Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 3rd 2013 Contents A31
Thursday, October 3, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Open Lectures Committee of The University of the West Indies
(UWI) St. Augustine cordially invites you to a Distinguished Open Lecture
as part of the CARICOM Leaders Lecture Series
WHERE IS CARICOM GOING?
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque
will discuss the status of the regional integration process and
his vision for the future of CARICOM
Thursday, October 3rd 2013 | 5:30pm | Daaga Auditorium, The UWI St Augustine Cam
Of late, the PhD as the pin-
nacle of academic achieve-
ment has been tarnished by
some laying claim to it. The
latest involves a prominent
member of the 1990 Coup
Commission who admits to
obtaining it from a "bogus"
university according to a news
reports, and recently, another
senior official was subject to
inquiry about the same degree
on similar grounds of question-
Yet another case in a local
tertiary level institution would
have involved questions about
adequate scholarship and
supervision of a doctoral candi-
date, and from another angle,
an "honorary" doctorate is
often misconstrued and used as
a permanent title by some,
when it is only a marker of an
"honour" conferred without the
normal privileges and status of
an authentic doctoral title
acquired through a rigorous
Not to mention of course, the
many "doctors" among us,
especially in religious circles,
and in some academic, with
many questions surrounding
the validity of such titles.
The PhD is the aspiration for
anyone striving for true aca-
demic excellence and if it is
seen to be compromised as
above, would it not lose some
of its status as something to
work towards in achieving such
Could this not spill over into
the society leading to an all
pervasive culture of intellectual
mediocrity? Surely this must
not be, and serious measures
should be adopted to ensure
this. For example, falsifying
academic qualifications is a
criminal offence and should be
treated as such.
The first step in this, howev-
er, is detection, which should
be the responsibility of human
resource officials in every
department, school, work place,
inter alia, to rigorously scruti-
nise submissions and pro-
nounce on them on the basis of
accepted standards of accredi-
We neglect this at our peril,
for social stratification and
mobility based on academic
achievement is the lifeblood of
any progressive society, and if
this structure is compromised
by questions of validity of cer-
tification, a society s moral fibre
begins to disintegrate resulting
in chaos and confusion.
Bullies manipulate, try
to control others
We all expect to live a particular
lifestyle filled with consideration, love,
respect and happiness.
What happens to one who expects
this for themselves but lives a life hurt-
ing others by slander, disrespect, lies, vi-
olence and hate?
There is no one cause of bullying. Bul-
lying can be targeted to anyone of any
age, gender, size or status.
Many times bullies portray them-
selves in a loving and caring manner but
this is just a way to hide their true
selves and intentions. They live lives of
manipulation to encourage others to do
what they want. Bullying is a mental
disorder where they create and believe
situations which they feel they can
solve by violence and hurtful means.
We live in a society where bullying is
a norm and we have learned to live with
it, but what does this really do? What is
the state of mind of the victims?
Victims of this offence may suffer
from long-term emotional problems
which invite loneliness, depression, anx-
iety, illness, suicide.
People directly involved with these
bullies will see signs and instead of
turning a blind eye, should seek some
form of intervention. We may say that
this all started from home but we all
have our own mind and should know
what is right and what is wrong.
In many cases bullying is triggered by
the person wanting some excitement or
to alleviate boredom, but most of all to
create attention towards themselves.
This is like a drug for them. They feel
good by seeing others in pain whether
physically or emotionally.
We live in a society filled with anger.
We can't keep blaming everyone for our
mistakes. We need to look at ourselves
and fix ourselves first. Society will taunt
but God will judge.
I am a victim of bullying by people
known to me, whom I trusted and who
live in the area I live. It was an attack on
my character, my culture, my marriage,
my elderly parents, my home.
was accused wrongfully and even
though I had all evidence to prove my
innocence, I was prosecuted by society.
One should take the time to find out
the truth before hurting innocent peo-
ple.They would not know how much pain
and hurt they inflict on families who
were also victimised. It is not always
easy to pick up the pieces and move on.
On Tuesday morning I received
the very sad news that Father
Knolly Knox CSSp of St Mary's Col-
lege died last Sunday night.
Since receiving the news of his
death, I have recalled and relived
many wonderful memories that I
have of Father Knox and the enor-
mous impact he has had on my life,
academically and spiritually. There
can be no doubt, I am sure, that
there are many others who feel the
His influence on me made such a
lasting impression that as I sit here,
many miles away from T&T, trying
to find the right words to express
the emotion I feel, my vision is
blurred by my tears. I am saddened
by his death but also I have a deep
sense of gratitude for the good for-
tune and privilege to have had him
as a teacher.
It was nearly 60 years ago that I,
as a young teenager, met Father
Knox at the start of the school term
at St Mary's College. He entered the
Physics classroom to teach a sub-
ject that I had until then, found to
be difficult. By the end of the first
week my attitude towards Physics
had changed. But that was not the
only change. I now discovered that I
studied all of my other class sub-
jects with passion, and discovered
that I now had the desire to be the
best that I could achieve. That was
the kind of effect that Father Knox
had on his pupils who cared to listen
to what he was saying.
Later I joined a small group led by
Father Knox called The Sacred
Heart Society. Our meetings were
not long, but under his guidance I
developed a greater understanding
of the teachings of the Catholic
church. He also stressed the impor-
tance of such qualities as discipline,
integrity and truthfulness.
For this I thank Father Knox.
Many years later he was as-
signed as parish priest to the church
that I attended. I now looked for-
ward to his weekly homilies, and
sometimes, as I listened to him, my
happy memories of those earlier
years and the nostalgia, brought
tears to my eyes.
Two years ago he celebrated the
60th anniversary of his ordination
as a priest. I visited him to congrat-
ulate him and again to thank him
for the lasting effect and impact he
had on my life. Now I regret not
having done so again.
Father Knolly Knox of The Holy
Ghost Fathers dedicated his entire
life to teaching.
Father was a truly holy and
unique man, who without doubt
and very quietly, made an immense
and immeasurable contribution to
May God grant him Eternal
QUALIFICATIONS MUST BE
Dr Errol Benjamin
A homeless man takes a siesta on one of the benches on the Brian Lara
promenade, yesterday. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
Fr Knox, truly a great mentor
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