UWI Speak Re UWI Debriefing Visit
Repeat Visit to St. Lucia by UWI Counsellors Hailed a Success
The UWI once again responded with alacrity to the distress call by the people of St. Lucia after the passage of the December 24 weather trough which caused significant flooding, destruction and loss of life on the island. As in the aftermath of Hurricane Tomas which struck the island in 2010, the Open Campus Saint Lucia Site once again sought the assistance of Vice Chancellor E. Nigel Harris in authorizing a three-day visit to St. Lucia by a team of counsellors from sister campuses. The team comprised Dr. Linda Hadeed (team leader), Ms. Belinda Isaac-Baptiste, Dr. Heather Hollingsworth and Ms. Cheryl-Ann Boodram from St. Augustine; Dr. Dennis Edwards from Mona; and Ms. Ayodele Harper and Ms. Felicia Robinson from Cave Hill.
Working closely with the Department of Human Services in St. Lucia, the team engaged in debriefing sessions with first responders (NEMO personnel, the Fire Services Department and the Cadet Corps) and conducted community counselling sessions in the worst hit communities of Canaries and Bexon/Marc. They also held an intensive “Training of Trainers Workshop” for specialist counsellors in post-trauma counselling of adult and child victims.
Before returning to their respective campuses, the team met with Hon. Alvina Reynolds, Minister of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, who thanked The UWI profusely, on behalf of the government, for the empathy and goodwill shown to the people of St. Lucia in their time of need. She stressed the fact that psychological well-being is often overlooked as part of the response to disasters despite its centrality to the holistic recovery of the country. Head of The UWI Open Campus Saint Lucia Mrs Veronica Simon indicated that there had been “overwhelmingly positive feedback from members of the public” and that the visit had been "very instrumental in raising the profile of the UWI and its invaluable contribution to regional affairs”. She went on to thank the Vice Chancellor and the Principals of all four campuses for making the visit possible. Director of the Department of Human Services and Family Affairs in St. Lucia, Mrs. Elizabeth Lewis described the visit as “truly a rewarding experience” and expressed the desire for continued collaboration in organizing future training workshops and programmes related to post traumatic response.
Ayodele Harper (CaveHill) extreme left, Felicia Robinson (Cave Hill), Team Leader Dr. Linda Hadeed (St.Augustine) behind, Hon. Alvina Reynolds, Minister of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, Veronica Simon, Head, Open Campus Saint Lucia, Dr. Dennis Edwards (Mona), Belinda Isaac-Baptiste and Dr. Heather Hollingsworth (St.Augustine) and Elizabeth Lewis (Director of Human Services and Family Affairs, St. Lucia). In the foreground is Cheryl-Ann Boodram (St.Augustine)