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JEFF BROOMES: Prof. Barriteau has shattered the bar


JEFF BROOMES: Prof. Barriteau has shattered the bar

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It is a most hackneyed truism that history is created every day.  In most cases, it is forgettable history. 

In some cases, however, the event is bar shattering. Quite recently, and on the same day, I was presented with ample examples of both!

The day began with me taking up an agricultural fork and heading into my yard. I am sure my wife was dumbfounded.  It is unheard of for me to engage in such behaviour, although I have often been described as having a green thumb. I went to the very back among my banana trees to dig a hole. 

I made sure it was deep enough to make a good home for the plantain sucker that my friend Arthur had left for me at Drakes’ shop in Westmoreland. I did all that he had advised and was most pleased.  This was the first time that I had begun the journey for such a plant. 

History was created but, outside of my family, who cares? This was quite forgettable history!

Later that day as I sat enjoying my regular large plate of pudding (belly not steamed) and souse, I was totally captivated by the karaoke presentations of some pretty good singers.  Of course, to hear the iconic Betty West do her thing, was memorable for me. What a talented lady. I took the time to commend her before I left.

 Though very impactful and “historic” to me, that event will not be registered by many as significant history.

Later, as I was really digging into the local Bajan delicacy, things got warmer.  I was drawn to the presence of Sir Keith Hunte. I was moved when he, with his ever present smile, greeted me.  Here was a man that I have admired for years, not only recognising me, but actually greeting me.  My definition of kiddy goat heaven.

Things got even better when he actually engaged me in conversation, saying some very positive things.

He made me feel so at ease with myself and satisfied with my efforts within my profession.  I thank you, Sir. 

As he was wheeled away in his chair, I felt that I had just been rewarded with a four zero multiple of the special bajan two Sir Grantleys and an Errol Barrow.

Maybe that interaction was not bar shattering, but the memories it stirred certainly had that impact. I reminisced on his work and his service to this country and the many people that were touched as a result. 

History will record him as one who lifted the bar and improved the standards of our country.

Then, as the evening approached, the satisfactory became the significant. The campus of the University of the West Indies was a hive of activity. The proverbial marish and parish of society were there, as they should be. Some were bedecked in fancy suits and splashing evening gowns; some, including my wife, were expressing themselves in their academic robes. 

All were well turned out and in very fine form.

This was a great occasion. Dr Eudine Barriteau was being inducted as Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of our standard bearing university. This pleasant, hardworking, bright, caring and dedicated Caribbean woman had absolutely shattered all bars that laid before her, and I was overwhelmed with satisfaction. Grenada, she was born there; Barbados, she has lived here, but Caribbean we must hug, celebrate, cherish and hold her near and dear!

In the eyes of my friend from school days, Sir Hilary under whose leadership she developed, I saw great pride and I commend him.

Perofessor Barriteau, you are an honour to Ellerslie and the outstanding education this country is so capable of giving. Keep your head high knowing that you have earned what you have and as such will be well supported and respected. History, where is your bar? 

Professor Eudine Barriteau has shattered that and much more. Hallelujah!

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]

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