(CNS): Organisers are promising a feast of intellectual thought...with this year’s UCCI conference. With its theme of surveying the last fifty years and mapping the next fifty, it offers an opportunity to empower an entire community as members revisit the success stories of the past while charting a course into the future, the college said this week as it promoted the conference. A diverse list of speakers includes Cayman’s own chief justice, the former prime minister of Barbados and the premier of Bermuda. “This coming together of intellectuals, policy makers and the general public should allow for an unforgettable experience,” said Conference Director Dr Livingston Smith.
“UCCI is engaged in these conference initiatives for no other reason than to stimulate and inject new ideas and to thus offer invaluable opportunities to raise national intellectual and social assets to respond in more innovative and creative ways to the needs of the island and those of the broader Caribbean,” he added.
The conference is being hosted by UCCI in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI, Mona) and the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI). 50-50 Caribbean Conference is scheduled for 21-23 March and is the third in the series of well-received annual regional conferences staged by UCCI.
The line-up of speakers includes Owen Arthur, the opposition leader and former prime minister of Barbados; Paula Cox, Bermuda’s premier; Sir Ronald Sanders, an international consultant and former senior Caribbean ambassador; Professor Orlando Patterson, historical and cultural sociologist from Harvard University; Dr. Carlyle Corbin, an international advisor on governance and multilateral diplomacy; Cayman Islands Chief Justice, Anthony Smellie; Dr Dax Basdeo, the financial services chief officer; as well as Prof. Neville Duncan, Dr Michael Witter and Dr Keith Nurse from the University of the West Indies. The former Bermuda premier, Ewart Brown, will also be chairing a panel and presenting a paper.
“It is safe to remark that it will be a long time before this level of expertise is assembled together in one room, not to mention the added bonus of being able to hear them explain and expound their positions,” said Roy Bodden, UCCI President. “As if this is not reason enough to warrant attending the conference, there are some one hundred papers to be read and discussed. The UCCI International Conference has truly grown in significance and I implore you, the public, to attend as many presentations as possible,” he added.
Bodden said the collaboration of UCCI, UWI and ICCI is precedent setting. “Together these institutions of higher learning have set as their collective objective to provide an enlightening and outstanding experience for all conference participants.”
The 50-50 Conference is a huge event representing various sectors of the community coming together to encourage awareness and education and Bodden offered his appreciation to the sponsors.
(Bermuda) Premier Paula Cox, former Premier Dr Ewart Brown and political commentator Walton Brown will be speaking at the UCCI/UWI 50-50 Caribbean Conference to be held in the Cayman Islands from March 21 – 23.
Dr. Ewart Brown will present a paper on “Is the UK-OT Relationship Based on Mutual Interests? Bermuda and the Uighurs Case Study.” The conference website lists an abstract of his presentation saying, “The United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories have a relationship meant to be based on mutual interests.
“In a rapidly changing world it is becoming clear that UK interests and those of the OTs are not always aligned. A Bermuda case study illustrates this fact today.
“The decision by Bermuda to provide refugee status to four Uighurs detained in Guantanamo Bay caused significant tension in the UK-Bermuda relationship. While the UK stressed they have responsibility for Bermuda’s external affairs, Bermuda’s position is that it has responsibility for who is able to reside in the country.
“More importantly, Bermuda’s interests have often been aligned with the United States given the island’s close economic ties with that country and it makes sense to enhance the relationship.
“Taking four detainees to assist President Obama with his plans for closure of the bases helped to strengthen those ties. The paper explores the factors leading to the decision to offer refugee status, the internal and external political fallout and the impact on Bermuda-US relations.”
Walton Brown will present a paper on “New Millennium Colonialism: How the United Kingdom Sustains the UK-OT Relationship.”
The conference website describes his paper as, "The formal position of the United Kingdom towards its overseas territories on the question of independence is neutral: the territories will remain British for as long as the people wish. In practice, the UK not only seeks to strengthen its relationship with the OTs, it is actively devolving power back to the UK.
“The British have been pursuing a multi-pronged approach to achieve this goal – through an as yet unsuccessful effort at getting the OTs de-listed from the UN list of non-self governing territories, devaluing the OTs passport, and asserting UK authority over the constitutional powers previously granted to the OTs under the claim of “contingent liability” along with the claim the line of demarcation between foreign and domestic policy has become increasingly blurred.
“There is little public discussion on these issues in the Caribbean OTs (including Bermuda) and what the public sees as the maintenance of a status quo constitutional arrangement with the UK is in fact a constantly evolving and increasingly asymmetrical relationship.
“Given that UK interests do not necessarily align with the interests of the Caribbean OTs, the latter may well find their prospects for greater autonomy and democracy constrained in the years to come.”
Premier Cox will serve as a keynote speaker at the UCCI conference, and speak on the “Bermuda Success Story.” The conference will feature a number of other speakers from around the Caribbean including Barbados Leader of the Opposition Owen Seymour Arthur, former Minister of State for External Affairs of the U.S. Virgin Islands Dr. Carlyle Corbin, Harvard Professor Orlando Patterson, Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands Anthony Smellie and more.
Conference marks 50 years since West Indies Federation
On the 50th anniversary of the collapse of the West Indies Federation, the University College of the Cayman Islands is hosting a conference to look back on the last 50 years of Caribbean societies and to look ahead to the next 50 years.
The 50-50 Conference is being held in collaboration with University of the West Indies and International College of the Cayman Islands, and will take place at the University College campus 21-23 March.
The conference features some 85 to 90 presentations by academics, thinkers and influencers from around the region and beyond. Owen Seymour Arthur, leader of the Opposition of the Barbados Government (and former prime minister), will open the conference the evening of Wednesday, 21 March, with a keynote address on the emerging place of the Caribbean in global political and economic arenas.
Other prominent speakers include former senior Caribbean Ambassador Ronald Sanders, Executive Secretary of the Council of Presidents of the General Assembly of the United Nations Carlyle Corbin, Bermuda Premier Paula Cox, Harvard University professor Orlando Patterson, Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, Cayman Islands Financial Services Chief Officer Dax Basdeo, and University of the West Indies faculty Michael Witter, Neville Duncan and Keith Nurse.
In addition to those plenary sessions, designed for all participants to attend, the conference also includes smaller break-out sessions where speakers will make 20-minute oral presentations on academic papers, followed by 15-minute discussions with audience members.
With a stated objective of fostering an environment for meaningful discussion of the divergent paths taken by Caribbean territories since the West Indies Federation dissolved, the conference encompasses presentations on a spectrum of topics, ranging from Mr. Corbin’s talk on the varying degrees of democratic autonomy among Caribbean jurisdictions, to Mrs. Cox’s speech on the “Bermuda Success Story”, to a study by medical professionals on “Water Related Recreational Fatalities in the Cayman Islands”.
Some presentations will focus on individual territories such as Cayman; for instance, International College’s Melisa Bent-Hamilton and Tony Husemann will discuss “Support for the Sustainable Management of Coral Reefs and Mangroves in the Cayman Islands by Quantifying Their Economic Value”. Other presentations focus on relationships among individual jurisdictions; for example, Mr. Patterson will speak on the topic, “What Explains Success and Failure in National Development? A Re-Examination of the Barbados-Jamaica Debate”. Other presentations take a regional view of the Caribbean; for example, University of the West Indies’ Allan S. Wright will talk on “A Model for Caribbean Tourism Demand Volatility”.
For those not familiar with the history of the West Indies Federation and ramifications of its dissolution, University of the West Indies’ graduate student O'neil Hall will make a presentation on the short-lived union of British colonies, formed by the United Kingdom in 1958 and lasting until 1962. The federation was doomed after the fall 1961 withdrawal of its largest member Jamaica, which achieved independence in 1962. Mr. Hall will focus specifically on the post-federation relationship between Jamaica and Cayman, which chose to remain a dependency of Britain while Jamaica declared independence.
Some presenters from Cayman include former Leader of Government Business Truman Bodden, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, International College’s Scott and Kathleen Cummings, Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert, Premier’s Office Chief of Staff Leonard Dilbert, former Deputy Governor Lemuel Hurlston, former Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chair Tim Ridley, former Monetary Authority board member Christopher Rose, Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams, and Chief Policy Advisor for Education Jo Wood.
The 50-50 Conference follows University College’s March 2011 Conference on Leadership, Governance and Empowerment in the Caribbean, and its March 2010 Conference on Caribbean Literature, Culture and Identity.
Members of this year’s conference planning committee include representatives from University College, International College, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies of University of the West Indies at Mona, government and the private sector. The opening reception at 5pm Wednesday is hosted by the National Building Society of Cayman.
Throughout the three-day conference, University College will also host a book fair and cultural displays. The National Archive will arrange a historical display relevant to the conference themes.