January 25, 2008
Justice of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court the Hon. Hugh Rawlins told graduates of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in St. Kitts – Nevis that they should continue to justify their existence in positive and meaningful ways.
The Nevis born Appeals Court Judge who was also a former student at the University, urged the students to impact the community meaningfully, during a ceremony for the recognition of UWI Graduates from St. Kitts and Nevis. The event was held at the Old Manor Hotel in Gingerland on January 19, 2008.
“The journey has just commenced and there are many more steps that you will take before your life’s end to justify your own existence”¦Your teachers obviously encouraged excellence and not mediocrity, in their endeavours which go a long way to justify their existence,” he said.
Justice Rawlins noted that St. Kitts and Nevis had achieved and kept high standards in education but it was unfortunate that it had not been constantly highlighted to foster a culture of educational achievement and excellence among the young people of both islands. If the achievements were highlighted explained that it would lead the young people in more positive, worthy and uplifting ways to justify their own existence.
Notwithstanding, he registered his hope that the graduands would be reminded that a justification of one’s existence could eventually permit one at the end of life to give a useful account of one’s stewardship.
“The need to justify our existence challenges us from personal perspectives which are not divorced from national perspectives. For me, a basis of the personal perspective is exemplified in a passage which is taken from a book entitled “Seeds of Sacrifice, Harvest of Faith: Principals of Biblical Financial Empowerment and Stewardship”.
“The author states as follows “˜Life will not bestow very much on those who refuse to struggle and make sacrifices. It is exactly what we put into life that we get out of it. “¦ What a man soweth that and nothing else, shall he reap”¦ What we do with what we have been given by God will determine the harvest that we reap’.”
The author of the book he explained was Ms. Ivenia Benjamin of Dominica, a lawyer whom he had taught at the Faculty of Law of the UVI during the 1990s. He said she became a Magistrate and defied the odds though still engaged in private practice today pursued her dream of becoming a published writer, an endeavour he said which allowed her to constantly uplift her life and that of persons around her in positive ways.
He also made mention of Ms. Mossi Stapleton of St. Kitts another practicing lawyer, who also authored a published novel.
“These ladies and other persons have justified their existence by their pioneering work because they were willing to think and hazard outside of the normal, the ordinary and the mundane. There are others who daily lead and show the way. They bid us to follow but we sometimes fail even to appreciate the significance of their endeavours”¦
“I wonder, however, whether you are sometimes as amused as I am with our own complaining about the negative attitudes of our boys, in particular, when we cannot find it possible to highlight the endeavours and achievements of those who by their lives’ examples have sought to continue to seek daily to uplift us?” he said.
During the ceremony, the Faculty of Humanities and Education Bachelor of Education honoured Juliette Claxton, Boris Connor, Dawnny Lanns (Valedictorian) and Ornette Webbe with first class honours and Lavern Collins, Amelia Freeman, Charisse Gumbs, Cheryl Haynes, Shona Hendrickson, Evette Liburd, Ilena Mills, Francil Morris, Joycelyn Pennyfeather and Shea Wilkin.
The Faculty of Social Studies Bachelor of Science recognized Rochelle Finch, Carla Hendrickson, Michelle Hendrickson, Tessa Knight, Nicole Liburd, Lavern Parris and Med Williams.
A Certificate in Business Administration was awarded to Rebecca Browne, Denise Franklin and Ernestine Webbe.
Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Wayne Hunte presided over the ceremony.
Also present at the ceremony were Governor General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Deputy Governor General His Honour Mr. Eustace John, President of the UWI Alumni Association of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Caroline Lawrence, Chairman of the Territorial Advisory Committee Tapley Seaton Q.C. and Resident Tutor and Head of the University Centre St. Kitts and Nevis Mrs. Olivia Edgecombe-Howell.