Arts & Letters
Jallim Eudovic, St Lucia
Jallim Eudovic is a sculptor from St. Lucia. His work, wood, bronze and marble sculptures, are rooted in the Saint Lucian/Caribbean culture but enjoys international appeal. He has been invited to various parts of the world, including China, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Africa, Martinique and has been entrusted with the work of creating sculptures for public spaces in several Chinese cities where he has erected seven monumental sculptures to date.
Some of his more recent works include a government-commissioned public monument for the Castries waterfront in St Lucia entitled “All In” to commemorate the island’s independence. Additionally, he has exhibited at the Afro Future Art Exhibition (Miami, 2019), the Zari Gallery (London, 2016), at Carifesta, Suriname (2013), the Stephen Lawrence Centre in London (2016), the 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel (New York, 2017) and in various group shows in France and Martinique. One of his most consistent foreign ports of call is China, where he has been invited to create public works for the cities of Zhengzhou, Changchun and Fuzhou since 2008.
Eudovic is a wholly indigenous talent. His early education comes from his father, famed St Lucian wood sculptor Joseph Eudovic and later, through his many international exploits which shaped his life’s philosophy and made him a relevant voice in the African diaspora. He is well-known through the Eastern Caribbean and beyond, though he remains in St Lucia, and draws on the indigenous knowledge of the island for his work. His “Koudmen” series, for example, portrays customs of the islands that promote a cooperative and interdependent approach to development, and existence itself.
He has been featured in numerous International publications such as Ebony (April 2015), International Kreol Magazine (August 2015), Garage and ARC (August 2014) magazines, China Sculpture Magazine, Upscale Magazine; and television programs such as PBS’s The Travel Writer, NBC’s The Voyager and has been praised by curators and historians. The Jamaican curator, Ludlow Bailey, founder of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (CADA) in Miami lauds him as “a trailblazer amongst the new breed of Caribbean artists” who is “the leading young artist in St Lucia” and an “outstanding cultural ambassador for the creative legacy of St Lucia”.
His work can also be found in some of the world’s most important collections, most notably that of famed French gallerist and curator Agnes Monplaisir Pellerin and Sarah Weir (OBE), CEO of The Design Counsil UK. His work has been commissioned as gifts for Prince Harry and Duchess Kate; Prince Charles; Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; President Of Mexico, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador; (former) President of Chile, Ms Michelle Bachelet; head of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres.
He is one of the youngest directors to serve on the board of St. Lucia’s main cultural organization The Cultural Development Foundation (CDF), which has the dual mandate of preserving and developing the island’s art and cultural heritage. He is also an executive member of St. Lucia’s Archaeological and Historic Society (AHS).
These roles have deepened his passion for St Lucia’s burgeoning creative industries, one of the tangible outcomes being the launching of his company “PAPA BOIS”, a venture which seeks to rescue the indigenous basket weavers and potters from St Lucia’s craft Mecca, the rural district of Choiseul, from economic collapse. This Eudovic plans to achieve through a series of interventions which will seek to develop these indigenous products to fit current market standards, share contemporary knowledge and strategies with indigenous artisans, package and market and distribute these products on the regional and local spaces, give artisans access to training, and ultimately increase the value of their products in order to ensure sustainability.
Eudovic’s ability to use and articulate native traditions has resulted in his being sought as a speaker at home and abroad. He gave the Up/Rising Lecture at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (St. Lucia) in February 2019, as well as a special address as the keynote speaker at the 2019 Prime Minister’s Ball. He also is frequently invited to schools, and to speak with the art teachers on the island about the importance of the teaching of their craft. He also trains many young people in sculpture at his workshop. He was a speaker and contributor to the “Art of Black” panel discussion and show in Art Basel, Miami (2016).
David Andrew Mendes, Guyana
Andrew Mendes is an entrepreneur who brings a welcome change the extractive industries (logging and oil), which are becoming more unpopular due to environmental concerns. He is the Managing Director of Farfan and Mendes Ltd (FML – a family business in Guyana). When he joined it in 1992, it was a small concern, employing less than 20 people and known mainly for selling chainsaws to the timber companies, with an annual turnover of G$78 million. Today, because of his leadership, FML has business interests in not only forestry, but also in the mining, agricultural, and oil and gas sectors, and employs more than 370 people with an annual turnover in excess of G$5 billion.
FML competes locally, regionally and internationally with the Farfan & Mendes Group now comprising Mines
Services Suriname NV and two new ventures: Jaguar Oilfield Services and Panthera Solutions. Both have been built through smart partnerships with established global companies giving FML a strong foothold in the emerging oil and gas sector. This led to Panthera Solutions Inc. being the first Guyanese company to develop the capacity and work on the newly arrived Liza Destiny FPSO within two years of its incorporation.
The company is also making a name in the world of renewable energy. In 2019 it was awarded a $25 million government contract for the supply, installation and commissioning of solar photovoltaic systems for ICT hubs, installed the first private grid connected solar system at their offices at Providence, the first hybrid solar, generator and lithium ion storage system in the country, and has installed over 5 MW of solar systems countrywide.
The company operates one of the largest drip irrigation farms in the Caribbean as part of a seed nursery to develop new corn and soy bean varieties for the worldwide market in the intermediate savannahs of Guyana, employing140 people from the local communities there, mostly women. FML Group stands out as a benchmark company for the involvement of women in the workforce with over 50% of its managers being women, and have actively looked to widen the roles they play in the business by encouraging them to enter traditionally non- typical roles in the technician and service segments, including the offshore service industry.
As well as making his own family business a success, Mendes is a passionate advocate of corporate responsibility, high-quality customer service and products, and improving standards. He played the lead role in the development of a Code of Practice for Wood Processing in Guyana to improve sawmilling practices in the country, the first such code of practice in the world. He has also led by example, with FML’s forestry arm McVantage Guyana Inc (MVG), a partnership with American timber company McVantage, creating a landmark model of sustainable forestry in the heart of Guyana’s Iwokrama Forest that leads the country in productivity and quality. In 2016, the forest operation was awarded the prestigious and highly sought-after Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation. As an example of innovation, he developed a new bandsaw blade profile and ripping chain in cooperation with Woodmizer and Stihl to suit Guyana’s particularly dense hardwoods, as well as the company being used as a prototype testing facility for both companies’ products based on their proven technical competence and knowledge.
With the support of the Centre of Local business development, 3 out of 4 companies in the group achieved ISO Certification within 20 months of starting and developed a competent workforce of 24 employees certified to work offshore in their respective trades. With a focus on growth through a focus on developing people and partnerships, innovation and a long-term view, the company has built a sustainable growth model that positioned it well to meet the challenges in entering the Oil and Gas sector successfully.
In addition to his business ventures, Mendes is also passionate about education, sharing knowledge and environmental concerns. He has co-authored a book, From Cutting to Order to Cutting for Value – a Handbook for Chainsaw Millers. He has also written several publications for the European Union and the International
Timber Trade Organisation, relating to forest-sector development and enterprise creation. He has led hundreds of seminars and field training sessions to build local capacity in Guyana’s forestry sector – most conducted pro bono. In 2018 he supported the Government’s efforts to lobby the UK Environmental Agency to open their market to all Guyanese suppliers, even though his own company already had access due to FSC Certification.
Mendes has also participated in important research, such as the UK Department for International Development/LTS study on chainsaw milling and the EU’s chainsaw milling program, as well as fieldwork carried out by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Food and Agriculture Organization, GFC, and Iwokrama.
As well as giving back to his industry, Mr Mendes gives back to wider society – supporting various causes related to youth, community and conservation. As director of the Society for Sustainable Operating Strategies, he helped set up seven cottage industries and provided peanut butter snacks for 3,500 school children in Region 9 for over 7 years. He also supports the Caiman House Field Station, which conducts community-led research on the endangered Black Caiman in Guyana’s interior, and the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club Under-15 cricket team since 1992. He is an advocate and active in addressing alcoholism, drug abuse and mental health in the society through active support of groups that focus on these issues.
Public & Civic Contributions
Dr Olivene Burke, Jamaica
Dr Olivene Burke is a social scientist who has been the Executive Director of the University of the West Indies Mona Social Service (MSS) organisation for the last decade. Dr Burke is responsible for executing the organisation’s vision of strengthening under-developed communities via a six-pillar social intervention model comprising education and training, health, sports, entrepreneurship, crime and violence reduction and peace. She is a leader in the university’s “gown meets town” initiative to make interventions in its communities.
MSS was established in 2008 and under Dr Burke’s leadership has transformed the lives and livelihoods of over 40,000 residents in sixteen Jamaican inner-city communities – including August Town in St Andrew and Salt
Spring in Montego Bay. These communities are among the most volatile in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Eight-five young people from six of the communities have received MSS’s UWI Township tertiary scholarship, and 33 have graduated thus far.
MSS’s interventions are at every level of the communities they serve: school, homes, recreation, and commerce. Through its activities, several basic and primary schools have been outfitted with refrigerators, stoves, proper ventilation and safety provisions, electrical system upgrades, and teacher training provisions. Students were provided with meals and laptop computers while kitchen gardens were initiated to provide means of self-sufficiency.
In addition to formal schooling, MSS also provides skills training to those older than school age in areas as diverse as construction, housekeeping, and database management for those who would not be caught in the formal school system. MSS also assists adults with a Small Business Lab Programme, which was established to provide opportunities for those not eligible for university.
The results have included the creation of service businesses like hairdressers, shoemakers, food service and jewellery shops in communities. MSS also understands the need for recreation and building social capital and a part of its interventions is dedicated to providing community spaces, like sporting facilities, which bring divided communities together. Especially in August Town, these facilities have been re-purposed to serve as educational facilities where lectures and other programmes are carried out.
MSS also encourages housing stock rehabilitation by encouraging UWI students to secure off-campus housing in the communities, thus beautifying communities and providing an income for home-owners. Among MSS’s greatest achievements is its collective contribution to the reduction of the murder rate in August Town to zero in 2016 (from a high of 11 in 2012). Researchers are now studying the intervention strategies to apply them to other communities in Jamaica and elsewhere.
Burke’s accomplishments are achieved through building diverse teams, fund-raising, and targeted interventions. Her initiatives are large scale and require considerable funding and personnel, and have led her to create partnerships with community and academic institutions. MSS has worked in conjunction with local institutions like the Lions’ Clubs of Mona and New Kingston, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs of Kingston and St Andrew, and foreign universities including Universities of Costa Rica and Florida State. She is also an active academic who publishes and participates in academic conferences.
Science & Technology
Dr Shirin Haque, Trinidad & Tobago
Dr Shirin Haque is an astronomer, a senior lecturer, former deputy dean and former head of the Department of Physics, at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. She is the first and only woman to head the department to date. In 2018 she also became the first woman to be awarded the prestigious CARICOM Science Award.
Dr Haque is an inspiring teacher and researcher in the cutting-edge field of astrobiology, at the UWI, which seeks to understand the complexities of life in the universe. She has pioneered work on the Pitch Lake at La Brea and the mud volcanoes in Trinidad that is recognized internationally. She was featured on BBC’s Science in Action programme in 2008 for her work in Astrobiology at the Pitch Lake. She collaborates with astrobiologists in Finland, Germany and the USA. She started an observational astronomy programme at St Augustine, in collaboration with the University of Turku in Finland, and its success has brought more international attention to UWI with contribution of data to the monitoring of a monstrous binary black hole system and the first comet lander mission. The National Science Foundation in the USA, through the National
Radio Astronomy Observatory appointed her as programme director for the development of a Caribbean hub in radio astronomy in 2018.
Her love of astronomy and passion for teaching have led to significant success in popularizing astronomy in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region through her research, public lectures, newspaper, magazine articles, short courses for the public, documentary videos and the first ever Caribbean Astronomy series on television on IeTV. She produces and is editor of the magazine The Intellectual – art, science and architecture distributed regionally and internationally.
Dr Haque is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Member of the International Astronomical Union and the American Astronomical Society. She is a founding member of the Caribbean Institute of Astronomy (CARINA). This year she was appointed National Outreach Coordinator for Trinidad with the Office of Astronomy Outreach with the International Astronomical Union (2019). She chairs the national committee coordinating the naming of an exoplanet and its host star that would be visible from the country, which would be named by the people of Trinidad and Tobago in an historic act as the first locally named celestial object.
As an educator, Dr Haque is a dynamic student-centred instructor and model, especially to young women, creating opportunities for them to do research visits at international institutes. She has introduced several new courses including in Astrobiology. She also conducts astronomy and STEM workshops for teachers regionally and provides career guidance to secondary students. She was the co-chair of the International School for Young Astronomers (ISYA) held in Trinidad in 2009, with participants from 17 countries and co-organized the first ever Caribbean regional Astronomy conference in 2017.
Dr Haque has a multidisciplinary approach to her work, having completed an MPhil degree in Psychology. She has spearheaded fundraising activities in the faculty for needy children in the community and for students in the faculty.
She has won a number of awards for her work including in 2002, the Guardian Life Teaching Award, the international distinguished teacher award from the Association of Atlantic Universities in 2004, the Rudranath Capildeo Award for Applied Science and Technology (Silver) in 2013 and in 2011 the Women in Science and Technology medal, both from NIHERST which has also named her as a science icon. She featured in “60 under 60” for UWI 60th anniversary publication highlighting 60 outstanding academics at the University of the West Indies and in “Eminent women scientists in Latin America and the Caribbean” and then was honoured again with an award for outstanding work as a woman scientist for UWI’s 70th anniversary.