The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. 03 November 2016 – The Government of Dominica has conferred the country’s second highest state award – the Sisserou Award of Honour on Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. The award was presented by President of the Commonwealth of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Angelo Savarin, at a ceremony earlier today, November 3, 2016; as part of Dominica’s 38th Independence celebrations.
The Sisserou Award of Honour, created in 1967, is named after the national bird, the Sisserou (imperial amazon/Amazona imperialis) – a parrot indigenous only to Dominica, particularly near the island’s rainforest.
In an official correspondence, Prime Minister of Dominica, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit stated, “The Government of Dominica has taken a decision to advise the President of Dominica to confer the Sisserou Award of Honour in recognition of your (Vice-Chancellor Beckles’) contribution to the Commonwealth of Dominica and the region in the field of education”.
In responding to the news of the award, Vice-Chancellor Beckles said, “This is an unexpected and extraordinary honour that gives me considerable personal satisfaction as an educator and much pride as Vice-Chancellor of The UWI. Serving the Caribbean people in both capacities is my principal objective and Dominica is one of my favourite societies in the world. I am deeply moved by this recognition and I give thanks.”
Vice-Chancellor Beckles is among a total of six distinguished persons who received the Sisserou Award of Honour this year. Other awardees included: Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque for his contribution to public service; Dr Curvin Ferreira, for his contribution to medicine; former Government Minister Julius Timothy, for his contribution to politics and business; Ms Jennifer Astaphan, for her contribution to public service and Mr Cecil Peter Shillingford, for his contribution in the field of disaster management.