Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 30th 2014 Contents OCTOBER 2014 • WEEK FIVE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
VERBATIM | BG13
achieved the level of development it has
In this connection, I recall the words of
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free,
in a state of civilisation, it expects what never
was and will never be."
The foundation of our continued independ-
ence, and the knowledge to maintain it in an
international community that is neglectful of
the plight of the small and vulnerable, begins
in this university.
That is why our governments must be urged
to support the UWI for all the good it deliv-
ers.Such support will take many forms, especially
But high among them---less tangible, but no
less substantial---must be the preservation and
strengthening of a West Indian environment
The light rising in the West that the UWI
represented at its birth---and as is reflected in
its motto---can only continue to shine if the
fundamentals of our regional integration project
Indeed, I go further to say that our individual
countries---always severely challenged to man-
age each on their own, and now even more
gravely confronted---will themselves return to
bending their knee and opening their palms
just to maintain notional sovereignty.
Adapting to the ravages of global warming
and climate change, ensuring that terrorism
finds no foothold on our soil, coping with dis-
eases that know no borders, fighting drug traf-
ficking and violent crime, bargaining with a
global community to whom, as small states
we are of very marginal interest; all these things
demand robust regional cohesion and collective
Our region will survive---and our regional
institutions such as this one---will prosper and
deliver for our people, only if our identity as
one family, one community, one society, one
civilisation endures and strengthens.
Providing that environment of sturdy region-
alism is part of your generation s trust not only
as alumni; but also as West Indians.
I urge you accept that trust and to fulfil it
in your interest and in the interest of all our
peoples, particularly your generation and the
next ones to come.
The region's frailties and strengths
Now I come to the part of this speech that
troubled me the most.
Speakers on occasions such as this one
are expected to inspire and motivate; to
encourage you to go out and conquer.
But, I am mindful that you re graduating
into a tough world where the competition
for good jobs is fierce; where the number of
available jobs is few; where the economies
of our region, with a couple of exceptions,
are still reeling from the effects of global
recession; and where individual Caribbean
countries, garbed in the flags of their sov-
ereignty, are too small and too weak to bargain
effectively in the international community.
That should be sufficient reason for me
retreat from this stage in apprehension for
But to do so would be wrong.
Not wrong because I would leave you in
despair, but wrong because I do not believe
you should despair.
Indeed, I am convinced that it is times, such
as this, that provides opportunities.
It is a time of dizzying change; change that
you have witnessed in your own lifetime. It
is times like these when leaders emerge and
entire swathes of younger people make changes
that suit their own aspirations and shape their
It is telling that in talking to a graduation
class at Stanford University, Steve Jobs---the
entrepreneur behind all the Apple products
we know and love---who knew that he was
dying, said this:
"Your time is limited so don t waste it living
someone else s life. Don t be trapped by
dogma, which is living with the results of
other people s thinking. Don t let the noise
of others opinions drown out your own inner
voice, heart and intuition."
Unlike Steve Jobs, I don t know that my
death is anywhere near imminent.
I hope not; there are still a few things I
want to do.
But, I agree with him.
I tell you this: you will never have more
energy, more enthusiasm and more brain cells
than you have now,
I can also tell the male graduates in this
hall that you will never have more hair than
you have now.
I know that from personal experience that
is baldly evident.
So, this is not a time for you to lament the
period in which you live or to bemoan its cir-
After all, your generation is the most edu-
cated, the best informed, the most tolerant
of race and religion, the best prepared for
competition in a globalised world.
The Internet, the World-Wide Web, mobile
phones, computers, facebook and twitter have
opened up a world of instant knowledge and
Those things have freed your generation
from offices and desks; it has even freed you
from having to be within a country to work
for its companies or to interface with the
clients of such companies.
Increasingly in the future, people will work
for the world from anywhere in the world;
and they can just as well work from home,
as work in an office.
Already within this university, lectures are
being shared across campuses in three coun-
tries, and conferences are held through com-
puter-based technology in which persons
interface as if they are in the same room.
I suspect that not all of you will remain in
the disciplines in which you graduate today.
In your lifetime, you will train in other
fields and you will take advantage of new
technologies that appear with astonishing
But, if the history of our West Indian people
has proved one thing it is that we have a
genius for adaptation.
As Carrie Gibson in her recent authoritative
history of the Caribbean observed:
"The West Indian character has everything
to do with surviving the many brutalities,
restrictions, and challenges served up by peo-
ple from Europe and later the United States."
If we could, as we have, overcome the scale
and consequences of those brutalities; if we
could, as we have, fashion a West Indian iden-
tity and culture from severed connections; if
we could, as we have, make ourselves into
middle-income countries from the conditions
of poverty in which colonialism left us, then
the only thing between you and success is
And, we should all recall that the only place
where success comes before work is in the
I invite you all to go out and show that the
world is your stage, and you are more than
ready to play your part.
Thank you very much.
'We have a genuis for adaptation'
From Page 12
Links Archive October 29th 2014 October 31st 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page