Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 27th 2014 Contents 8 UWI TODAY -- SUNDAY 27th APRIL, 2014
It's late evening and the campus is quiet, but Professor
Antoine is surprisingly energised for her interview.
Surprising, because it's the tail end of a ursday with lots
to do since her return from an arduous stint at the Inter-
American Commission on Human Rights in Washington
and she is nishing preparation for the launch of the Faculty
of Law at UWI St Augustine. is evening hour was the
only time she had.
Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, the new Dean of the new
faculty, she's as lively as early afternoon. Her eyes are
expressive, and it's fascinating to watch her thoughts play
across them as she responds to my questions.
"I'm a Caribbean woman," she says when asked how
she feels about regional identity.
It's as clear a rebuttal as any to V.S. Naipaul's concept of
the mimic men---a post-colonial Caribbean made of fragile
pretenders stagnating in false societies. When Professor
Antoine proclaims her Caribbean identity she does it with
a self-assuredness that would be incomprehensible to Ralph
Her con dence is well-founded. rough her diverse
and proli c academic career she has created a place for
herself, e UWI and the region, based on groundbreaking
intellectual inquiry and dedication to social justice.
To her, Caribbean means creative energy used for a
positive purpose. It's the outlook through which she will
shape UWI St Augustine's Faculty of Law over the next
international authority. In the same way, the faculty has to
be creative and relevant (in its courses and research). at's
how I see my academic work and the work of the faculty.
We will do all the traditional things but we also have to be
out there breaking new ground."
LAW AT ST AUGUSTINE
On April 15, UWI St Augustine o cially launched its
Faculty of Law in a campus ceremony that included Prime
Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar
and Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron, President of the
Caribbean Court of Justice. is means students can now
complete all three years of the Bachelor of Laws degree
programme at St Augustine. Previously, they had to do
their second and nal year of the programme at the Cave
Hill Campus in Barbados.
It was an enormous undertaking and crucial to its
success was nding the right person to head the faculty.
ere were several strong candidates but in the end the
position went to Professor Antoine. Few would argue with
Her credentials are outstanding. She holds a Chair
as Professor of Labour Law and O shore Financial Law.
Previously, at the Cave Hill campus, she was the Deputy
Dean and Director of the LLM programme. Professor
Antoine is a winner of several regional and international
awards, including the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence.
In 2006 she won the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research
and in 2013 for Public Service, making her the rst two-time
winner in the history of the awards.
True to her word, she has built an international
reputation for innovative research and is considered by
many the foremost regional expert and thought leader in
areas like o shore nancial law, labour law and the law on
HIV. at reputation extends as well to her published work.
Professor Antoine is an award-winning author of 12 books
and numerous articles, whose work is on the curriculum
of universities in Africa, the US, the UK and continental
But if there is any area of her work that she is most
proud of, it is in the sphere of public advocacy:
"I'm always surprised when people talk about my
accomplishments. ey are not that big a deal to me. I do
get a feeling of quiet satisfaction when I see that my work
in uences policy. e other day one of my former students
who is now a director at the HIV Unit in Caricom told me
I was a change agent because of how in uential my work
has been in HIV."
"I've lived to see labour law work I did in 1992 taken up
by governments in the region. When I see equal opportunity
legislation in Trinidad and Tobago I know that I wrote the
early proposals. You talk about things for years and years
and you think no one is listening and then one day, people
do it. As an academic that is a very powerful thing."
On March 21, 2001, Professor Antoine gave an intense
example of her commitment to social justice when along
with nine of her students she was arrested at a Cave Hill
Standing with her best friend in front of the mosaic wall that she built.
In the Dominican Republic last December, as rst Vice President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,
speaking with members of the Haitian community.
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