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Dr. Gonsalves delivers address at Career Expo


by Hawkins Nanton in Jamaica 22.FEB.08

Regarded as the last true regional integrationist among Caribbean Leaders in his era, Prime Minister Dr. Hon.Ralph Gonsalves was invited by the Mona Campus, University of the West Indies, to deliver the feature address at the official opening of the 17th Annual Career Exposition.{{more}}

Arriving at the Undercroft at the Mona Campus last Thursday morning, February 13, 2008, Dr. Gonsalves was in a jovial mood, greeting university staff and students with hugs, while using the opportunity to interact with photographers. The Prime Minister also found time to give autographs.

Delivering a 30-minute address on the theme “Abandoning Boundaries: Preparing for the Global Workplace”, Dr.Gonsalves used a few minutes to joke about pursuing a career in theological ministry, after being introduced to the podium by the President of the Debating Society as Reverend Dr.Ralph Gonsalves.

“I am very pleased that he is offering me a career option of the Ministry when I leave this job. I have been advised that an Evangelical Minister or a priest is an occupation which has job security, which is the exact opposite of the occupation in which I am currently now engaged,” said the Prime Minister.

Repeating advice he often gives to Vincentian students, Dr.Gonsalves told the gathering of university students and students, drawn from various high schools across Jamaica, to always consider seriously the academic field that they will pursue, at what university they will study, the cost of their course of study and how they are going to finance the venture.

He appealed to students to consider pursuing a quality education for US$100,000 over three years, instead of an education elsewhere which would cost them US$300,000 over the same period. He also challenged the students to think about where they are going to a get piece of land to construct a home, as well as the individual they are going to marry.

“If you choose a wrong spouse you in bare trouble. You can have your Ph D, double Ph D. You can be the greatest professor, best chief executive officer of which ever company, but you don’t make the right choice with the spouse, you o.k. at work, but you when you go home is trouble. In fact, the troubles follow you to work,” said Dr.Gonsalves.

He said the exposition, which he dubbed an intellectual showcase, was not a mere academic exercise. He said it parades the educational and training offerings available to students at the University of the West Indies.

“Fundamentally, though, it highlights the process through which knowledge is produced, skills acquired and cultured minds cultivated,” said Dr.Gonsalves.

Dr. Gonsalves acknowledged that the Caribbean is an excellent locale for the production of knowledge, the acquisition of skills and the grooming of cultured minds for the globalized world.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr.Gonsalves said he cut short his trip because of the death of Londrina Edwards, wife of Director General of Finance and Planning, Maurice Edwards. He described the Edwards family as his very close friends. As a result of this, he was unable to fulfill an engagement the following night where he was to deliver an address at the Rex Nettleford Hall.

Dr. Gonsalves was able to make other appointments such as a two hour discussion on Wednesday, February 13, with Dr.Richard Bernal, Director General of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery. He disclosed that they discussed trade issues, in particular those concerning the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM countries and Europe. He also met with Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, and former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Percival J.Patterson, on some matters concerning the Caribbean Development Bank and Venezuela.

While in Jamaica, he also had a dinner with the university’s programme organizers, and June Pam Barbour, a Vincentian Lecturer at the Mona Campus.