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The Caribbean Examiner - New CXC Headquarters - Not Just A Building


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Wednesday 14 October 2015 was a red letter day in the history of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). It was the day CXC officially opened its own home, the new CXC Headquarters. This issue commemorates the opening of the CXC Headquarters
with some of the speeches and plenty of the photographs from the big day. It also celebrates the academic achievements of the 2015 Regional Top Awardees and their momentous trip Belize to receive their prizes and chronicles their “UnBelizable” experience.

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The Caribbean Examiner - New CXC Headquarters - Not Just A Building

  1. 1. “This building is not just a building – it is more than just glass, concrete and steel. It is the architectural expression of more than 25 years of aspiration by the Council to find a home that was fit for purpose; an environment whose design was predicated on the processes of quality assurance, efficiency and productivity. Today is when a building is an annunciation of a future.” – Dr Didacus Jules. SEE ARTICLE ON PAGE 14 THE NEW CXC HEADQUARTERS
  2. 2. “CXC has added directly to the economies of the region. Over the last five years, CXC has contributed almost 24 million Barbadians dollars annually to the local economy. In terms of human resources development, for the 2015 May-June sitting, CXC has granted over 120,000 certificates for CSEC: 29,000 for CAPE: 5,200 for CCSLC and 1,202 for CVQ. However, it does not end there. CXC has provided several opportunities for practitioners in education to improve their practice in teaching, curriculum development, assessment and data analysis. CXC has changed the landscape of education in the region.” – Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch, Registrar of CXC
  3. 3. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 5 IN THIS ISSUEIN THIS ISSUE THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER is a publication of the CARIBBEAN EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL © (CXC) EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch • EDITOR: Mr Cleveland Sam LINE EDITORS: Dr Sandra Robinson, Dr Victor Simpson PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO: The Caribbean Examiner, CXC, Prince Road, Pine Plantation Road, St Michael, Barbados e: • w: • ISSN 2071-9019 ABOUT THIS ISSUE: Wednesday 14 October 2015 was a red letter day in the history of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). It was the day CXC officially opened its own home, the new CXC Headquarters. This issue commemorates the opening of the CXC Headquarters with some of the speeches and plenty of the photographs from the big day. It also celebrates the academic achievements of the 2015 Regional Top Awardees and their momentous trip Belize to receive their prizes and chronicles their “UnBelizable” experience. FOCUS: CXC HEADQUARTERS OPENING 6 Persistence in the Journey: Pursuing Excellence The Right Honourable Freundel J. Stuart, Q.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Barbados 12 A Wonderful Caribbean Moment Professor Sir Hilary Beckles Chairman of CXC and Vice Chancellor, The University of the West Indies 14 When A Building Is An Annunciation of A Future His Excellency, Dr Didacus Jules Director General, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) 19 Guests’ View Event Planner Michael Turton – FedEx Walden University, Suriname Tim Downie – RM Results Joy Adamson - Deputy Chief Education Officer, Barbados 24 Photo Gallery - Opening of Headquarters CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS 26 A Fine Example of Regionalism 32 “UnBelizable” Experience Regional Top Awardees in their own voice 42 Vote Of Thanks Brandon Judnarine CXC NEWS 44 CXC Makes first-time Appointments 46 New Features on Redesigned Website By Ayodele Pompey 48 Launch of CAPE Animation and Game Design Syllabus 50 New Syllabuses Place Emphasis on Entrepreneurship
  4. 4. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 6 MAY 2016 FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS Persistence in the Journey: PURSUING EXCELLENCE Address delivered by The Right Honourable Freundel J. Stuart, Q.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Barbados When CXC was looking for a feature speaker to deliver the key note address at the historic opening of its Headquarters, several names swirled around, but The Right Honourable Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados was an obvious choice. Prime Minister Stuart duly delivered a key note address worthy of the historic occasion. The Caribbean Examiner is pleased to share with you the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion of the Official Opening of the New Headquarters of the Caribbean Examinations Council in Barbados on 14 October, 2015 I should like to thank the Registrar for the kind invitation extended to me to deliver the feature address at this evening’s ceremony. It gives me the greatestpleasure,bothasPrimeMinisterof Barbados and as the current Chairman of CARICOM, to be with you on this occasion as you inaugurate the new Caribbean Examinations Council headquarters building, for this Council, one of the most important symbols of the independence of Commonwealth Caribbean countries. In the period between the early 60s and the early 70s, several CARICOM countries proceeded to independence. Having achieved political independence our leaders were cognizant of the fact that it was equally important to focus on creating institutions that would contribute to the economic and social development of the people of the Caribbean region. Our leaders clearly understood the trials that would come with breaking with the past, and with responding to the imperative of establishing a truly regional identity to further our goals. The first regional body to be established in 1969, the Caribbean Development Bank, was followed in 1972 by the introduction of CARIFESTA and the Council of Legal Education. It should surprise no one here today that the fourth regional body to be established in that “growing up” period for the region was the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), set up in 1972 with its inaugural meeting held in 1973. So the establishment of CXC forty three years ago predated the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas which gave birth to CARICOM in 1973. This bestows on the CXC a very special place in the history of our regional integration movement. The Caribbean Examinations Council was expected to play a pivotal role in the creation of a cadre of people equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitude and certification that would not only propel the development of the Caribbean region, but also that would make it a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. In his speech at the CXC inaugural ceremony, the late Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, then Prime Minister of Barbados, made the following observation: “This new institution forges another link in the chain of Commonwealth Caribbean integration, a chain whose links have been increasing in number and in strength over the past ten years”. It was always understood that the need to set for CXC the highest standards possible, and to pursue, without compromise, a commitment to excellence at all levels, would be key to the success of this undertaking. Since the establishment of the CXC, almost 40 regional institutions and associate institutions have been created in anumberofareasoffunctionalcooperation, from education to development funding, export development, meteorology, disaster management, media, tourism, climate change, security, public health, justice, and now, renewable energy, with the launch of the Caribbean Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Centre scheduled for October 28th. As your fourth speaker for the afternoon I will not repeat the already known facts about CXC. I should remind you though that the establishment of CXC was more than an assertion of independence. In terms of the creation of a regional identity, the mere act of securing the paraphernalia of formal Independence from the colonial powers was not enough. Far more was needed. Decolonization of our politics was one thing; decolonization of the minds of the people of the region quite another. The challenge, put aptly by the late Robert Nesta Marley, was to emancipate ourselves from mental
  5. 5. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 7 “CXC is a shining example of what our region can do, and its achievements are simply outstanding.”
  6. 6. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 8 MAY 2016 slavery for none but ourselves could free our minds. Several of us here today grew up under the old system of syllabuses and examinations, the old GCE Oxford and Cambridge exams, and later the Cambridge exams. The certificates of these examining bodies were an important featureinourassessmentofourselvesand of our abilities. The “O” and “A” level examinations with their resulting certificates were seen as our passport to a fulfilling adult life, to a career, to employment and to further education. These certificates, based on a culturally specific syllabus, were what, at that time, certified to the world and to us that we had the necessary knowledge at an acceptable level, to fulfil our promise, to build our future and to develop our countries. As a reflection of the measurement of our capacities and aptitudes, they were the key to the dreams of success which we had for our people and our small nations, whose main resource was and still is our multi-talented populations. But we had long acknowledged that there was a gap between the reality of those who set those examinations and our own. For example, an “A” level examination paper in 1970 required Caribbean students to translate the term “terrace houses” into Spanish- in a situation where very few students had travelled to the United Kingdom and knew that terrace houses meant a row of houses joined by a party wall, as that term was not then used in the Caribbean. The fact that CXC came into being so early reflects the recognition by our leaders of our capacity to impart knowledge through suitable and more relevant curricula and to manage and administer a key requirement in the area of education measurement, education itself in all of its aspects being the cornerstone of our future development. More importantly, it was a visible demonstration of our confidence and belief in ourselves, and our ability to run our own affairs. The CXC has also been a boost to our regional culture, incorporating into its syllabuses the work of writers with which the region has been blessed, writers including, of course, two Nobel laureates. The going for the CXC was not easy, and in the early days there were many negative perceptions by naysayers who doomed the institution to failure. The Council, however, persevered in the face of challenges to the recognition of its certificates from both regional and international tertiary level institutions. It had to remain relevant in the context of regional and global changes and demands in education. It had to consistently pursue excellence in all of its undertakings. FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Dr June Cuddle, a CXC resource person sharing a light moment
  7. 7. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 9 The fact that the Caribbean Examinations Council has stood the test of time, persisting in the face of myriad and sometimes daunting challenges, is testimony to the vision and resilience of our region, reflected through successive Heads of Governments, Ministers of Education, the management and staff of the Council, teaching professionals and the people themselves. Let me at this point, on behalf of the Heads of Government, in my capacity as current Chairman of the Conference, warmly congratulate the present and past Chairmen, Registrars and staff of the Council, as well as the region’s dedicated and committed teachers and other educationalists for having the stick- to-itiveness of which we continue to be the proud beneficiaries. The contribution of the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) over the years is also to be applauded. I thought it necessary today to revisit the origins of the CXC only to show the road we have travelled. The relationship that has developed between the contributing territories and CXC has proven to be generally beneficial to all. Over the past four decades the Council, through the provision of various services, has expanded its programmes far beyond those originally envisaged. M a n y h ave b e e n t h e CXC ’s achievements, reflected through the expansion of programmes and products, types and levels of certification, and the increase in and development of staff. In addition, the Council’s assessments have gained international recognition and as such can compete with examinations offered anywhere else in the world. But perhaps one of the greatest achievements has been the provision of Caribbean quality assessments and certification that can facilitate the movement of skilled and qualified people across the region, for the benefit of the various territories. As teachers, for example, moved from territory to territory correcting scripts, a greater regional togetherness was cemented. In terms of numbers the Caribbean Examinations Council has grown from a fledgling institution that assessed fifty- eight thousand, seven hundred and nine (58,709) candidates in five subject areas in 1979, when the first CXC exams took place, to an institution that now offers a wider range of subjects, I am told as many as 35, at different proficiencies to a greater number of candidates; an institution that, as a result of the increased popularity flowing from its high quality assessments, had subject entries surpassing the one The Right Honourable Freundel J. Stuart, Q.C., M.P. Shone Gibbs, President of the Barbados National Council of Parent Teacher Association Inc being escorted to the ceremony by Ms Pamela Brathwaite of CXC
  8. 8. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 10 MAY 2016 hundred thousand mark in 1997, reaching nearly 200,000 in 2014. Today, regional candidates can choose to be assessed in a range of subjects at the levels of Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE). Further, in an effort to cater to the needs of the countries in the Region, CXC now offers assessments in the form of the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) and the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA), as well as the CXC Associate Degree. An impressive achievement indeed! You would wish to be aware that the Barbados Government pays the entry fee and subject or unit fees for CSEC and CAPE subjects for each Barbados public school student – a considerable amount. Another important contribution of CXChasbeenthegenerationandprovision of data of immense benefit to schools, Ministries of Education and Governments. The analysis of data about subject entries, candidate entries and performance informs the decision-making process in schools as well as decision-making at the level of policymakers. The assessment data generated by CXC also contributes to educational planning and development across the region. This data also supports comparative analyses and helps us to make decisions which can positively impact on the delivery of instruction in schools across the region. Of course, given the increasing emphasis on evidence-based decision-making required by international lending agencies, such data is indispensable. I note also the increasing application of technology to the operations of the Council, in particular the introduction of e-marking and the new CAPE Digital Media Syllabus. This new emphasis is aimed at potential content creators, animators, web developers, graphic artists and mobile app. developers. The CXC’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts allow for real-time interaction. This evening we are gathered to celebrate the move of the Caribbean Examinations Council to a new home. As PrimeMinisterofBarbados,Iampleasedto be presiding over the official delivery of this building to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). Over the years, each of our countries in the region has been FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS Representatives of RM being escorted by Ms Pamela Brathwaite of CXC
  9. 9. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 11 required to make its contribution to the regional effort. Barbados has considered it important not only to pay its assessed contributions to the CARICOM Secretariat, but also to participate actively in the many areas of functional cooperation. In addition to the CXC, Barbados plays host to several other CARICOM agencies and associate agencies. When Barbados provides the headquarters for a CARICOM institution, it assumes payment of the rental and related charges. In 2014, Barbados paid approximately BDS$20 million in total contributions to CARICOM institutions whichincludedanamountofapproximately $6.6 million for CARICOM agencies based in Barbados, some thirteen (13) in number. Of this sum the largest amount was related to CXC which was ($1.8 million) including rent. I say that to highlight the effort that Barbados has been prepared to make in the interest of regional integration, in all areas of functional cooperation and particularly in education. When, therefore, Barbados’ commitment to CARICOM is questioned, examples like this spanking new CXC building and Barbados’ support for CXC overall must be given appropriate prominence. The human resource development of the region, in all of its aspects, is vital for all CARICOM countries. Barbados has always placed a high priority on education, because our main resource is our human capital. The Government of Barbados has remained committed to its obligations as a financial contributor to CARICOM’s institutions despite its current economic challenges. Of course, given the prevailing economic circumstances we urge the institutions to which we contribute to remember that it is necessary for us all to be prudent in terms of expenditure. CXC is a shining example of what our region can do, and its achievements are simply outstanding. Along its 43 year old journey, it has earned the reputation of being more than a mere examination body, and an assessor and provider of certification. The institution has risen to the challenge of fostering regional cooperation and integration by contributing to the development of the people of the Caribbean. The expansion and modernization of theinstitution’sHeadquartersmustalsobe highlighted since it is a signal achievement for both the Government of Barbados and the Caribbean Examinations Council. All of us will agree that this new and much improved accommodation was long overdue. I express special thanks to the members of staff of the institution for their continued commitment and dedication during the years when they were required to maintain high levels of productivity, in what may have been considered less than ideal working conditions. The students of our region, both young and old, have been the beneficiaries of your patience, your endurance and your dedication! Based on what I have observed, this newfacilitylocatedhereinthePineappears to be both spacious and comfortable. I hope that the new accommodation will inspire and motivate all of you who work here to even higher achievement, as you continue to provide quality services to the people of the Caribbean. The pursuit of excellence must continue as the institution charts a path for sustained growth throughout the twenty first century and beyond. I have no doubt that as you apply the technology of this new world, the delivery and expansion of your programmes will continue unabated. CXC must continue on its quest to improve the quality of its measurements while responding to the needs of the people of the region. In 2014, the first Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community 2015-2019 was adopted, inspired by its vision of “ a Caribbean Community that is integrated, inclusiveandresilient;drivenbyknowledge, excellence, innovation and productivity; a Community where every citizen is secure and has the opportunity to realise his or her potential with guaranteed human rights and social justice; and contributes to, and shares in, its economic, social and cultural prosperity; a Community which is a unified and competitive force in the global arena” . That Strategic Plan proposes a range of targeted interventions applied to address critical gaps over the period to meet the desired outcomes of strong economic growth and reduction in poverty and unemployment; improved quality of life; reduced environmental vulnerability; and an integrated Community with equity for all. To address the broad development objectives over the planning period to 2019 a set of integrated Strategic Priorities within the context of a Resilience Model are proposed along the broad lines of: Building Economic Resilience; Building Social Resilience; Building Environmental Resilience; Building Technological Resilience; Strengthening the CARICOM Identity and Spirit of Community; and Strengthening Community Governance. In “Strengthening of the CARICOM identity and Spirit of Community” we see the concept of the “Ideal Caribbean Person”, first articulated in 1997 and adopted by CARICOM, which has been one of the philosophical underpinnings to the thinking in the CXC as it develops its syllabuses and curricula. Annexed to the Strategic Plan is a snapshot of key achievements of the community, prominently featuring the CXC. CXC’s role in the development of the region’s human capital is indisputably at the heart of our future as a viable regional grouping of small states in a complex and dynamic world community. Today, Barbados is proud to play its part in the CARICOM journey towards excellence in all of its undertakings as exemplified by the work of the Caribbean Examinations Council. As the present Chairman of CARICOM, I once again take this opportunity to express sincere gratitude to past and present members of the Council, staff of this prestigious organizationandtheteachersoftheregion, the symbol to the world of the excellence that the group of small developing states which constitute CARICOM can achieve. May God continue to bless the CXC in all of its endeavours! The Right Honourable Freundel J. Stuart, Q.C., M.P. View the Prime Minister’s speech and the entire ceremony by using this link:
  10. 10. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 12 MAY 2016 Our honourable and distinguish Prime Minister, members of his Cabinet, excellencies, stalwarts and architects of CXC, the staff, distinguish members of the tertiary education sector, leaders of regional organizations, friends, good afternoon everyone. The Prime Minister and I were just reflecting on one of Bob Marley’s famous statements, “that whenever Caribbean people get together to have a good time, either the rain or the sound man does interfere” but we are a spiritual people and we will consider this a blessing. Blessings upon CXC and its stakeholders. ThisisawonderfulCaribbeanmoment. A wonderful moment along the way of our development. There have been many such moments over these past decades, but you will all agree that this one this afternoon is very special. It is very special because it gives us an opportunity to give thanks to the architects and the stalwarts who have worked very, very hard over these decades to establish an institution globally recognized as fine in every possible way. We have already made mention of a few of our architects and our stalwarts, but I would have to say that knowing Sir Roy as a youngster in the History Department at Mona Campus and knowing of his efforts to establish the integrity and quality of this institution, I would have to say to Sir Roy, “it is a pleasure to be with you here this afternoon”. The CXC represents for all of us here the mobilization of Caribbean resources at its best. I have been associated with this organization for some thirty years and I have seen some of the finest people from this Caribbean world dedicated to its efforts and to its performance. We do not take this lightly that Caribbean people have come together with a single purpose and of single mind to achieve excellence. This is an example of success in the building of an indigenous institution dedicated to the furtherance of our nationhood and our sovereignty, but it reflects also the self-confidence of Caribbean people, our commitment and our vision for the children as well as the adults of this region. It reflects the quality of leadership that this institution has had over these decades, not only those responsible for the functions of the board but also the managers, the executive and all workers who have made this institution one in which we are all very proud; but we must also make special reference to the commitment and dedication of our governments and in this instance the Government of Barbados. The Government of Barbados has honoured its commitment to deliver to this institution a quality headquarters, reflective of our ambitions to establish an institution that is respected beyond our shores. We give thanks therefore Prime Minister to the Government and people of Barbados for hosting us here. We A WONDERFUL CARIBBEAN MOMENT Address delivered by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles Chairman of CXC and Vice Chancellor, The University of the West Indies Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, in his first public address as Chairman of CXC describes the opening of the CXC Headquarters as “a wonderful Caribbean moment” and thanked the Government of Barbados for its generosity in providing such modern accommodation to the Council. The Caribbean Examiner presents Professor Sir Hilary Beckles’ address for your reading pleasure on the occasion of the Official Opening of the New Headquarters of the Caribbean Examinations Council in Barbados on 14 October, 2015. The CXC represents for all of us here the mobilization of Caribbean resources at its best. I have been associated with this organization for some thirty years and I have seen some of the finest people from this Caribbean world dedicated to its efforts and to its performance. FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS
  11. 11. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 13 give thanks to your Minister of Housing, who is really effectively our landlord. We give thanks Honourable Minister Dennis Kellman to you. The funding model associated with this project relied heavily upon the resources of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and in this regard, we give thanks to the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr the Honourable Esther Byer as well as Dr Justin Robinson the Chairman of the Board. This morning we discussed and approved a number of syllabuses. Some of these are in relation to contemporary discourse, such as, the health and nutrition of Caribbean people and we are happy to report that our children will now be exposed to syllabus dealing with health and nutrition in order to address this question of chronic diseases within our communities. This is a matter which is of utmost importance, reversal of this pandemic. We discussed and approved a new syllabus in Green Engineering, we revise our syllabus in Mathematics and all of this work has been done because CXC wishes to indicate to its stakeholders that it is not only involve in the preparation of content for examinations, but it is involved in finding solutions that are sustainable to some of the significant challenges facing Caribbean people. These include but are not limited to the issues of chronic diseases and the issues of an ineffective and insufficient science and technology infrastructure in our region. The reduction in the performance of our children in the computational and mathematical sciences. All of these were issues which were discussed in detail at our meeting. I was pleased as Chairman to indicate that our colleagues are all dedicated to sustaining an institution that is relevant and committed to conversations beyond the classroom. I am honoured therefore Mr Prime Ministertothankyouagain,thegovernment and all the people of Barbados who have made this facility possible. OnbehalfoftheCXC,ourstakeholders, our architects, our workers – past and present we give thanks, we give thanks. Professor Sir Hilary Beckles View Sir Hilary’s speech and the entire ceremony by using this link:
  12. 12. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 14 MAY 2016 WHEN A BUILDING IS AN ANNUNCIATION OF A FUTURE Address delivered by His Excellency, Dr Didacus Jules Director General, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Dr Didacus Jules was Registrar of CXC when the Government of Barbados committed to construct a new CXC Headquarters. It was only fitting that during the opening ceremony Dr Jules, now His Excellency Dr Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) was invited to speak. In his speech, Dr Jules said the new headquarters is much more than just a building on the occasion of the Official Opening of the New Headquarters of the Caribbean Examinations Council in Barbados on 14 October, 2015. There are historical moments when an event is more than it appears to be and when the material reality that we see and touch speaks to something deeper, something more transcendent than the immediate. We are here today to commemorate the official opening of the new CXC Headquarters. But what we celebrate today is something deeper and what this building portends is a greater challenge than we have previously imagined. This building is not just a building – it is more than just glass, concrete and steel. It is the architectural expression of more than 25 years of aspiration by the Council to find a home that was fit for purpose; an environmentwhosedesignwaspredicated on the processes of quality assurance, efficiency and productivity. Today is when a building is an annunciation of a future. On assuming office as Registrar in April 2008 my first courtesy call was to the Prime Minister of Barbados Hon. David Thompson and at that meeting I presented Prime Minister Thompson with a PowerPoint printout of the conditions of work at the Garrison Headquarters building that highlighted the lack of space, the leaking roof, the electrical hazards and other conditions inimical to the guarantee of secure, error-free and high quality examinations. PM Thompson was appalled and immediately committed his fullest support to the acceleration of the efforts that were already on the table for a new Headquarters. We remember him today for this commitment and we also acknowledge the faithful fulfilment of this promise by his successor Prime Minister Rt Hon. Freundel Stuart, the unwavering assistance of Minister of Education Hon. Ronald Jones and the steadfast support of the Leader of the Opposition Hon. Mia Mortley. This building – with the support of all sides of the Parliament of Barbados, with the input of staff across all departments of the organization, with the facilitation of public servants in Barbados – is the reality that we celebrate today. This building is not just a building – it is the embodiment of the future of educational assessment for the Caribbean: an IT intelligent, digitally enabled, efficiency streamlined and collaboration supported work space. It has been said that sometimes in seeking to shape the future organizations overlook their greatest assets which resides in their past. Theopeningofthismagnificentedifice is a massive statement of confidence by the Barbados Government that the future contribution of CXC will be as significant as its historical record of the past 43 years has been. The historical record shows This building is not just a building – it is the embodiment of the future of educational assessment for the Caribbean: an IT intelligent, digitally enabled, efficiency streamlined and collaboration supported work space. FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS
  13. 13. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 16 MAY 2016 that the Government of Barbados was committed to the idea of a Caribbean examinations construct from its inception and at every stage of the planning. Indeed the first meeting to discuss the formation of CXC held in Barbados in August 1964 and it was at this meeting that the offer by Prime Minister Rt. Hon Errol Barrow was tabled to host the CXC headquarters. What does the past tell us about the future? The story of CXC is not just the story of an education examination board. As the recently published History of CXC written by Professor Patrick Bryan attests, it is ultimately the narrative of the struggle for mental emancipation in the sphere of education. It is an important chapter in the struggle to free ourselves of the hegemonic embrace of the Empire – a struggle which unfortunately is still far from finished. The evidence of this lingering legacy is seen in the persistence of self-doubt – even in leadership circles in education across the region who still argue about the legitimacy of CXC certification. It is the chokehold of Empire that is felt in the timidity to define ourselves, despite the indisputable historical record that we have not just shaped certification that has defined us to the world but which can also contribute to the self-definition of others with whom we share a common history. The finger of the past points the future to the imperative of continuous improvement. All Caribbean organizations – whether national or regional - need to be on this journey if they are to properly serve the people of this region. We must develop a culture of intolerance to mediocrity. We must move with passion to provide service of the greatest excellence that meets and exceeds the highest standards of global competitiveness. Our people deserve no less. AsIhavedoneoncountlessoccasions, I again appeal to the Governments and to the ministries of education to rally more Dr Didacus Jules, former Registrar of CXC and his former Executive Assistant Amril Gittens are all smiles Honourable Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Barbados and Sheldine Robinson of CXC sharing a light moment FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS
  14. 14. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 17 His Excellency, Dr Didacus Jules closely with CXC in a concerted campaign tocreateacultureoflearningandcreativity in the region. CXC is well placed with its extensive records of student performance spanning almost 40 years to create an ecosystem with a tight nexus of teaching, learning and assessment to make Caribbean education world class. The new generation certification such as the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment andthenewCAPEsubjectsplaceusahead of many of the international assessment boards. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen and above all colleagues of CXC, this building is not just a building. In its green design, its fitness for purpose, its IT neural system, it is the prototype for Caribbean public service in the 21st Century. This building is not just a building. It is a hall of excellence housing the creative talent of this region; a temple that should feed the fires of innovation and a symbol of a committed partnership. This building is not just a building. In the simple elegant profile it presents on this rock of pride that is Barbados, it symbolizesthefarsightednessofthevision andtheclarityofthemission.Itisamaterial reminder of the promise of “assuring the global human resource competitiveness of the Caribbean through the provision of quality assurance in education and comprehensive certification”. And in this embodiment, it must be an impregnable vaultinwhichthesanctityandinternational currency of Caribbean certification must be safeguarded. David Allan Core said “It is not the beauty of a building you should look at, it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” We say today let us gaze with satisfaction on the architectural beauty of this building but look beyond this to see the foundation of vision, the pillars of accomplishment, the windows of opportunity that it represents. This building is not just a building! View Dr Jules’ speech and the entire ceremony by using this link: Honourable Dennis Kellman, Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development signing the guest book, while Prime Minister Freundel Stuart looks on. Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman, Rev. Canon DeVere Murrell and Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch, Registrar are in the background Dr Desmond Broomes, CXC Consultant and Justice Elneth Kentish, former High Court Judge smiling as Paul Keens Douglas entertains the audience
  15. 15. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 18 MAY 2016 G4S is the leading global integrated security company specialising in the provision of security products, services and solutions. Within the Caribbean, G4S is proud to supply security solutions to Caribbean Examinations Council and The University of theWest Indies, two of our key partners in our education portfolio. G4S Solutions for higher education combines value with the best officers, exclusivetechnology,supportservices and educational expertise. We understand that each educational institution – college or university requires a unique set of security and safety solutions. G4S specialises in developing individualised solutions for your specific organisation and campus environment, while providing the right people, budget-minded processes and state-of-the-art technology. G4S consistently delivers quality services and integrated solutions for educators and administrators. G4S expertise provides our clients with new insights and understanding about the biggestriskstoyourcompliancemandates and budgets, offering new solutions to emerging trends while showing measured improvements. G4Sisactiveinmorethan110countries and is the largest employer quoted on the London Stock Exchange with over 623,000 employees and has a secondary stock exchange listing in Copenhagen, Denmark. We specialise in outsourced business processes and facilities in sectors where security and safety risks are considered a strategic threat. WithintheCaribbean,G4Salsoprovides significant cash and electronic security solutions to commercial and residential customers. Our solutions include intruder services, fire alarms and full suite of monitoring and response services. With over 40 years of experience in the region, G4S is well poised to manage security services for a range of sectors and industries. With continuous improvement, staying ahead of technology and applying this to the region, G4S is securing the Caribbean one sector at a time. G4S Solutions Securing Higher Education FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS
  16. 16. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 19 Finer Points Consultants (FPC) was given the mandate to plan and manage the opening event for the new Caribbean ExaminationsCouncil’s(CXC®)Headquarters withaviewtoa“professionallyexecuted.The aim was to coordinate a opening ceremony that would project CXC as a successful regional institution offering world-class products and services well-coordinated opening ceremony that would project CXC as a successful regional institution offering world-class products and services.” FPC is a Public Relations and Event Planning Consultancy with proven experienceintheplanningandmanagement of various small and large events including product launches, building openings, corporate rebranding and image reveal ceremonies, ground breaking ceremonies and employee events to name a few. Recognising that an organisation like CXC should not let such an event go unnoticed, FPC identified two main objectives in order to ensure the client’s expectations were not only met but surpassed. The objective focused on 1) using the event to bring the many CXC stakeholders together and wow them, 2) to showcase the features of the new building that now housed all the departments previously located in different areas. Event Planner’s Perspective After initial meetings and based on the number of guests expected, FPC, along with its technical team, designed the event and presented a site plan utilising the car park for the opening ceremony with the new building as the backdrop. Provision was made for a large shelter tent to seat the 400 expected guests. A stage for speeches and entertainment was built to surround the CXC logo in front of the main entrance door and under separate cover mounted on a truss. Leading up to the event, FPC attended fortnightly meetings with the CXC committee to advance plans. A caterer, was selected to deliver excellent food and service for the 400 guests in addition meetings and site visits were held with our technical team - Fieldtech Staging Solutions, the police, parking marshals, lighting, décor and sound companies as well as the Barbados Defence Force whose soldiers were contracted to bear the sixteen flags for a planned precision flag raising ceremony. ItwasdecidedthatasCXCisaregional institution, the ceremony should be streamed in order to provide live coverage for those not in attendance. As a result, the services of a local production company and the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) were contracted to facilitate this requirement. The event was carried live locally on radio and TV and regionally through the various CMC TV stations. Entertainment for the event was chosen based on regional appeal. Performers included: - Natahlee Burke (performing the Caribbean version of her hit song Colours), the St. Leonard’s Boys’ Choir (one of the few all boys choirs in the region), Crystal Cummins-Beckles (a regional Queen of Calypso), Paul Keens Douglas (well known raconteur and social commentator) and Dancin’ Africa (the Junior Company of a local dance troupe that has performed throughout the region). It was most gratifying to work with the appointed team at CXC on an event of such a regional profile, from the design of the invitations to the selection of the hor d’ouvres, to the rehearsals the day before to the protocol arrangements required to facilitate the attendance of the Prime Minister and other dignitaries, this was a great experience. Finer Points Consultants takes an opportunity to wish the management and staff of CXC many happy and successful years in their new offices. “I wish to express my gratitude and pleasure at being invited to attend the ceremony to open the new CXC building and for the courtesies extended to me during the visit. Barbados has indeed provided accommodation which highlights the importance of CXC to the region.” Mrs Irene Walter, former Registrar Guests have their say on the CXC HQ opening Hosting major events is now both an art and a science, and the right event planner can be the difference between an ordinary event and an extraordinary event. Finer Points Consultants delivered the latter. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart delivering the feature address
  17. 17. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 20 MAY 2016 The opening of the Caribbean Examination Council was really a grand occasion. Top government and the business community officials were in attendance; this highlighted the importance of the facility to us as one Caribbean people. Theatmospherewasoneofexcellence. I was impressed with the Barbados Government and its role in making this dream come through for higher education for the region and financing such an elaborate and well-constructed building that house some of the most dedicated educators in the region. With the flags of thevarious territories, it reflected the flavour of one people striving for excellence. Those responsible for putting the presentation together did a great job and should be commended for their effort. Michael Turton – FedEx Opening ceremony of the new CXC Headquarters building on October 14, 2015 CXC demonstrated with an excellent opening ceremony that it is up to date with the expectation of this modern era. At arrival, from the entrance one was captivated by the splendor of the ambience at the new CXC headquarters building. The tact of the MC to connect all items on the programme, the touring of the building, catering service and network opportunities made my long trip, from Suriname to Barbados worthwhile as, representative Walden University Sr, a start-up organization specializing in accounting and financial education. Presentations were intelligent and entertaining and fun to listen too while learning much about the role of CXC in the development of Caribbean people. The Prime Minister of Barbados The Right Honourable Freundel Stuart eloquently spoke about the support of the Barbadian government to CXC in Walden University, Suriname CXC continues to expand the range of products offered and this can only benefit the region and the skills of our people. Moving from multiple locations and older buildings and bringing all employees into one new building will certainly contribution improved productivity and staff satisfaction. It was really a fine afternoon for me meeting many of my clients, friends and even competitors. The future of regional education looks bright and I hope with so many young people graduating with higher education and finding it difficult to find work, that the focus will shift from not only empowering young people to be qualified, but empowering them to think and create new job opportunities for the next generation. We should be builders of our fate. financing the new headquarters building. His message was remarkable as it shows how Barbados is a role model in supporting educational organizations to reach the best level of education in CARICOM. It was a pleasant opportunity to meet many educators from CARICOM. The opening ceremony and the reception encouraged pleasant mingling of guest and networking. Besides meeting high officials, it was also very pleasant to meet supporting staff/employees of CXC who carry out the daily duties which help CXC achieve its goals. The MC of the opening ceremony, (and Assistant Registrar) Mr Cleveland Sam tactfully connected musical presentations andentertainmenttoseriouspresentations of high government officials, while keeping the audience involved. The opening ceremony was well organized, in great splendor, with beautiful, arrangements fitting to a modern building. Each aspect of the ceremony, from transportation for overseas guests, guests arrival and seating, and the ceremony and reception, to the cute presents to guest at departure were excellent. (The present was a cute memory stick attached to a plastic card like object, with information about CXC). The opening ceremony was a good networkingopportunityfornewinstitutions like Walden University Sr, to help make CXC-programmes accessible to more students in Suriname. Ms Saskia Walden of Walden University with Honourable Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Barbados FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS
  18. 18. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 21 I had the privilege and pleasure attending the official opening of the impressive new headquarters of the Caribbean Examinations Council in St Michael on behalf of RM Results. It was obvious that a huge amount of thought had gone into the preparation for the event. The combination of the eloquence of speeches from the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, the Prime Minister of Barbados, and other distinguished speakers along with the showcasing of the cultural talent from across the CXC member states made for an extremely enjoyable and insightful afternoon. It was clear from the speeches and remarks by the distinguished guests just what a significant event the opening of the new headquarters is for educators and leaders across the region. The symbolism of an impressive new building demonstrating commitment to education, quality and achievement for the young people of the Caribbean was evident. CXC has made significant steps in recent years in modernising its Tim Downie – RM Results operations and becoming recognised as an internationally renowned organisation that embraces new technologies. The new facilities are a clear milestone in this journey. Many of the speakers referenced the effort required to gather the support and resources needed to build the new headquarters at the same time as building the capability and expertise of CXC as a provider of high quality qualifications. The way in which the speakers took the time to recognise the contribution of retired leaders and colleagues of CXC on the journey provided a very positive insight into the culture and history of the organisation. I very much enjoyed the music and dancing provided as entertainment. The talent and dedication of the artists was a delight to watch; I’ll certainly never forget some of the jokes told and I may already have claimed some of them as my own! I represented RM Results at the opening ceremony. RM Results provides the software and services that enable CXC’s markers to e-mark exams in 19 territories. RM Results is very proud of Guests have their say on the CXC HQ opening relationship with CXC and enjoy working with the CXC team. The organisation partners with the world’s leading awarding body and assessment organisations to enable e-marking for over 12m exams every year. Working with the CXC team helps RM Results to keep innovating and developing the high quality products and services that leading organisations such as CXC demand. I’d like to express my thanks to Mr Cumberbatch for extending the invitation to join him at the opening ceremony. It was arealhonourtobetherewiththeCXCfamily to mark such an important and prestigious occasion. The new building provides a suitably impressive headquarters for an impressive organisation and its opening ceremony was an important stage in the life of CXC. RM Results looks forward to working with the CXC team from its new HQ as it continues to provide the high quality qualifications that the students and teachers of the Caribbean expect and deserve. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and from the decor that greeted me, I was impressed with the transformed entrance of the CXC Headquarters.The ceremony, from National Anthemtorefreshmentswasimpressive.TheMaster of Ceremonies effectively managed the Programme filled with well executed and on-point speeches and lively and varied entertainment. I was impressed with the programme mix of speeches and entertainment. This was also the first time that I got an opportunity to witness the renowned Paul Keens-Douglas in a live performance...he did not disappoint. GOOD JOB was performed by all, inclusive of ushers, technical staff and tour guides at the end of the ceremony. View Paul Keens-Douglas performance by using this link: Paul Keens-Douglas entertaining the audience Joy Adamson Deputy Chief Education Officer, Barbados
  19. 19. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 22 MAY 2016 Align Office Systems Inc. was incorporated in September 2010 and is owned and managed by Allan Harris and ReneeHarris.Alignoffersacomprehensive range of office furniture, security and storage solutions, as well as office relocation, and retailing and servicing of safes. We supply, deliver and install to each unique requirement, tailoring to suit individual objectives and budgets. With specialised knowledge and extensive training we provide professional advice and affordable office solutions that are superior in quality and design, yet practical and durable. We have strategically aligned ourselves with reputable suppliers, impressive brands and a growing customer-base. The contract to outfit the new Caribbean Examinations Council’s Headquarters include very attractive and functional office furniture from our supplier Global Furniture Group of Canada. We introduced the Bridges series, a new desking system which allows for a collaborative team work setting for the different departments. We complimented this with the Foundations wood veneer ALIGN OFFICE SYSTEMS INC. Transforming an Empty Space into a Stylish Functional CXC Home tables, desks and storage for the executive offices and conference room. With our Bungee multi-functional tables for the main conference room, CXC can easily change from one meeting table to three separate meeting tables. Colours It is always exciting when a client moves away from the traditional colours, and explore the hundreds of options available in fabric, leather, metal, laminate and wood. SRM Architects Ltd. did an excellent job with the selection and combination of colours for CXC offices. This is especially emphasized in the 400- plus chairs provided (mesh back task chairs, sofas, polypropylene lunchroom chairs/stools and visitor chairs), which are upholstered in either white, grey, green, blue or purple. Besides furniture, we were also contracted to supply and deliver vault doors as per the architect’s specifications; these were installed by the contractor. As the marketing saying goes “a satisfied customer is a repeat customer”. We were then invited by CXC in 2015 to submit quotations for material handling Allan Harris of Align Office System Renee Harris of Align Office System The cafeteria FOCUS: OPENING OF CXC HEADQUARTERS
  20. 20. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 23 products and storage units. Further to the proposal, we supplied, delivered and installed high density mobile storage for the saving of space in limited storage areas and wire enclosures to provide extra security in critical areas. We also provided library and filing solutions such as heavy duty shelving, file carts, ladders, step stools and hand trucks. Behind the scenes Align was awarded the CXC contract in November 2013. As with any artistic unveiling, there is a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work that is undertaken before the theatrical debut. Prior to placing a specific order, numerous meetings were held with the designers at SRM. Textile samples and desk finishes were reviewed until they were confident that they had the perfect combination. Multiple checks were done to avoid errors or exclusions when placing the final order. The next stage was ensuring the furniture left the factory in Canada and arrived in Barbados in excellent condition and on schedule. The installation process requires technical skills, intense labour and a delicate touch.The installation team has been with the company from the start and has either been trained at or by Global in Canada or locally. The team not only knows the technical aspects, but also the importance of customer satisfaction, meeting deadlines, avoiding damages and personal safety. To this end, Align was able to successfully complete the installation ontimeandwithoutanypropertydamages or staff incidents. The core of our business Our customers are the core of our business. Customer satisfaction has been the key to our success. From the very beginning we made the decision to differentiate ourselves from the competition by our service.We understand that we exist only because of our customers and we strive to provide the exceptional service they not only expect but that they deserve. A customer purchasing one chair or outfitting a small office may have one or two criteria, it could be based solely on price or perhaps the price as well as the quality. With larger projects, especially dealing with architects, designers or turn-key contractors, we are assessed by a range of factors. Factors including the ability to meet product specifications, warranties, certifications, price, quality, manufacturer’s environmental policies, experience and service record. Regardless of size, Align is dedicated to ensuring that the office solutions purchased will suit the ergonomic, budget and other diverse needs of each customer. What’s new for Align Align’s major plan for 2016 is to open it’s showroom to showcase the many products we have to offer and to make Align the household name in Barbados for office furniture and security solutions. Align has also added to it’s product portfolio a selection of flooring options - including carpet and computer raised floors. Align also wants to expand it’s presence in the region. Having recently outfitted the newly constructed three- story NIS building in Grenada we believe there are more opportunities like this that we can capitalise on. Guest’s have their say on the CXC HQ opening Comfy chairs in the waiting area
  22. 22. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 25 Chrystal Cummins Beckles watch?v=5e-dLvT0w4E Natahlee Burke watch?v=-Kd4vXLFiq8 Relive the St Leonards’ Boys’ Choir performance watch?v=NzK_IdacPo0
  23. 23. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 26 MAY 2016 Once again the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is being held up as one of the symbols of regional integration. This time, the comments come from the only English-speaking country in Latin America and CARICOM’s only member in Latin America – Belize. The occasion was the official opening of the 47th meeting of Council and presentation of Regional Top Awards for outstanding performances in the May/June 2015 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations ceremony on Thursday 3 December 2015 at the Best Western Hotel, Belize City. During his delivery of the feature address at the ceremony, Honourable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Belize used the opportunity to highlight the role of CXC in the Caribbean. He Commented on some of the sterling work CXC has done since its establishment in 1972, and described CXC as “a fine example of regionalism.” The Minister said CXC is a true partner with Belize. Belize is currently working with CXC on several projects. Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman of the Caribbean Examinations Council also gave remarks at the ceremony. He lauded the regional top Honourable Patrick Faber Minister of Education, Belize CXC A Fine Example of Regionalism awardees for their accomplishments at CSEC and CAPE, and described the ceremony as a “grand moment of celebrations in the midst of challenges.” The UWI Vice Chancellor described the awardees as “extraordinary” said they represent the truth of the matter, not the negatives which we hear each day.” The CXC Chairman charged the 16 top awardees to give back to the Caribbean region regardless of where their academic pursuits take them. “It doesn’t matter where you go, it is where your heart is,” Sir Hilary stated. CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) held its 47th meeting at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Friday 4 December and the meeting of the School Committee (SEC) on Thursday 3 December 2015 under the Chairmanship of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies. Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch, Registrar of CXC in his remarks at the opening ceremony, said the regional top awards programme promotes regional integration and awareness as the awardees have the opportunity to interact with each other and students from the host country. In the case of Belize, the regional top awardees interacted with students from the Belmopan Comprehensive School where they were entertained by students and they also performed two pieces for the students. The Registrar pointed out that notwithstanding the tremendous academic accomplishments of the awardees, they were well-rounded individuals involved in several extra- curriculum activities at their schools and in their communities. Regional Top Awards During the ceremony held on the night of Thursday 3 December, students CSEC and CAPE regional top awardees pose with their plaques
  24. 24. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 27 Most Outstanding Candidate in Visual Arts, 2-Dimensional Work Saegel Bascombe Bishop Anstey High School Trinidad and Tobago Saegel’s piece was entitled “Drought” and is taken from the Painting and Mixed Media Expressive Form. The Chief Examiner said of Saegel’s work; “This is wonderfully expressed by thin, subtly applied layers of colour, combined with the other design elements such as shape, form and repetition. The final result of this creation is psychologically expressive and is an impressive achievement at this level.” Most Outstanding Candidate in Visual Arts, 3-Dimensional Work Angel Neptune Bishop Anstey High School Trinidad and Tobago Angel’s work is from the Sculpture and Ceramics Expressive Form and is entitled “Fish”. The Chief Examiner states, “This incense burner takes the form of the Japanese Koi fish. It is hollow throughout and made of thin, quite delicately manipulated clay. In the body of the fish, the clay is perforated multiple times to allow the scents of the incense to escape. Interestingly, the positioning of these perforations also create the illusion of scales; a very creative solution to a possible challenge.” from four Caribbean countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago – received awards for outstanding performances in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). Students from schools in Guyana dominated the Regional Top Awards for outstanding performances at the CSEC, while students from Trinidad and Tobago continued their dominance of awards for outstanding performances at the CAPE. However, this year, for the first time, a student from Antigua and Barbuda received the award for the Most Outstanding Candidate at CSEC. Brandon Judnarine won the award with 22 subjects in one sitting. Another first this year – a student from Guyana won the Dennis Irvine Award, the symbol of academic excellence at CAPE. In doing so, Cecil Cox, a student of Queen’s College, Guyana also became the first CSEC award to win a CAPE regional top award. He achieved acceptable grades in 14 CAPE Units. Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) CXC A Fine Example of Regionalism Dr Carol Granston, Pro Registrar of CXC presenting award to Saegel Bascombe for Most Outstanding Performer in Visual Arts 2-Dimensional workThe Mayan group performing at the awards ceremony
  25. 25. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 28 MAY 2016 Most Outstanding Candidate in Short Story Writing SHAUNTELLE EDWARDS Glenmuir High School Jamaica Shauntelle’s story is based on the following stimulus: As I step though the front door, something felt different. The usual smell of dinner was absent through and I know something had changed. Most Outstanding Candidate in Technical/Vocation Education ALIYAH RASHEED Anna Regina Secondary School Guyana Aliyah achieved Grade I in 20 subjects: Agricultural Science (DA), Biology, Chemistry, English A, English B, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, Electrical and Electronic Technology, Food and Nutrition, Home Economics Management, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Business, Social Studies, Spanish, Technical Drawing, and Physical Education and Sport. Most Outstanding Candidate in Business Education VICTORIA NAJAB Saraswati Vidya Niketan School Guyana Victoria achieved Grade I in Additional Mathematics, Agricultural Science, Biology, Caribbean History, Chemistry, Economics, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, English A, English B, Geography, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Social Studies and Spanish. Most Outstanding Candidate in Sciences SHANNON WOODROFFE Queen’s College Guyana Shannon achieved Grade I in 14 subjects: Additional Mathematics, Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, English A, English B, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, French, Geography, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics and Physics. Most Outstanding Candidate in Humanities JOSHANNA HOPKINSON Queen’s College Guyana Joshanna achieved Grade I in 18 subjects: Additional Mathematics, Caribbean History, Economics, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, English A, English B, French, Geography, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Administration, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Religious Education, Social Studies, and Spanish. Students from schools in Guyana dominated the Regional Top Awards for outstanding performances at the CSEC, while students from Trinidad and Tobago continued their dominance of awards for outstanding performances at the CAPE. CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS Mr David Leacock, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, Belize presenting award to Shauntelle Edwards for Best Short Story
  26. 26. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 29 Most Outstanding Candidate Overall BRANDON JUDNARINE St Joseph Academy Antigua and Barbuda Brandon achieved Grade I in 21 subjects and one Grade II. Brandon achieved Grade I in Additional Mathematics, Biology, Caribbean History, Chemistry, Economics, English A, English B, French, Geography, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Social Studies, Technical Drawing, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, Physical Education and Sport, Human and Social Biology, and Building Technology, and Grade II in Technical Drawing. Mr Rudolph Davis, principal of St Joseph Academy, Antigua and Barbuda, received the CSEC School of the Year Award on behalf of the school. Most Outstanding Candidate in Modern Languages VASHA MAHARAJ Naparima Girls’ High School Trinidad and Tobago Vasha achieved Grade I in eight Units all with A’s on the module grades: Caribbean Studies, Communication Studies, French Units 1 and 2, Literatures in English Units 1 and 2, and Spanish Units 1 and 2. Most Outstanding Candidate in Information and Communication Technology DIMITRI POLLARD Hillview College Trinidad and Tobago Dimitri achieved Grade I in Applied Mathematics Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Communication Studies, Computer Science Units 1 and 2, Physics Units 1 and 2 and Pure Mathematics Units 1 and 2. Most Outstanding Candidate in Mathematics YOHANCE OSBORNE Hillview College Trinidad and Tobago Yohance achieved Grade I in eight Units: Applied Mathematics Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Communication Studies, Physics Units 1 and 2, and Pure Mathematics Units 1 and 2. Most Outstanding Candidate in Technical Studies ALEX NAVARRO Fatima College Trinidad and Tobago Alex achieved Grade I in Applied Mathematics Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry Units 1 and 2, Communication Studies, Geometrical and Mechanical Engineering Drawing Units 1 and 2, Physics Units 1 and 2 and Pure Mathematics Units 1 and 2. Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) CXC A Fine Example of Regionalism Garifuna drummers performing during the awards ceremony Dr Marcia Potter, Deputy Chair of CXC presenting award to Dimitri Pollard for Most Outstanding Performance in Information and Communication Technology
  27. 27. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 30 MAY 2016 Most Outstanding Candidate in Environmental Science PUJA RAMBERRAN St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago Puraj achieved Grade I in eight Units: Biology Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Communication Studies, Environmental Science Units 1 and 2 and Geography Units 1 and 2. Most Outstanding Candidate in Business Studies SHONTA NOEL St Rose’s High School Guyana Shonta achieved Grade I in nine Units: Accounting Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Economics Units 1, Entrepreneurship Unit 2, Management of Business Units 1 and 2, and Grade II in Communication Studies and Economics Unit 2. Most Outstanding Candidate in Natural Sciences THEANA HAY St Augustine Girls’ High School Trinidad and Tobago Theanna achieved Grade I in eight Units all with A grade on the Modules. She achieved Grade I in Biology Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry Units 1 and 2, Communication Studies and Physics Units 1 and 2. Most Outstanding Candidate in Humanities (CXC/Hodder Education Award) NADIA ALI Naparima Girls’ High School Trinidad and Tobago Nadia won the Humanities award with Grade I in seven Units: Caribbean Studies, Communication Studies, History Units 1 and 2, Literatures in English Unit 1; and Sociology Units 1 and 2 and Grade II in Literatures in English Unit 2. Nadia will receive the CXC/Pearson Humanities Award sponsored by Hodder Education. CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman of CXC presenting the Hodder Education CAPE Humanities Award to Nadia Ali
  28. 28. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 31 Most Outstanding Candidate Overall in the Caribbean CECIL COX Queen’s College Guyana Cecil achieved Grade I in 13 CAPE Units: Applied Mathematics Units 1 and 2, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry Units 1 and 2, Communication Studies, Computer Science Unit 1, Digital Media Units 1 and 2, Physics Units 1 and 2 and Pure Mathematics Units 1 and 2, and Grade II in Computer Science Unit 2. Principal of Queen’s College, Guyana, Ms Jennifer Benn received the award for CAPE School of the Year on behalf of Queen’s College. Courtesy Calls While in Belize, the awardees and a delegation from CXC and the Ministry of Education paid courtesy calls on His Excellency Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize; Honourable Dean Barrow, Prime Minister; Honourable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture; and Leader of the Opposition Honourable Francis Fonseca. The awardees also visited historic Xunantunich Maya Archaeological Site, and Old Belize Museum. They also visited the Belmopan Comprehensive School where they were entertained by students of the school and contributed to the entertainment with two performances of their own – a poem written by Angel Neptune and a duet by Shauntelle Edwards and Joshanna Hopkinson. They also interacted with students from schools in Belize. CXC A Fine Example of Regionalism Honourable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education in Belize presenting award to Mr Rudolph Davis Principal of St Joseph Academy, Antigua and Barbuda for CSEC School of the Year. Regional Top Awardees posing with Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize, and Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch, Registrar, and Dr Carol Granston, Pro Registrar Honourable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education in Belize presenting award to Cecil Cox, winner of the Dennis Irvin Award for Most Outstanding Performance in CAPE. Relive the 2015 Regional Top Award ceremony by using this link: watch?v=GgJCuqwUu9I
  29. 29. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 32 MAY 2016 “UnBelizable” Experience RegionalTopAwardeesintheirownvoice CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS Top Awardees on top of the Mayan temple Xunantunich, Belize
  30. 30. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 33 DIMITRI POLLARD Hillview College Trinidad and Tobago My trip to the beautiful country of Belize is best described with only one expression, life-changing. I had not known about the regional awardees programme prior to becoming an awardee, so it came as the icing on the cake of my CAPE success and the perfect way to end my year. Not everything went perfectly, but it did flow smoothly and I felt very safe while in a completely foreign country surrounded by strangers. It also felt nice to be pampered and I would recommend someone to aspire for the award if only for the trip. The people taking care of us did a splendid job and that says something since I know I didn’t make their lives any easier while they were doing it. But that just left me less time to worry and more time to focus on my stay. I love to travel and I share the dream SHANNON WOODROFFE Queen’s College Guyana A challenging journey with an astounding and rewarding end is the most appropriate abridgement of my CSEC Regional Top Award experience, and although I continue to advance to further stages in my life, I retain it as a worthwhile, unique experience and one for which to be grateful. Already engrossed in my CAPE studies and tackling new hurdles in my education, I was informed mid-October of an even greater success in my undertaking of CSEC. Initially, I was disbelieving but I remain appreciative for having been blessed with such an opportunity. At the end of November, we finally embarked on the highly anticipated trip to Belize for the Regional Top Awards Ceremony, which itself was part of the reward for our recent successes. Being required to overnight in Miami prior to our intended destination, we were given additional time to interact before our official appointments in Belize. The honours poured in, beginning soon after our departure from Miami, being acknowledged and congratulated by our flight crew literally in mid-air. This continued upon landing, being warmly welcomed by officials who escorted us through the airport and to our hotel. Over the next few days, we were granted the privilege of meeting the Governor General, Prime Minister, Minister of Education and Leader of the Opposition of Belize. In each meeting, we were warmly welcomed and given words of encouragement and appreciation. Apart from meeting with these influential and notable people, we toured the University of Belize and were hosted by the Belmopan Comprehensive School where a special assembly was held in our honour. It was most ironic, however, that on each visit, our hosts reiterated the honour they felt by our visit, whereas it was us who were visiting their country to receive our honours for our performance and who felt most elevated by their warmth and enthusiasm. When our courtesy calls were completed, we were able to truly experience the “Beautiful Belize,” which we were repeatedly told about on our official visits. We walked through the Xunantunich archaeological site and climbed the preserved structures of the fallen Mayan civilisation where we were able to survey a portion of the Cayo District of Belize from majestic heights. Additionally, we were taken to a butterfly farm at the Chaa Creek Resort where we were entranced by the Blue Morpho butterfly, and to the Old Belize Museum where we were briefed on the rich history of Belize amidst scenes resurrecting historical landmarks. Finally, the official honour was bestowed upon us at the awards ceremony, enhanced by an enrapturing presentation of Belize’s abounding culture. A spectacular week had come to an end and we had completed the purpose of our visit to beautiful Belize on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Belize added to our lives, giving us an experience which took us to a new part of our physical world and showed us new people with new perspectives and different lives. We as regional awardees were brought together with a bond due to a common achievement and placed in a common environment from which we took heterogeneous experiences. with millions of people of traveling the world before I die, and can quite happily check off one of the places on my list now. Belize was exotic and very different, most notably the food. I have great respect for the Belizean people and the fact that they strongly support their local cuisine to the point of having no multinational fast food corporations. I think it is admirable and other countries would do well to emulate such strong support for their culture- and what a varied culture it was. My country prides itself on being a ‘melting pot’ of races and cultures but I honestly believe that we have been thoroughly bested. The Mayans and Maroons especially, were unique and interesting and it was absolutely marvellous exploring in more detail something I only ever saw in history books. In fact, on our final night there we were treated to a cultural showcase to end the actual awards ceremony and I can guarantee that I will never forget it. My only regret is that we didn’t get to sight-see or explore Belize as much as I would’ve liked, but then again, we did meet His Excellency the Governor General and the Honourable Prime Minister, so I suppose it was a fair trade. However, the truly amazing part of this trip was meeting and socializing with my fellow awardees. A few of them have become my very close friends despite the short time we’ve known each other. They were what made this trip life-changing. Meeting such brilliant people, some of whom lived right in my country, and spending time with them was priceless. They made me laugh, they made me smile, and they even made facing the Miami airport worthwhile. Most importantly, they inspired me and I would like to think that I positively impacted their experience as well. I would never have met some of them were it not for this experience and so CXC will always have my deepest gratitude. So if I got the chance to go back and experience my all-expenses-paid trip to Belize again or any other regional awardee ceremony, would I? Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! “UnBelizable” Experience: Regional Top Awardees in their own voice
  31. 31. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 34 MAY 2016 PUJA RAMBERRAN St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago As Ben Carson would say, “Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams”. Words can’t begin to describe how immensely elated I was to learn I was the CXC Regional Top Awardee for Most Outstanding Performance in Environmental Science in CAPE May/ June 2015. I had no idea that my passion for the environment and commitment to excellence would lead me to such a great accomplishment that would also fulfill my desire to experience the world in its truest form. Filled with immeasurable thrill, I was astounded to find out that the prize included a trip to Belize, a country only in my wildest dreams. Little did I know, this trip would have turned out to be the experience of a lifetime; one that would forever be embedded in my memory. Within moments of reaching the Courtyard Miami Airport-Marriott in Florida before arriving in Belize the next day, a friendly bond was formed with my fellow awardees. I had never seen them before, yet from the moment we sat for dinner and exchanged smiles, I knew if I left this trip with one memory, it would be new friends and even family. As we reached Belize, an even stronger and deeper bond grew with my ‘Trinis’ and ‘Scottish-speaking Guyanese’. Our stay in neighboring guest rooms at the Radisson Hotel allowed for late night adventures, horse-rides through Belize City, pizza dates by the guest pool and even emotional, life-changing conversations. We held an intimate connection that was “unBelizeable!”, as we would jokingly say, since we only knew each other for a short space of time, what bizarrely felt like years. Trust and admiration blossomed easily within our small group. We knew for ourselves that we found new sisters and brothers on this trip, something which, despite having with our individual families back home, was held in high regard. If it weren’t for the CXC Regional Top Awardee programme, we may not have experienced this bond that we continue to treasure back home in Trinidad and other parts of the Caribbean even after the trip. Not only was a “Belizean” family formed, we were granted the opportunity of experiencing pure Belizean political and social culture, which was truly reflected in our interactions with public dignitaries figures, school children and educational personnel as well as through our encounters with local cuisine and creative arts performances. Courtesy calls to His Excellency Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize, the Honourable Dean Barrow, Prime Minister, the Honourable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, and the Leader of Opposition allowed us to gain insight into Belize’s current political and social status, while at the same time feeling honoured for our great achievements. Visits to the Belmopan Comprehensive School and the University of Belize epitomized the country’s attempts to gain academic and holistic success for its youth, proving to us that the Caribbean continually values the role of education in development of the region. In my perspective, given the chance to visit Belize’s historical points of interest was the highlight of the trip. Trekking to the Xunantunich Mayan Archaeological Site and climbing to the top of the temples was truly breath- taking and fulfilling, satisfying my dream of reaching one of the world’s most archaic and evocative destinations. The Old Belize Museum also exemplified Belize’s mesmerizing history, a truly educational yet remarkable experience. The Regional Awards Ceremony summed up the entire trip in a nutshell. We were the shining stars of the night, being commended and awarded for our hard work, while sharing the moment with those truly important to us; our families, newly formed friends, Belizean brothers and sisters, and the CXC board without whom the trip were impossible. The continuous support and guidance every step of the way from Mr Cleveland Sam, Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch, Dr Carol Granston and Ms Carla Alvarez, along with members of the Ministry of Education in Belize, was truly appreciated. My experience in Belize will forever and undoubtedly remain one of the best moments of my life, one that unlocked a new avenue of inspiration in my journey towards further success. CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS Awardees starting the trek up the steps of the Mayan temple Xunantunich
  32. 32. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 35 JOSHANNA HOPKINSON Queen’s College Guyana “You are the 2015 Humanities CSEC Awardee!” My initial reaction was neither a scream or a shout but rather a silent prayer to God who’d been my greatest strength providing me with a realm of support in my parents, my brothers, my teachers, my friends. The moment was justly described as the climax to one of the most surreal periods of my life. Only a few weeks before, I’d been made aware that I ranked fourth in my own country’s awardees list. Now this! The next few weeks flew quickly as I rushed about trying to complete a very long checklist. Passport, check. Uniforms, check. Toothpaste, check. Excitement scaling off the roofs, check. All in preparation for even more memorable moments: a five-day excursion to Belize to celebrate the intelligence, diligence and dedication of students around the Caribbean. On 29 November 2015, I was officially Belize-bound and charged to enjoy the days ahead. The itinerary promised a blast of fun but what neither I, nor the other awardees had imagined was us singing and speaking and dancing in the mix, first off was the informal dinner which we all informally dressed up for. Because we were in Belize! Then there was the visit to the Belmopan Comprehensive School. It was this visit that allowed me to witness a sliver of the young Belizean talent: musicians and vocalists who astounded not only with their voices and skill but also with their poise. It also allowed me the privilege of singing alongside a very talented Jamaican writer, Shauntelle Edwards: Best Short Story in CSEC 2015. In addition, I was able to witness the poetic genius of the Visual Arts 2-dimensional award winner, Trinidadian artist, Angel Neptune. Then there was of course the sightseeing that brought home more “UnBelizable” Experience: Regional Top Awardees in their own voice than ever the uniqueness of Caribbean society. Belize, I noticed, was almost identical in infrastructure to my own Guyana, yet possessing and expressing a culture and diversity unlike any other I’d ever experienced. Belize offered to us awardees an opportunity to see the world from the towering structures of one of its historical sites of Maya heritage, Xunantunich. Translated: Maiden of the Rock. Again, I use the word “surreal” which seems even now insufficient to encapsulate the sheer wonder of this experience. To think we met with the Governor- General, Prime Minister, Minister of Education as well as the Leader of the Opposition of Belize, all of whom expressed their honour and their privilege to have the opportunity to meet with us. Those moments, I imagine, were a dose of what empowerment feels like. If I tried to single out the best part of the entire experience, I must say it was having the pleasure to meet so many wonderful people: the officials of the Council who toured and dined and shared in our delight; the officials of the Belizean Ministry of Education who gave us an interesting sliver of Belizean history and culture; the chaperone who not only shared in our excitement but went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our absolute comfort; the tour guides who held our hands to climb to the top of the structures at Xunanitunich; the students at Belmopan Comprehensive School who entertained us beautifully with their talent and all the other wonderful people far too numerous to mention. To my new Trinidadian friends, keep going for the highest of heights. To my new Antiguan buddy, keep making your family and your nation proud. To my new Jamaican singing partner, the world is your stage and to my very own Guyanese friends, we won’t stop, we’re giving the world all we’ve got. To the young and aspiring students after us, being a regional awardee is more than a five day trip. It’s even more than the opportunity to be granted a full scholarship to one of the prestigious campuses of the University of the West Indies. It’s long sleepless nights, heavy eyelids, prayer after prayer. It’s work. It’s dedication. It’s putting your everything into being the best you can be. And most importantly, it’s not the end of the road. It’s the beginning of a long journey to where you really want to be. Enjoy. God bless you my dear Caribbean. Mayan temple, Belize
  33. 33. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 36 MAY 2016 NADIA ALI Naparima Girls’ High School Trinidad and Tobago My name is Nadia Phoebe Ali. I am from the nation of Trinidad and Tobago and I was the most outstanding candidate in Humanities/CAPE Regional Awardee in Humanities 2015. To sum up my experience of Belize in December 2015, I would have to use some of their local dialect and say that it was simply “unBelizeable”. Ironically, I had visited Belize earlier in August, on a cruise ship with my family. However, this iconic trip gave me the opportunity to explore Belize even more and now I can say that it has a special spot in my heart. Visiting Belize gave me the opportunity to meet and make friends with some of the brightest minds in the Caribbean. It was truly a privilege to be able to spend time with them, experience Belize together and create lifelong friendships with them. The people of Belize were so welcoming and accommodating. The love and warmth that they gave us were felt throughout the trip. We had courtesy calls with the Governor General of Belize, the Prime Minister, the Education Minister and the Opposition Leader. These visits truly proved to me without a doubt that Belize is in absolutely capable hands. These distinguished persons took the time to entertain us, as well as answer our many varying questions. We were also able to visit the city of Belmopan, where we had the privilege of interacting with students from the Belmopan Comprehensive School. It was there that I realized how diverse and multitalented the people of Belize are and in particular their youth. We also had the opportunity to tour the beautiful city of Belmopan as well as the University of Belize which I must say was really quite interesting and memorable. Additionally, on our last day in Belize, we were able to visit the Xunantunich Maya Archaeological Site, an experience I will cherish forever. I am passionate about History and to be able to visit this site was life changing. I am also not one for climbing up to the top of incredibly high pyramids. However, with the assistance of my newfound friends I was able to make it and did not regret it at all, as the view was breathtaking and the photo opportunities were endless. Later that day, we were also granted the opportunity of visiting the Old Belize Museum, where we took a trip through time with the absolutely amazing display that was offered. The artefacts, sets, and other aspects of the museum provided a feeling of actually being present in the various time periods. It is something I will never forget. I am a girl who loves food and I must admit that Belize hit the nail on the head every time. I have also acquired a new love for rice and beans and fried plantain. Whether it was the food at the hotel or at a traditional Belizean restaurant, it always succeeded in being absolutely delicious. As a result, I thoroughly enjoyed the culinary experience throughout the entire trip. Belize City was our home for the week that we spent there and CXC could not have chosen a more perfect city. The classic charm, the waterfront, the people and so much more, made it so comfortable and so memorable for me. It was the perfect place for a perfect trip. Lastly, but certainly not least, was the experience of our awards ceremony. After the pomp and circumstance of collecting the awards and hearing the various speeches, the audience was treated to a delightful cultural exposition, which we were able to experience the various creole cultures of Belize. I was even able to dance with some of the local dancers, which was indeed one of the greatest highlights for me. I would like to thank CXC for granting all of us this enlightening and thoroughly wonderful experience. We truly got to see what being a part of Belize felt like and by extension what being a part of the Caribbean really feels like. In retrospect, I have a newfound appreciation for everything that CXC does for the region and I hope that they continue the tremendous job. CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS Top awardees enjoying their tour around Belize
  34. 34. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER MAY 2016 37 BRANDON JUDNARINE St Joseph Academy Antigua and Barbuda It was a typical Thursday afternoon in November when my school contacted me and informed me that I was named a CSEC Awardee for the May-June 2015 CSEC exams, by virtue of attaining 21 Grade I’s and a Grade II and that my presence was requested in Belize for the Opening of Council and Award Ceremony. Arrangements were made and I was on my way, two-three pounds heavier and saturated with a sense of achievement and anticipation. Having never travelled outside the region before, the journey to the intermediary point in Florida was daunting, but I survived. I met with a CXC representative who then accompanied me back to the hotel, where the other 16 awardees were already present. My judgement being clouded by low temperatures and anxiety, I immediately fled to my room, daring to come back down only after hours had passed. I then ventured into the lobby, where among the nasal Southern voices of the hotel workers, a cacophony that can only be described as utterly ‘Caribbean’ reached my ears, and I knew that I had found my people. The awardees seemed perfectly at home in the recesses of the hotel lobby. I was particularly impressed by a few- such as Yohance Osborne (CAPE Mathematics), Shauntelle Edwards (CSEC Short Story Writing), and Cecil Cox (CAPE Everything- seriously, this guy had a wide base of knowledge, including (but not limited to) the lyrics of ‘Down Under’ by Men at Work, which he hummed incessantly for the duration of our time in Belize). Shonta Noel (CAPE Awardee and future Minister of Finance) was the first to greet me and I felt much more at ease from then on. The following day our contingent of rogue academics departed for Belize. We drank in the experience- it was for most of us our first time in the country. Some of the Guyanese among us said that the atmosphere reminded them of home. “UnBelizable” Experience: Regional Top Awardees in their own voice The flight went smoothly, and we were shuttled into the hotel, and had a formal dinner that night where we learned much about each other. The next few days would be saturated with activity–which broadened our horizons and afforded us a deep appreciation of the culture. We met the Minister of Education, the Governor General, the Prime Minster and the leader of the Opposition. We were greeted warmly by all and congratulated heartily, and even thanked for serving as inspiration to our parents and the students that are yet to write their examinations. Belize has the best of both worlds rich cultural influence from the Caribbean and from Central America. This manifests itself in the ancient ruins, the architecture and, indeed the food. Our group put on a cumulative total of roughly 20 kg, (as per my estimate), and indeed, the plane did seem to fly marginally lower on the way back. The cuisine was excellent- dishes borrowing from Mexican culture and Caribbean culture and other types of culture so diverse that romanization and mention would do them injustice. CXC definitely took every measure to ensure that our stay was smooth, enjoyable and educational. My 16 new friends and I got along swimmingly. Our visit to Belmopan Comprehensive School and Xunantunich strengthened the bonds forged of mutual respect and companionship. Our tranquil existence would be permeated only by repeated outbursts of ‘bruh’ and (slightly) heated debates about which country was the most beautiful (Antigua, for future reference) and which country’s culture was most vibrant (also Antigua, and no, I’m not biased). On the night of the ceremony, we filed in to the plaza where the ceremony was held. A great number of parents and well-wishers were present to support the awardees (my father and Principal among them), and the event itself was conducted swimmingly, with indescribably beautiful cultural expositions on the part of the Belizean Youth and speeches by CXC officials and Belizean Ministers. I was called upon to deliver the Vote of Thanks on behalf of all the awardees, and we were treated to more cultural displays (and food). All things being considered, the trip has been the best week of my life, and it will NOT be the last time I visit Belize… or the last time I see my friends. Their determination and drive to succeed is a force of nature, and we will all rise to prominence in our own countries, and one day meet as successful persons, and above all, we will all continue to nurture the next generation… all of us, in all our different countries…to build a better Caribbean, and show the world that West Indians are a force to be reckoned with. There is much to teach the world, and the CXC has provided us with the means to express ourselves and make a difference, and for that, we thank you. PHOTO: Traditional thatch roofs in Belize
  35. 35. THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER 38 MAY 2016 YOHANCE OSBORNE Hillview College Trinidad and Tobago The day I got word that the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) selected me as the Most Outstanding Candidate in the CAPE Mathematics for 2015, I was utterly surprised. This came shortly after I had received the grand news that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago had offered me a scholarship to pursue undergraduate studies at any university of my choice in the world. Therefore, I was certainly lost for words to explain how I felt at this point. Soon, I was all set to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Belize, provided by CXC. The purpose of the one-week trip was not simply to attend an awards ceremony, but also to experience a speck of Belizean society and culture, to meet officials of the Government of Belize and to socialize with other CXC awardees. I was very excited since I had never visited Belize before. To begin, I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the courtesy calls on officials of the Government of Belize. We met His Excellency Sir Colville Young, the Governor General of Belize; the Honourable Prime Minister of Belize, Mr Dean Barrow; the Honourable Minister of Education, Mr Patrick Faber, and the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, Mr Francis Fonseca. We received words of encouragement during the courtesy calls. Recurrent themes of the speeches of these government officials included the notion of giving back to society and being grateful to all those instrumental in our academic success. They all valued Caribbean integration highly and were each very amiable. This is what stood out for me at these meetings which I felt so honoured to attend. In addition to the courtesy calls, I engaged in a number of pleasant, informal activities. One such activity involved visiting the Belmopan Comprehensive School during school assembly. The awardees were integrated into a programme held at the school called “Celebrating Intellectual Minds – Tapping into Students’ Artistic Abilities.” The programme presented a fantastic exhibition of what I believe to be a small bit of the great talent possessed by the students and teachers of the school. I was also granted the opportunity to see in action some of the wonderful talent of a few of my counterparts. Without a doubt, I won’t forget the warm, positive energy that I felt emanating from the students through their bright smiles and Belizean dynamism. Following that programme, we went on an informative campus tour of the beautiful University of Belize located in Belmopan, ending our long day by partaking in a relaxing bus-tour of the City of Belmopan. Finally, the day of the awards ceremony came. Prior to the ceremony, we visited the breath-taking Xunantunich Maya Archaeological site during the day. Words cannot describe my experience in climbing the tallest monument there. At the top you could see a boundless body of green treetops that appear to constitute a grand field. I also took advantage of the acoustics of the historical plaza to clearly communicate with a tour guide at ground level in the centre of the plaza! The vibration I felt at that site was absolutely phenomenal and it had set a good tone for the night’s awards ceremony. I truly enjoyed the ceremony because the audience comprised people of so many different nationalities and ethnicities coming together under one roof to celebrate Caribbean academic excellence. I am sincerely grateful for all that both the CXC and my parents provided me to make this trip, the many opportunities to meet great people and to witness new cultures first-hand. CXC REGIONAL TOP AWARDS University of Belize, one of the places the top awardees visited in Belmopan