Dr. Colin Cannonier, Featured Speaker for the 2019 edition of the Prime Minister’s Independence Lecture Series.

Pursuing higher learning and engaging in sports can reap significant benefits, Dr. Colin Cannonier, Featured Speaker for the 2019 edition of the Prime Minister’s Independence Lecture Series, said Thursday at the Sir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

“What I learned while growing up in St. Kitts and Nevis is that education and sports are two important conduits that can lead to opportunities,” said Dr. Cannonier. “Education is important and should not be taken for granted. There are multiple pathways to higher learning — vocational, career or technical; college or university — or based on circumstances, taking some time to figure out what you want to do in a career before making a commitment to higher learning.”

In addressing the crowd, especially the young people in the audience, Dr. Cannonier recalled his work experience after leaving school, noting he had to work for four years before being afforded the opportunity to pursue undergraduate studies.

“I believe it was worth the sacrifice because working allowed me to further mature and become more informed in choosing a career path,” he said. “At the same time, my involvement in sports had provided me with a number of important benefits such as an inexpensive way to stay healthy, personal development, self-esteem, leadership skills and camaraderie, which developed into lifelong friendships. In addition, when opportunities present themselves, they should not be ignored or squandered.”

As an economist by nature, Dr. Cannonier said that his “rationalization and problem solving skills have” significantly improved over the years.

“As I grew up, my interests in problem solving and maximizing utility moved towards bigger issues that impact out societies,” he said, while reflecting on his work and sport experiences in St. Kitts and Nevis. “I was fortunate that my time at Central Bank [ECCB] and my participation at competitive sports had afforded me ample opportunities to travel throughout the Caribbean and other parts of the world. What became evident was the disparity in education, health and economic circumstances of people across and within the region…”

The Prime Minister’s Lecture Series is one of the highlights for the 36th Independence celebrations, and was attended by a wide cross section of society from senior government officials, including His Excellency the Governor General, Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton, to Cabinet ministers, to representatives of the diplomatic and consular corps, corporate society, and tertiary and secondary school students.