This opportunity will be presented on Thursday 6th June, 2013, when a highly respected professor at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Sharon-ann Gopaul-McNicol, presents a special lecture at the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies, The Gardens, Basseterre. Dr. Gopaul is scheduled to focus her thoughts on the topic “Caribbean Politics The Ground Bottom-up Model”.
The lecture is due to commence at 7:00pm and all citizens and residents are invited to attend and participate in what is anticipated to be a very enlightening exchange.
Dr. Gopaul-McNicol’s lecture comes at a time when St. Kitts and Nevis has been widely debating its political future.
Politics in St. Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the Caribbean can be described as a science that is still in its early stages. It was not until the 1940s and 1950s that black West Indians were really given the opportunity, though limited in scope, to participate in the political affairs of their respective islands, which at the time were still colonies of European powers like England.
To some extent therefore, the political culture of the region is still an emerging one, but one that many have begun to accept as unique, in terms of the style of governance and the level of true democracy that is allowed in these states that are washed by the Caribbean Sea. Both Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, the two nations that first gained political independence from Britain in 1962, only just celebrated their 50th Anniversary of Independence. St. Kitts and Nevis will reach its 30th Anniversary milestone in September this year. This therefore tells the story of just how “immature” our states are, when it comes to nationhood.
Here in St. Kitts and Nevis, there has been much debate lately on the practice of democracy and the style of governance that is being exercised by the ruling elites of the two-island nation of only 50,000 people.
The system of government that pertains in St Kitts and Nevis is fashioned off the so called Westminster Model that is known in England, which is the European nation that once governed (ruled) many of the Caribbean islands, starting with St. Kitts in 1624.
It is now a well known historical fact that this small island of only 68 square miles became the very first West Indian territory that was controlled by both the British (1624) and French (1625), when they began their expansionist crusades across the archipelago of pristine Caribbean islands in the 17th Century.
Now, 389 years after the British came and left, St. Kitts and Nevis is struggling to define its political prospects and appears to be at the crossroads. It is hoped that Dr. McNicol’s lecture would provide some new thoughts of what is possible.
Dr. Gopaul-McNicol has been a psychology professor for 25 years at St. John’s and Howard Universities in the USA and at the University of the West Indies. She is also the author of thirteen (13) books on topics including Assessment and Culture, Working with West Indian Families, Intellectual Equity, The Bottom Up and Multisystems Models of Governing and Women and Politics.
Dr. Sharon-ann Gopaul-McNicol, an alumnus of St. Joseph Convent St. Joseph is the holder of eight O’ Levels, two A’ Levels, a Bachelors, three Masters and a doctorate by age 27
At present, Dr. Gopaul-McNicol is writing a book entitled New Caribbean Politics: A Ground / Bottom up Model of Governing. This speaks to a New Political Dispensation which will finally bring about political decolonization and true psychological independence for the people of the Caribbean.
Since returning to Trinidad and Tobago almost eleven years ago, she has served as a Member of Parliament / Senator and an Adviser to various Cabinet Ministers and the Director of the Secretariat for the Implementation of Spanish where she spearheaded the Cabinet appointed Spanish as the First Foreign Language (SAFFL) initiative.
Dr. Gopaul-McNicol was a Deputy Political Leader of the Congress of the People and serves as a Director for three international NGOs, the St. Joseph Community for Social Development(STJCSD), Multicultural Educational and Psychological Services (MEPS), and Youths Organized United to Help Trinidad and Tobago (YOUTH T&T) where she has worked for the past twenty five years to provide all sorts of services to communities – social, psychological, educational, family, vocational, food, legal, medical and economic.
She was instrumental in forming the URP (Welfare) to PEP (Permanently Employed Persons) programme and was able in the first 18 months to get 27 families off from URP who now own their own small businesses.