Future development of Barbados lies in ’emphasis on education ‘ – Sir Hilary Beckles


By Lincoln DePradine

Consul General Sonia Marville-Carter,
Sir Hilary Beckles and High Commissioner
Reginald Farley. – Photo by Rahim

Sonia Marville-Carter arrived in Toronto late last year, just as winter was setting in, to be Barbados’ top diplomat in Toronto. She says she has been enjoying the working relationship with her colleagues in the Caribbean consular corps, as well as her interaction with members of the city’s Barbadian and Caribbean Diaspora.

“It has been wonderful,’’ Marville-Carter told The Caribbean Camera last Saturday. She was one of the guests at “Bring On The Spring Event 2019’’, a fundraiser  organized by the Barbados Canada Foundation (BCF).

Marville-Carter who worked in the editorial department  of the Barbados Nation newspaper, has a career background that includes teaching, marketing and management consultancy.

She was posted to Toronto as the new consul general, replacing Haynesley L. Benn, who returned to Barbados following last year’s general elections that were won by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

In the May 2018 polls, Mottley’s Barbados Labour Party defeated the then incumbent Democratic Labour Party of Freundel Stuart, winning all 30 seats in the House of Assembly. Mottley, an attorney by profession, is the first female Prime Minister of Barbados.

Marville-Carter said she’s impressed with the “phenomenal work’’ of Barbadian and Caribbean nationals in Toronto.

Sir Hilary with the Barbados Canada Foundation board members.

“I really think that the people here in Toronto – the Caribbean Diaspora – are working very hard for their respective countries and for the Caribbean on a whole,’’ she said.

Delivering  the keynote address at the  fundraising event was Barbados-born Sir Hilary Beckles.

Tracing the history of Barbados, Professor Beckles, vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), said that the future development of the country lies in placing continuing emphasis on education .

The BCF event was a fundraiser for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Barbados.

QEH, Barbados’ primary acute care medical facility, is an accredited teaching hospital affiliated with the UWI.

The hospital has published a list of its equipment needs as part of what QEH chief executive officer, Dr Dexter James, calls the “vision’’ of transforming Queen Elizabeth Hospital “into the best place to work, learn and receive safe and patient-centred care’’.

The proceeds from Saturday’s activity will be used to purchase Doppler Ultrasound equipment for QEH, said BCF chairman and president Hugh Graham.

High-frequency sound waves are used in Doppler Ultrasound to measure the amount of blood flow through a person’s arteries and veins, usually those that supply blood to the arms and legs. The test may help diagnose conditions such as blood clots, heart valve defects and congenital heart disease, the narrowing of an artery, and blocked and bulging arteries.

BCF, a registered charitable organization, says it plans to  make the “Bring On The Spring Event’’ an annual affair to raise money  for medical equipment and supplies for QEH and other public health facilities in Barbados.

The foundation also is involved in charitable work in Canada, with several thousands of dollars donated to the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative..

BCF also has been a supporter of Camp Jumoke and the Olive Branch of Hope and, as part of its mandate to “advance education’’ and assist students of Barbadian heritage with post-education studies, the foundation manages the “John Rollock Memorial Scholarships’ Program’’.

BCF members have disclosed that so far, “a total of 63 scholarships valued at $180,000 has been granted,’’ saying they are committed to increasing the number of scholarships “to a minimum of 12 valued at $60,000 by 2020. Eight scholarships, valued at $24,000, are being granted this year’’.