Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Saturday, June 02, 2018— On June 1, 2018, during a small ceremony in Barbados, Government representatives of islands impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 received proceeds of funds raised at last year’s T20 Benefit Cricket Match hosted by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) in collaboration with Sagicor and Flow Sports.
Members of the Governments of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and Dominica received portions of the funds raised at the Rally Round the West Indies Celebrity T20 Cricket Hurricane Irma/Maria Relief Benefit which was held last November at the 3Ws Oval at The UWI Cave Hill Campus. The handover ceremony which returned the hosts and the beneficiaries to the scene of the special celebrity match was attended by Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Dr. Stephen McNamara, Chairman of the Sagicor Financial Corporation, among other senior leadership of both institutions.
In addition to its presence as a major sponsor of the benefit match, Sagicor donated U$100,000 to the fundraising drive. The Governments receiving the funding, indicated that the donations will support restructuring and rebuilding efforts in the areas of health and education, with these projects to be specifically impacted:
- Anguilla: the purchase of an Intravenous Infusion Pump and two Vital Signs Monitor for the Princess Alexandra Hospital, which operates under the Health Authority of Anguilla.
- Antigua and Barbuda: the outfitting of the Holy Trinity Primary School in Barbuda with furniture and other school equipment.
- British Virgin Islands: contributing to the rebuilding and outfitting of the Elmore Stoutt High School, specifically equipment, such as photocopiers, computers, printers etc.
- Dominica: financing the replacement of ICT equipment needed to re-equip all labs at secondary schools especially to facilitate online examinations.
Dr. Stephen McNamara, Chairman of Sagicor recognized the partnership between Sagicor and The UWI saying, “The benefits of this partnership have resulted in Sagicor’s donation of US$100,000 which will impact many lives in the Caribbean.”
Dr. McNamara also took the opportunity to encourage individuals and families who are preparing for the Hurricane Season to include thoughts about insurance to assist in their protection. He said, “As an insurer it would be remiss of me to not point out that by our estimate a relatively small percentage of properties are insured throughout the Eastern Caribbean. This risk can be easily planned for by any individual and I urge those not insured to immediately seek out a solution.”
In his remarks, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, the Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, emphasized the special vulnerabilities of the Caribbean and the need to strengthen its resilience. He reaffirmed The UWI’s commitment as CARICOM’s largest single diversified reservoir of competences and expertise to be on frontline of the charge to resilience, championing the cause of resilient development in the Caribbean, in partnership with all major stakeholders—public and private.
He stated, “Our university, as I have repeatedly said, was not built to serve itself, but rather, to serve the people of the Caribbean. In this regard, The UWI continues to be hands-on in its support to these, our member countries to assist in their recovery projects.”
Indeed, the University’s hands-on approach was clear from the moment news broke of the devastation, as teams, led by Vice-Chancellor Beckles and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, The UWI Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth, were on the ground immediately in Barbuda and Dominica respectively with Prime Ministers assessing the situations and pledging the University’s support in rebuilding. Following, the Vice-Chancellor working with Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor V. Eudine Barriteau and her team, championed for the second time, a benefit cricket match, which focused attention on the crisis.
Vice-Chancellor continued, “We heartily thank SAGICOR’s Board, led by Mr. McNamara for responding to our invitation, and generously agreeing to sponsor the match, and pledge this impressive US$100,000, to enable affected countries to get on with the critical recovery and rehabilitation phase. As an activist university, our priority is to work together to bring the countries of the Caribbean back on a firm, positive development trajectory.”
The 2018 Hurricane Season begins on June 1 until November 30; and already the season’s first named storm, Tropical Storm Alberto, has reportedly claimed at least two lives as it swept over the southern United States. Sagicor and The UWI remain committed to supporting the people of the Caribbean in building and strengthening their communities throughout every eventuality.