant in this regard was a statement made by Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell at the same CXC summit. He spoke about the gap between the academic curriculum and the skills required for the job market and the region’s development. Like many other governments before his, the Mitchell administration is trying to address this disconnect by emphasising vocational skills.

Here in a nutshell is the enduring and still unsolved problem of the education system in the English-speaking Caribbean which impacts the value of tertiary education and affects individual decision-making to invest in it. Tomes have been written about the colonial education system planted in the English-speaking Caribbean and the damage being done by its privileging of academic over experiential learning and its irrelevance to our needs.

The value of tertiary education will increase exponentially if society’s needs were matched by the expertise to respond to those needs. This realignment demands nothing short of the transformation of the education- a fact of which we are all aware but seem unable to actualise. Unless the colonial system is broken and re-engineered to the actual needs of our societies, the mismatch that results in an over-abundance of graduates in traditional fields and shortages of qualified persons in historically overlooked and undervalued fields, and new and emerging ones, will persist.

The education imperative remains to produce people capable of solving our societies’ problems and of opening up new and innovative paths of development and progress. As we survey the state of T&T, the demand for more and better expertise is evident in order to counter the problems of crime, flooding, disease, economic inequity, economic underdevelopment, dysfunctional politics, youth alienation and violence, intolerance, low productivity and so on.

We invite Sir Hilary and the rest of The UWI’s leadership to dive below the low numbers and help us to better understand the full nature of the problem and to advance solutions.


With the crisis in Haiti falling to ever-lower depths of horror with each new day, the rest of the world seems unable to formulate a single meaningful response. This includes those of us in the Caribbean.

The international community’s centuries of interference and self-serving actions helped to foment the destabilisation of a society that has now fallen under the boots of militarised gangs. There is now almost no way in which to help millions of Haitian nationals from being crushed on a daily basis.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has argued that politicians who preach the ­desirability of executions as a method of crime control deceive the public and mask their own failure to identify and confront the true causes of crime.

It says also the imposition of the death penalty is often arbitrary and always irrevocable, forever depriving an individual of the opportunity to benefit from new evidence or new laws that might warrant the reversal of a conviction, or setting aside a death penalty.

There’s a pre-Musk and post-Musk era when it comes to Twitter. Earlier this year, in May, during the pre-Musk era, I wrote that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, was poised to irrevocably change the Twitter platform: not just in content, but also in ideology. True to form, Musk has ushered in a new “brand” of social media as well as a new style of leadership.

THE Vic Old Boys and Friends have been watching the FIFA World Cup together since 1974.

The 2022 edition is the 13th during that time span, if anyone is counting. So one or two of them are worried about what shape they’ll be in when 2026 rolls around and USA, Canada and Mexico are the hosts.

Four years after Pele, Rivellino, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto and company lit up the Azteca in Mexico City in 1970, the Vic Boys have seen from Johan Cruyff to Franz Beckenbauer, Mario Kempes to Zico, Maradona to Paolo Rossi, Zinedine Zidane to Ronaldo (the real one, according to die-hard Brazil fan Quincy), Xavi to Thomas Muller, Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luka Modric to Kylian Mbappe.

Good morning to the Council of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

I have noted your media release of December 3, expressing your observation with “great concern, the growing trend of attorneys engaging, whether by themselves or through partnerships with others, in conduct and/or actions which are tantamount to advertising and or touting”, and reminding of the LATT’s “statutory duty to ensure that members adhere to the Code of Ethics and accordingly, offending attorneys-at-law can expect to be contacted by the LATT within the coming weeks”.

This is an open letter to the Ministry and Minister of Works.

Please have the relevant department check the roads in and around Freeport and Couva. These roads are in dire need of repair.

Due to the traffic, the large trailers and other large transport vehicles use roads not designed for this type of traffic.

This includes, but is not limited to, the roads from Freeport Mission Road west to the Main Road, from Balmain Road west along Camden Road across the Main Road west to the Exchange Road, then to the estate, through Roystonia to the Exchange Road.

There are also two subsidiary roads that lead north from Couva to Chaguanas which assist residents in avoiding some of the traffic heading into Port of Spain. The Caroni Savannah Road is also in poor condition.

These large, heavy transport vehicles are also passing through the residential roads of Roystonia and causing major damage.

The result is a number of roads that are hazards to regular vehicles on the best of days.

The holes are deep and numerous; aligning one’s car seems a waste of time and money. I invite other commuters to add their concerns, as I am certain there are others who have had the same experiences as myself.

I thank you, Minister, for your attention.

Annie Downie

Roystonia, Couva

This is an open letter to the Ministry and Minister of Works.

Please have the relevant department check the roads in and around Freeport and Couva. These roads are in dire need of repair.

Due to the traffic, the large trailers and other large transport vehicles use roads not designed for this type of traffic.