Vincentian students are princes and princesses
February 16, 2007

Vincentian students are princes and princesses

Vincentian students pursuing their tertiary level education in Jamaica were elevated to the status of royalty recently when Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr.Ralph Gonsalves described them as his “princes and princesses” before a section of the student body of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus.

Dr. Gonsalves, one of the UWI’s revered alumni was the guest speaker at the Vice Chancellor’s Ambassador Corps Student Today Alumni Tomorrow (STAT) held at the Aston Preston Hall.{{more}}

The Prime Minister spoke at length about the achievements of his “Education Revolution” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, regional integration, the price of a political life, and clarified issues of his deep friendship with Cuba and Venezuela.

On the issue of education, Dr. Gonsalves was very philosophical. He noted that he has fewer years to live than what he would have already lived – at 60, maybe one more decade – and during that time he wants to create opportunities for all Vincentian students to attain a university education.

Dr. Gonsalves bragged that since taking office in 2001, the UWI’s Mona and Cave Hill campuses intake of Vincentian students have increased by 10 times while the figure was seven times more at the St. Augustine Campus.

“I have one hundred and ninety students in Cuba…I say ‘I have’ because every single student that is out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is my princess and prince,” Dr. Gonsalves said with great laughter, adding that besides the UWI there are opportunities for Vincentian students to study in Cuba, Venezuela, Taiwan, Mexico, and Malaysia.

“I have to prepare students for what is happening all over the world,” said Dr.Gonsalves.

Responding to an International Relations student’s question to explain his relations with Cuba and Venezuela, Dr. Gonsalves responded “I assure everyone I do not possess weapons of mass destruction.”

The prime minister further explained that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has an institutional co-operation with both countries.

“The relationship is principled,” Dr.Gonsalves posited, adding, “Cuba has never asked St.Vincent and the Grenadines to do anything or for anything”.

“We have to have a sense of history and who we are. The British are our friends, the Americans are our friends. I don’t have to be the enemy of somebody else,” Dr.Gonsalves stressed.

With regard to his relationship with Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, Dr. Gonsalves explained: “Chavez is my friend and my brother. George Bush is my friend and my Christian brother.

“I have a sense of history and where I want the society to go so I don’t get encumbered with colonial ideas,” said Dr.Gonsalves.