Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis – In a momentous collaboration set to enhance the prospects of Saint Kitts and Nevis citizens, Southern University and A&M College (SU) is poised to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Agriculture. The official signing ceremony is scheduled for December 27, 2023, at Government House, marking a significant milestone in the partnership between SU and the Federation.
Leading up to the ceremony, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew and H.E. Hadiya Claxton, Special Envoy for Investment, Development & International Business Relations, along with other distinguished government officials, engaged in a productive breakfast meeting with the SU delegation at Park Hyatt. The delegation, headed by Mr. Myron K. Lawson, Chairman of the SU Board of Supervisors, and Mr. Dennis J. Shields, President-Chancellor, comprises key representatives from SU’s leadership including Dr. Rani Whitfield, Vice Chairman, the SU Board of Supervisors; Dr. Allen Vital, Chief of Staff; Dr. Tracey Taylor-Jarrell, Coordinator of Board Relations and SU Board of Supervisors; Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Chancellor-Dean, SU Agricultural Research and Extension Center; Dr. Renita Marshall, Vice-Chancellor for Academics, Student Services, and Associate Dean; Dr. Jose Ulises Toledo – Vice Chancellor for Research; Dr. Janana Snowden, Director of Medicinal Plant Institute; and Dr. Katara Williams, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and External Relation, highlighting the commitment of both parties to fostering meaningful collaboration.
The MOU between SU and the Ministry of Agriculture incorporates diverse facets, offering benefits to farmers and the general populace. Southern University Agriculture Research & Extension Centre (SUAREC) is set to provide valuable consultancy services to the Ministry of Agriculture, contributing to the enrichment of knowledge and skillsets among farmers in the Federation. This collaboration aims to elevate agricultural practices and empower the farming community with the latest insights and expertise in areas such as crop development, medicinal plant research (specifically concerning medicinal cannabis), and livestock farming.
In addition to consultancy services, SUAREC is committed to fostering food safety in the Federation. The center will offer certification courses in vendor food safety, specifically targeting the acquisition of food handlers permits. Remarkably, a significant portion of these certification courses will be provided free of charge to the citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Through these efforts, the Southern University Agriculture Research & Extension Centre contributes to the overall well-being and prosperity of the Federation’s agricultural sector.
As part of their itinerary, the SU delegation will be given a tour of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC), as a follow-up to the Ministry of Education MOU signing in September 2023,
engaging with Ministry of Education stakeholders, CFBC leadership, and secondary school principals. This visit aims to strengthen ties with the education sector and explore avenues for academic cooperation.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, officially signed the MOU with SU President, Mr. Dennis Shields, in September 2023 at Southern University in New Orleans. The ceremony witnessed the presence of key officials, including Minister of Agriculture Hon. Samal Duggins, Permanent Secretary Mr. Miguel Flemming, and CEO of the Marijuana Commission in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Garfield Alexander.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) boasts significant provisions such as the application of in-state tuition rates for both Undergraduate and Graduate degrees. Additionally, the acceptance of Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) credits not only streamlines the academic process but also significantly reduces both study time and overall costs for students. In a commitment to accessibility, Southern University (SU) goes further by recognizing Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects for entry, facilitating a smoother transition into higher education.
This collaboration is historic in its offering, providing the citizens and residents of Saint Kitts and Nevis with the most economical degree option within the United States. This venture marks a milestone in fostering educational opportunities and affordability, setting a precedent for future collaborations in the realm of international higher education.
Additionally, the delegation is scheduled to embark on a comprehensive tour of Bayford’s Farms in Saint Kitts and the Nevis Agricultural Farm operations. These visits are strategically designed to provide the delegation with firsthand insights into the dynamic agricultural practices and innovative initiatives underway on the islands. The tours not only serve as a platform for the delegation to witness the intricacies of local farming but also present a valuable opportunity for fostering collaboration aimed at advancing the skillsets of the agricultural workforce.
The delegation’s immersive experience extends beyond academic and agricultural engagements, encompassing a historical tour of Basseterre, a visit to Caribelle Batik, and an exploration of cultural and historical sites.
The Southern University delegates are set to actively engage in a Medical Cannabis Forum organized by Dr. Garfield Alexander. Dr. Janana Snowden, the Director of the Medicinal Plant Institute, will play a pivotal role by delivering featured remarks that comprehensively outline the myriad benefits stemming from the collaborative efforts between Southern University and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Dr. Snowden’s insights will shed light on the significance of these collaborations, particularly in the context of medicinal plant research and innovation. Her featured remarks will not only highlight the potential advancements in the field but also underscore the shared commitment to cultivating a thriving partnership between Southern University and the Federation.
An additional noteworthy facet of this collaboration is the provision of Leadership programs and certification courses, specifically designed for government employees and teachers. These programs will be made available at reduced costs, exemplifying Southern University’s dedication to fostering accessibility in higher education. This commitment extends beyond traditional academic offerings, ensuring that specialized programs and certifications crucial for professional development are economically accessible to those contributing to the public sector.
Southern University and A&M College, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), stands as a comprehensive institution offering a range of degree programs. As part of the only historically black Land Grant university system in the United States, SU remains dedicated to advancing education and fostering global partnerships.