The assassination of President Moïse of Haiti is the latest dramatic reflection of the culture of murderous political violence that has typified the colonisation of the Caribbean, and whose legacy continues to speak to the devalued worth of black life especially in our hemisphere.
For the people of Haiti and the wider Caribbean region who have politically united for mutual survival with dignity under the banner of CARICOM, this blunt and brutal execution of the democratically elected Head of State foregrounds the historic savagery long fought against in our region’s struggle to forge a humane and sophisticated post-colonial Caribbean civilisation.
Political murder and social mayhem have long been the management tools used to maintain the misery and marginalisation of the Caribbean as it marches inexorably to the rendezvous of democracy as a freedom victory.
No country in the modern world has paid as great a human and material price as Haiti in seeking to convert its rubble of bloody imperial domination into a viable democratic nation state. In this regard, the murder of Moïse is the latest in a legacy that includes political leaders such as Walter Rodney and Maurice Bishop.
His political execution reflects but an element in the internal political gridlock many Caribbean societies face in their effort to detach from the colonial scaffold with its endemic thirst for violence, and advance to a peaceful domestic democratic idealism. The University of the West Indies is dedicated to this process and transition and mourns the lost life of President Moïse.
I recall the intellectual elegance and charismatic charm of his chairmanship of the Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Port-au-Prince in February 2018 when he made this statement:
“I am not a graduate of The University of the West Indies, but I am an academic product of it. As a student here in Haiti, I was raised on the scholarly output of the great University of the West Indies and I have an affinity for it.”
May his soul return in peace and its passage serve as a light to lead us out of this darkness.
Our prayers are with Mrs. Moïse as she continues her fight to live.
About Professor Sir Hilary Beckles
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment. Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ complete bio can be accessed here.
About The UWI
The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.
From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.
Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old). The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.
For more, visit www.uwi.edu.
(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)