UG Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Paloma Mohamed-Martin’s track record speaks for itself. However, the sniping that has reared its ugly head must know that she is a patriot and scholar par excellence, in addition to being an innovative, responsive, caring, compassionate, people-centred leader. With her credentials, experience and achievements, she could have chosen to work anywhere, but she stayed in Guyana to contribute towards nation-building.
Concerning her leadership, one only has to look at the range of innovations at UG since she became Vice-Chancellor, and then imagine how much more could be done with adequate funding. Among these innovations are:
• Launch of the Gender Policy aimed at ensuring that all staff, students and external stakeholders, irrespective of gender, have equal rights, responsibilities, and development opportunities at the University. The creation of the Gender Policy was supported by the University’s local and international development partners – the European Union (EU), UNICEF, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Women and Gender Equality Commission (WGEC).• Collaboration between UG and Canadian organisations to build capacity in climate, land, energy, and water resources’ management.• Establishment of the International Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies.• The partnership with EON Reality, the world’s leading provider of AI-driven augmented and virtual reality solutions, to introduce cutting-edge spatial AI technology to its students and educators.• Launch of a suite of Migration Studies courses aimed at providing a framework and platform for knowledge sharing on the topic of migration. The new courses, including Foundation in Cognitive Behavioural Theory Migration, Law and Policy, and Migration and Gender and Human Resilience. Also recently launched was a master’s degree programme in Strategic Development Studies focusing primarily on competence essential for examining policies and practices of the contemporary environment.• Launch of the first Online Career Fair, “Discover Your Potential: Beyond Limitations”• The year-long Behaviour Change Campaign against violence, including gender-based.• Live online zoom classrooms to serve 18 locations countrywide.• Launch of the Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity Policy Unit.• Launch of the University of Guyana Foundation, operating under the guidance of UG’s ambitious “Blueprint 2040”, to improve overall operations.• Launch of the “Resilience against and Disruption of Gender-Based Violence” (GBV) Introductory Course for service providers, policymakers, and others who lead GBV and response approaches, including system strengthening. GBV has been a special focus of Dr. Mohamed for years as a researcher, advocate, activist, supporter of NGOs on the GBV landscape, and more.• Launch of the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage School Edition.• Launch of a Drilling Fluids Lab (MUD Lab) and specific high-tech software modelling lab.• Launch of SBM Offshore Guyana scholarship programme geared towards providing
Indigenous women with an opportunity to pursue studies in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the University of GuyanaThis list is far from exhaustive, and is indicative of high-quality leadership with a focus on fostering Guyana’s development. But Dr. Mohamed-Martin, the person, is so much more.
She is a caring, compassionate, and generous individual, as can be attested by numerous students and others, including organisations working on the social landscape. She was instrumental in crafting a blueprint for the media to appropriately cover suicide, one that seems not yet to have been utilized by the appropriate authorities. And, unlike previous VCs, she has not been wasting UG’s financial resources on overseas trips that bring in no returns.
Also, she’s internationally recognized for her work, for which she has been honoured by the Guyana Cultural Association; and, more importantly, received a SABGA Award, which is the Nobel Prize of the Caribbean.
For those who question the VC’s leadership, especially the sycophants who want to ingratiate themselves with big ones in the political world, why don’t they survey the staff and student body? For those who question the quality of education offered, why don’t they survey the students’ body and past students, especially those who migrated and can say how a UG education compares to what pertains wherever they migrated to?
When there is an issue, real or perceived, within the landscape that falls under the ambit of the political managers, the traditional practice is to engage with the specific leaders and work towards addressing the issue, rather than publicly attacking leaders, especially since such attacks are self-indictments, if true. Ironically, such leaders as their political kith and kin, the same political managers, rise to stringent defense, even when real issues arise.
In short, the implication is that ‘we protect our sons of bitches’ but smear good people for imagined weaknesses. Isn’t it time for Guyanese to rise to the defense of these good, sincere people with great track records, while making a statement that ‘this shall not be allowed!”?