Professor Norman Girvan: Exceptional Caribbean Intellectual

The Caribbean Is One Nation
                                                              Professor Norman Girvan: Exceptional Caribbean Intellectual

Professor Norman Girvan
“It perhaps, says something of the outlook of Norman Girvan, and his eclectic interests, that, born in Jamaica and living in Trinidad and Tobago, he died while receiving medical treatment in Cuba—for injuries received while hiking in the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. Further, up to the time of his accident, Prof Girvan actively campaigned for the rights of Dominican Republic citizens of Haitian descent. At his death, too, Prof Girvan was the personal representative of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Venezuela-Guyana border dispute. Until recently, he researched and taught at The University of the West Indies Graduate Institute of International Relations at St Augustine.”
For Norman Girvan, it probably didn’t much matter where in the Caribbean he lived, or died. It was simply one place, with one family, in which he was at home, anywhere…….” (Sunity Maharaj, Trinidad Express, April 12, 2014)
The passing of distinguished Professor Norman Girvan means that a progressive Caribbean light has been extinguished. However, those who are genuinely committed to the region would know that: “memories don’t leave like people do.”  We at the Mahogany Coconut Group are happy that, also, ideas and vision do not leave as people do and that is the great legacy of people such as:  Norman Girvan, Lloyd Best, Rex Nettleford and Eric Williams. They, along with others, represent the best that the Caribbean has offered its citizens and the world as intellectuals and academics.
We will not dwell on the well known and chronicled achievements of Professor Girvan ,suffice it say that he has left a body of work and ideas, that must not be allowed to suffer the same fate as others of a similar vein. We in the Caribbean region seem to spend so much time looking outside of the region, for the answers to our problems, that we simply do not know or ignore the tremendous amount of effort that real regionalists such as Girvan and the others aforementioned have put into carving a new Caribbean nation.
Unless we move swiftly to get these ideas into schools and community grassroots organizations, the region would always appear to be under served by its intellectuals. We also run the risk of grouping the progressive thinkers with the parasites who this region educates but never look back to assist with its future or problem solving.  One of the major problems with the University of the West Indies is the disconnect between the university and the masses. Too many volumes of exceptional academic offerings are never exposed to our citizens.
We therefore take this opportunity to express our profound sympathy to the family of Professor Norman Girvan and sincerely hope that his clear vision for a fully integrated Caribbean region will one day become a glorious reality. We also urge other intellectuals both in the region and the Diaspora to do their utmost to ensure that his contribution will forever be remembered and his policies, suggestions and ideas implemented.


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