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OAS Representative welcomes first women to head top UWI posts

By VOICE Reporter
Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine
Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has again broken new ground by appointing two Caribbean women from Trinidad & Tobago and Saint Lucia to two top posts previously only held by men, attracting congratulations from home and abroad.

Representative of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Saint Lucia, Ambassador Lilly G. Ching Soto, has enthusiastically welcomed the appointment of one of the two, a former high-ranking OAS judicial official, who’s the new and first female Principal of the St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) in Trinidad & Tobago.

The UWI on April 30 appointed Trinidad-born Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine as the new principal of the Trinidad & Tobago-based campus, following a decision two days earlier by the University Council.

The Head of the OAS National Office in Saint Lucia, who represents Secretary General Luis Almagro on the island, told The VOICE she’s “ecstatic” about the appointment.

The OAS representative says she’s extremely pleased “to see Professor Belle Antoine continuing to break the glass ceiling.”

Professor Antoine has served as President of the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and also served the hemispheric organization as its Rapporteur for Persons of African Descent and Indigenous Peoples.

Ambassador Ching Soto says: “I celebrate her strength, intelligence and accomplishments and I wish Professor Belle-Antoine and UWI St Augustine much success.”

A Cambridge and Oxford scholar with a doctorate from Oxford University in Offshore Financial Law, Professor Antoine started her UWI journey as a temporary law lecturer at the Barbados-based Cave Hill Campus in 1989 and became a lecturer in 1991.

She previously served in several high-ranking positions at The UWI, including as Law Faculty Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Board for Graduate Studies and Research.

As Law Faculty Dean, Professor Antoine was instrumental in creating the Makandal Daaga Scholarship (named after the celebrated Trinidad & Tobago civil and equal rights fighter also known as Geddes Granger), which is today described as an equal-opportunity scholarship to support outstanding law students, in and out of classrooms.

The new St. Augustine Principal was Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Marijuana Commission and is an advocate for decriminalization of marijuana and creation of a sustainable Caribbean cannabis industry.

But the new St. Augustine Principal still has some time to prepare for her latest high-ranking appointment, as she won’t take office for another three months.

Her appointment announced on May Day (May 1), Professor Antoine will take office on August 1, replacing outgoing principal Professor Brian Copeland — and becoming the first woman to hold the prestigious post of Principal at St. Augustine.

Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee
Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee

Meanwhile, Ambassador Soto has also welcomed the appointment of a Saint Lucia-born professor to another top UWI post, this time Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee, who’s been named as the academy’s new Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research.

Professor Henry-Lee was selected at the same UWI Council meeting and she succeeds Professor Antoine, but will assume her new office on August 1, 2022.

As the new Head of the Board of Graduate Studies and Research, Professor Henry-Lee will oversee its policy and operational plans for development and regulation.  (See here for more on Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee)

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