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SVG to offer Walter Rodney Scholarship

SVG to offer Walter Rodney Scholarship

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The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines will from the 2005/2006 academic year, award to a deserving student a national scholarship in the area of the social sciences and the humanities to be called the Walter Rodney Scholarship.

The country’s Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement during the keynote address at the launching of a series of commemorating activities to mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney at the Queen’s College auditorium , Georgetown, Guyana on Friday evening.{{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves was one of several local and international figures from the political and academic community at the groundings.

Dr. Gonsalves said Rodney was born in a period, which fashioned the 38 years he lived. He was born in 1942 in the midst of the war arising from imperialist rivalry and in a colonial country.

Internationally, he lived through that period witnessing the constitutional decolonisation process in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia and the war in Vietnam – which taught among other things that if money were everything the Americans would not have lost the war.

Stressing that Rodney did not just die, Dr. Gonsalves said, “he was cut down in the prime of his life by assassins… while the alleged assassins may be dead, those who set the context for the assassination are still around in the region.”

Dr. Gonsalves met Rodney in January 1968, as a second-year student reading for a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics at UWI, Mona, Jamaica. Rodney, four years his senior, was his tutor from January to July in 1968, but they held a lot of discussions outside the classroom.

In October 1968 Rodney was banned from re-entering Jamaica after attending a Black writers’ conference in Toronto. On learning the news, Dr. Gonsalves immediately organised a protest march and marched the next day after 7 a.m. into Kingston. Along the way they met the Jamaican police and army.

“We were beaten and tear-gassed. Pat Rodney was pregnant with her first daughter… The response of the Jamaican state transformed me overnight from a petty bourgeois radical to someone who was determined that so long as I have the breath in my body, never to allow that kind of barbarism to continue without I being involved in the Caribbean to put a stop to it.”

Describing Rodney’s literary works as among the best in the region, he recommended the reading of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, published in 1973 along with selected writings of Fidel Castro, Eric Williams, CLR James, Michael Manley and Franz Fanon.

He noted that many persons were amazed that a man of 29 years could write so profoundly about Africa.