“A place well known to me…” says T&T’s Prime Minister while vising Jamaica

T&T's Prime Minister “Knows Jamaica,” Cites Time at UWI

When Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, paid a recent visit to Jamaica, he noted that he spent his “formative years” at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus from 1970 to 1978 when he received his PHD in geology, as well as the Bsc and Msc degrees. Rowley said of his return to Jamaica that it was “a place well known to me and close to my heart.” He was in Jamaica to be inducted into Prime Minister’s Park, a place that honors graduates of UWI who became heads of government. During the induction ceremony, Rowley shared his surprise at his strong memories of his time in Jamaica and recalled how, when he arrived at Mona on a scholarship in 1970, without documentation, he became “a ward” of Leslie Robinson, then the Pro Vice Chancellor, and the registrar. He said he never thought he would come back to UWI as Prime Minister of T&T or to be inducted into the university’s unique park. With the addition of Rowley’s name to the honor’s roll, the total number of government heads educated at UWI totals 17, including former T&T Prime Ministers Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Patrick Manning. Rowley still claims a home in Jamaica and stated that while he made this visit in his role as Prime Minister, he also came “in my capacity as an erstwhile Jamaican coming home and meeting so many friends.” Rowley, a volcanologist and nature lover, noted his extensive knowledge of the Blue Mountain Range, which he said he probably knew better than most Jamaicans.

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Stephanie Korney