Today, the University of the West Indies is a catalyst for educational interest, ranging from legal studies to the practical discipline of sports, coupled with hall activities which have helped to foster Pelican pride since 1948. Rightly asserted by the former Vice President of Properties and Special Initiatives, Keifa Desnoes, a university is nothing without its students and the same is true for the UWI. Since 1951, students have contributed to their administrative governance with the construct of the Guild of Students. This council has revitalized the university body by catering to the needs of its students for several years, symbolized by the annual handing-over ceremony which occurred on May 01, 2022 to honour its new and former council members.
Undoubtedly, the election period was a rather exciting time, piquing the intrigue of many who were compelled to tune into the various campaigns and take note of the objectively best-suited candidate(s). Such campaigns inspired the otherwise hidden creativity of prospects, whether it be jingles to make the mind tingle or slogans that anchored themselves to the minds of voters. But when this election-inspired excitement came to an end, the council anticipated the prestigious Handing-Over ceremony where outgoing guild members looked forward to ‘handing-over’ the metaphorical ‘robe of responsibility’ to their successor.
To briefly capture the personal journeys of the outgoing councillors, former guild Librarian and Co-Secretary, Ashleigh Onfroy, described her year as a councillor as, “one of growth and self-discovery,” specifically mentioning her desire to see longevity in the Know Your Guild and Mona Premier Quiz Competition initiatives. Fabian Dreckett, outgoing Faculty of Humanities and Education Representative also said that his tenure was “challenging but successful, it was not easy leading in a pandemic and by extension - virtually.” Nevertheless, the sentiment captured by both outgoing councillors was the hope that the incoming council would uphold the standard of the guild with rigid servitude to the UWI students. Dreckett cordially notes, “Passing on the mantle is necessary.”
Similarly, incoming councillors such as the Public Relations Officer, Martineil Bartley, who has always held an interest in student leadership, and through the knowledge and experience he garnered under various portfolios summed up his experience at the handing-over ceremony in one word - unforgettable. Incoming AZ Preston Hall Chairperson, Rasheed Whyte, also passionately emphasized his love for his hall and states that he wants to see it become the Hall that it has the potential to become. Whyte fondly noted that his experience at the ceremony was heartwarming to be robed by his predecessor.
Ultimately, the Guild of Students proves to be a vital establishment for the cohesion of campus life. As such, we honour the outgoing council members who have essentially proven their commitment, “Under the mission of one of us, advocating for all of us," as gracefully put by our former Guild President Danielle Mullings. Thus, we look forward to the tenure of the incoming council, headed by Omolora Wilson in accordance with the expected grace, professionalism and advocacy for all the UWI students.