Linguist and author Dr. Rhoda Arrindell attended the international “Forum on the Future of the Caribbean” just held with the University of the West Indies (UWI) at the Hyatt Regency, Trinidad and Tobago.
“Based on the conference banner of ‘Disruptive Thinking. Bold Action. Practical Outcomes,’ there were at least six resounding themes from the very beginning,” said Dr. Arrindell, who is also a St. Martin educator and former minister of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs.
“Education, especially access to tertiary education, was put forward as critical to poverty reduction and alleviation. It was emphasized that entrepreneurship should be central to any education reform. Thirdly, citizens must be empowered, and, the State must play a central role for any economic model to be successful,” said Dr. Arrindell.
Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and The Grenadines, said at the conference that a number of the subject areas and solutions presented and discussed were already ‘known about ourselves,’ said Arrindell.
“Dr. Gonsalves said that part of the problem was a significant lack of ‘the will to do.’ He called on Caribbean people and their leaderships in all areas to ‘master ourselves.’ He noted that when we know what we have to do to advance the Caribbean, ‘laziness is an absence of virtue,‘” said Dr. Arrindell.
The other “resounding themes” that Arrindell said were prioritized toward Caribbean solutions and progress were heritage, unity, and the Caribbean recognizing, respecting, and incorporating the resources of its own variedness within the one region.
According to key speakers, “We must look to our own history and heritage to solutions to the challenges being faced today. Furthermore, Caribbean convergence is important to the growth of the individual states; and, the Caribbean must be seen as a multiplex world,” said Dr. Arrindell in an interview from Trinidad and Tobago.
Caribbean Heads of State and international thought leaders from the US, China, Thailand, Nigeria, Malta, the UK, and Chile were scheduled for the event, according to UWI organizers. The forum brought together political leaders, academia, private sector leaders, youth, civil society and policymakers to engage in a vigorous debate and discussion under the forum banner of: “Disruptive Thinking. Bold Action. Practical Outcomes.”
The Forum was organized and hosted by UWI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, in conjunction with the United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago, “and a wide range of international development partners,” according to the organizers.