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Congrats, Dr. Bailey! But you’re not the first



Editor: This article is in response to that titled “Bailey earns PhD in Entomology” which was published in the Searchlight Newspaper of 30th December, 2010. I sincerely congratulate Rafique Bailey on earning a PhD degree in Entomology; but I must inform him that he is not the first Vincentian-born to do so.{{more}} I know of Dr. Eric Garraway and Dr. Jeffery Jones, and there may be others.

Dr. Eric Garraway is from Rose Hall and earned his PhD from UWI, Mona, in 1982. His thesis was “The population dynamics of bark beetles in Jamaican Forest Plantations.” Dr. Garraway has since published, internationally, 20 journal articles in the field of Entomology, and one book, “Butterflies of Jamaica.” He continues with research in Ecological Entomology, Insect Biodiversity and Taxonomy. Dr. Garraway has been a Lecturer in Zoology for many years in the Department of Life Sciences at the Mona campus. Another born-Vincentian who holds a PhD in Entomology is Jeffery Jones of Cedars. He was awarded this degree by UWI, Cave Hill Campus, in 1985, with his thesis “Aspects of population interaction of Plutella xylostella and Apanteles plutellae. Plutella xylostella is commonly called ‘the diamondback moth;’ it’s a serious pest of cabbage, and Apanteles plutellae is a parasitoid of the diamondback moth. Dr. Jones held senior positions in the Ministry of Agriculture, Barbados, and is a senior officer, International Plant Protection Convention, Secretariat, Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome.

A word of caution is for us to be very careful when making claims of ‘the first ….’As a graduate student of Entomology /Plant Pathology at Cornell University, New York, I thought that perhaps I was the only Vincentian on campus, or to attend that university. I found out that said semester that there was another Vincentian student on campus, a young lady from Barrouallie. Also, that Shelly Rodgers a former resident of Arnos Vale, had recently graduated from Cornell Law School. Nowadays there are hundreds of born-Vincentians in academia holding top positions in many fields around the world. So claims of ‘the first…..’ may be presumptive when not thoroughly investigated.

Dr. Bailey has done well. I sense, from the article, his enthusiasm whereby he wants to contribute significantly to the agricultural economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). I agree with him that there is need for more entomological studies relative to the bionomics of economically important insect pests in our crop production systems. Also, to development pest management strategies that would ensure safe foods and environmental conservation. Within our agro-ecological systems there are numerous natural enemies – entomopathogens, predators and parasitoids – which can be effectively and efficiently used in an Integrated Pest Management strategy and consequently reduce the reliance on agro-chemicals. Data for the period 2003 to 2008, show that there were 42 registered insecticides in SVG and insecticide usage averaged 116.6 Kg/ha. of cultivated crops. For the same period, imported pesticides averaged 464 647 Kg/year at an annual value of EC$ 4.8 million. Yes, Dr. Bailey, your expertise is needed in SVG and can be fully utilized once the Ministry of Agriculture has Research and Development as a priority in its agricultural developmental programmes.

Dr. Sylvester Lynch