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Bailey earns PhD in Entomology

Bailey earns PhD in Entomology

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The first Vincentian-born entomologist to hold a PhD in the subject has returned to local shores from studying abroad – and he is ready to lend his expertise to the Ministry of Agriculture and local farmers.{{more}}

Georgetown resident Rafique Bailey resumed residence here in November, after completing his degree at Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan.

Bailey, who embarked upon his PhD in Entomology (the scientific study of insects) in 2006, said that although he enjoyed his time studying abroad, he is happy to be back home where he believes he can make a valuable contribution to the agricultural sector.

“I’m looking forward to being employed,” he enthused.

“My thing is to help to provide information and develop research.”

Bailey is particularly interested in environmentally-friendly methods of pest control; including the application of plant extracts, netting, bagging fruits and the introduction of natural predators to the invasive pest population.

He also spoke of a need for research to discover the periods when local pests – such as the mealy bug – exist in the highest concentration.

Bailey explained that finding out these peak times would mean that pesticides could be applied then, and not all year round – resulting in more cost-effective applications, with minimised damage to the environment.

The 37-year-old also holds a Master’s degree from Pingtung University, and gained his Bachelor’s degree at the Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela.

As Bailey recalled his time spent in Taiwan, he noted that the experience was mostly a positive one.

“It was pretty smooth. We were well taken care of!”

He said that the cultural differences were easy for him to adjust to because the Taiwanese tend to be very polite and willing to help.

He also shared that the language barrier didn’t pose any difficulties because his university teaches graduate courses in English. However, he said that he picked up enough of the language to be able to interact with people outside the university.

“I’m not very fluent, but I know enough to get around.”

Bailey did, however, acknowledge that he encountered a few challenges in regard to completing his PhD degree – particularly when conducting his research.

“I had obstacles but I tried to work around them,” Bailey said.

He was successful in publishing several research papers in international journals on the Aulacapsis yasumatsui (commonly known as the Asian Scale), an invasive pest to Taiwan.

Bailey expressed a deep gratitude to the Taiwan Technical Mission, the Taiwan IDCF and the Taiwanese Embassy for providing the scholarship to study and financial support.

He also thanked the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government – especially the Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves – for facilitating his acceptance in the course by providing letters of recommendation.

The son of Vibert and Eugena Bailey, Bailey is a former student of the St. Martin’s Secondary School and the St. Vincent Community College.

Before embarking on his studies, Bailey worked at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the St. Vincent Banana Growers Association. Whilst studying in Venezuela, he also worked at Hacienda Punta del Oro and Comapnia Bananera Los Laureles.

In his free time, Bailey indulges in table tennis, and has a keen interest in cricket. In his younger days he played on the national team (for both sports), representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines in regional competitions and activities.

He is also interested in travel and exploring new places; having travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean, the United States, the United Kingdom and Central and South America.

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