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school feeding

Caribbean countries meet to create pathways to food and nutrition education

BRASILIA, Brazil, Oct 3, CMC – Delegates from several Caribbean countries are meeting here this week to discuss a new vision for school feeding programmes that is being promoted through regional and national interventions based on the fundamental elements of education for sustainability and the production of food for schools.

The interventions aim at strengthening the process of how policies for food and nutritional education in schools are institutionalized in 17 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

school feedingThe International Congress of School Feeding Programmes, being held from October 3-5, brings together nutrition and education experts from Brazil, Latin American and Caribbean countries to discuss and disseminate good practices, as well as provide the necessary inputs for building of knowledge of content, methodologies and didactic-pedagogical procedures necessary for the development of qualitative actions of food and nutritional education in schools.

The Congress will focus on three main areas and is expected to generate the opportunity to meet and discuss different perspectives and approaches of the main theme “Food and Nutrition Education”.

The organisers said that discussions will be held through lectures, workshops and exhibitions on topics such as the development of food and nutrition Education concepts, methodologies, best practices, and policies for school feeding programmes, as well as national developments and their impact on School Feeding Policies.

At least 17 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean including Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada are attending the talks being held within the framework of a regional project entitled “Strengthening School Feeding Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Since 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Brazilian Government, represented by the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE / MEC) and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC / MRE), under the International Cooperation Programme, have been carrying out this regional project.

It is part of the agenda of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) with the aim of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 on eradicating hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition.

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Prime Minister meets nationals living in Anguilla

St Kitts Nevis to accommodate CXC students from hurricane affected countries

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Sep. 14, CMC – The government of St. Kitts Nevis has offered to accommodate secondary school students from islands that were severely affected by the passage Hurricane Irma, and who are registered to sit Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams.

The Dr. Timonty Harris led administration has offered to temporary accommodation in response to  the needs of those affected countries, as they seek to rebuild and return to a state of normalcy.

Prime Minister meets nationals living in Anguilla
Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris meets
nationals living in Anguilla

Harris was part of an OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) Monetary Council delegation that visited the storm-affected island of Anguilla on Wednesday where he met with over 100 St. Kitts and Nevis nationals  and identified focal points of assistance.

One area of concern identified during that consultation was the consideration for students of those affected countries, particularly those who are registered to sit CXC exams.

As a result, Harris announced that accommodations are being made for displaced students in Anguilla, St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands who are registered for upcoming CXC exams.

“These persons will be offered free enrollment in our schools until their own high schools are ready to accommodate them. We have prioritized those who are about to write the CXC exam…because the only high school in Anguilla has been significantly damaged – maybe 90 percent of it. The Government of Anguilla has said that they would be ready for October. That is as it is a prediction, an expectation, but the parents and guardians are concerned that they may have a long time and they are rightly concerned if they think that their students will be disadvantaged from a long closure of the high school,” said Harris during a press conference on Thursday.

In addition, the Government has made its hospitals available to residents of neighbouring islands should the need for health services be required.

St. Kitts and Nevis has also offered the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport as a staging platform for relief efforts to St. Barths, St. Eustatius, French St. Martin, Saba and Dutch St. Maarten, and has also provided diplomatic clearance for foreign vessels that could not safely get into the waters of French St. Martin.

The Prime Minister also revealed that the federation has provided entry to 251 persons, who were processed at the sea ports.

“Of this number, 81 persons held U.S. passports, 42 of them held St. Kitts and Nevis passports – so those were our nationals coming back home – 42 held French passports, 36 held passports from the Netherlands, 15 held passports from India, 7 held passports from Guyana, 1 held passport from Trinidad and Tobago, 4 held passports from Taiwan, 7 held passports from Ireland and 2 held passports from Russia. All passengers were processed by Immigration Officers, Customs and Excise Officers, health officials were on hand including Veterinary Officers, and officers of the K-9 Unit were also on hand,”  Harris stated, adding, “Immigration officers have reported that all these passengers had adequate documentation.”

He also said that the government is prepared to assist in the restoration of electricity supply to Anguilla and to any other island that requests such assistance.

“In our moment of great need, when persons here were becoming impatient after a hurricane…when electricity had gone out as a result of fallen pole lines and poles etc., it was the good Government of St. Lucia that volunteered – they didn’t let us come to ask – it volunteered the services of several persons to assist in the restoration of our electricity supply. We are grateful for the assistance of the Government of St. Lucia. We want to return the favour to other countries similarly displaced, as we were the recipient of the good graces of another country,” the prime minister said.

He stressed that these outreach efforts being made available by the St. Kitts and Nevis Government are manageable and “will make a significant difference in the efforts to restore those countries now impacted to a state of normalcy.”

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Poverty on the rise in Barbados – survey

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sep. 14, CMC  – A new study has found that poverty is on the rise in Barbados with  17.5 percent of the population living in poverty, up from 15.1 percent in 2010.

The findings of the Barbados Survey of Living Conditions 2016-2017, were officially released on Wednesday.

povertyThe survey was carried out among 7,100 Barbadians from 2,500 households in 11 parishes.

However the study found that the number of Barbadians living in extreme poverty has fallen by almost half from 6.8 percent in 2010 – when the last survey was conducted to 3.6 per cent in 2016, while those living in non-extreme poverty more than tripled from 3.8 percent to 13.8 percent.

The survey, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and undertaken in collaboration with the Barbados Statistical Service between February 2016 and January 2017, also showed that Barbadians were generally more vulnerable to poverty, as that category of persons increased from 10.4 per cent to 11 per cent.

IDB Project Leader Diether Beuermann Mendoza  who presented the findings during a Skype presentation said that a significant gender gap also exists.

He said  not only do women head 57 percent of households in Barbados, they also account for a significant percentage of the island’s poor when compared to men.

The study also revealed that the rich households have smaller families and a link was made between poverty and low-quality dwellings, such as those without flush toilets, running water and electricity.


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Arthritis in knees is a preventable disease, scientists discover

Arthritis in knees is a preventable disease, scientists discover

Kate Wright

Arthritis in the knees is a preventable disease rather than an inevitable consequence of wear and ageing, a study has concluded.

The condition is twice as common today as it was before the Second World War, according to researchers who put the increase down to lifestyle changes such as diet or footwear, as well as people getting fatter and living longer.

Osteoarthritis is a painful disease of the joints, affecting 8.8 million people in Britain aged above 45. More than 18 per cent of this group have the disorder in their knees. Yet scientists who studied more than 2,500 skeletons, from prehistoric hunter-gatherers to the present, discovered that rates of osteoarthritis had surged over the past few decades after centuries of stability.

Daniel Lieberman, professor of biological sciences at Harvard University and a senior author of the paper, said that many cases could be averted if doctors could determine what had driven the change over the past 70 years. The researchers are investigating whether factors such as physical inactivity, diets loaded with refined sugars, the shoes we wear and even the hardness of pavements could lie behind the increase.

“Knee osteoarthritis is not a necessary consequence of old age,” Professor Lieberman said. “We should think of this as a partly preventable disease. Wouldn’t it be great if people could live to be 60, 70 or 80 and never get knee osteoarthritis in the first place? Right now, our society is barely focusing on prevention . . . so we need to redirect more interest toward preventing this and other so-called diseases of ageing.”

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage protecting the ends of bones gets rougher and thinner, leading to changes in the joint tissues. Eventually, if the cartilage wears so thin that it no longer covers the ends of the bones, they rub against each other, heightening pain, changing the shape of the joint and shifting the bones out of position. Three quarters of those with osteoarthritis say that they are in constant pain. Treatment is generally limited to painkillers or steroid injections into the joint. For severe cases, the only further option is an artificial joint. In 2015 people with the condition accounted for 98 per cent of patients having a first knee replacement.

Ian Wallace, the study’s lead author, visited collections of human remains across the United States to look for the glass-like polish that the condition leaves on the thigh and shin bones over years of rubbing against each other. Rates of knee osteoarthritis among the over-50s appear hardly to have changed between the native Americans 3,000 years ago and the inhabitants of Ohio and Missouri in the first half of the 20th century. After the war, however, they more than doubled. The trend, set out in the journal PNAS, remained even after the researchers corrected for age and body-mass index.

“There are probably a lot of contributing factors,” Dr Wallace said, “but . . . two conspicuous ones are physical inactivity and the abundance of proinflammatory foods in our diet — especially really sugary things.”

Philip Conaghan, professor of musculoskeletal medicine and a spokesman for the charity Arthritis Research UK, welcomed the study. “The more we know about what causes it, the closer we will be to finding more effective treatments and even a cure,” he said. “We absolutely agree that there should be more focus on prevention.”

How to keep healthy knees

  • Exercise regularly, both to strengthen your muscles and to maintain aerobic fitness. But don’t overdo it: if your joints are swollen or painful, rest them before exercising again
  • Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you are too heavy. Extra weight increases the stress on your joints
  • Avoid repetitive motions that are tough on your joints, such as excessive kneeling, twisting, or lifting
  • Regulate your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Research has implicated diabetes as a risk factor for osteoarthritis

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Minister of Education Myron Walwyn Myron-Walwyn-3-1

Walwyn silent amid outrage over ‘top student’

The usually vocal education minister Myron Walwyn has opted to be silent as calls mount for him to be more transparent and fair regarding his choice of the territory’s top student in recent exams administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

In a statement to some media houses on Friday, Walwyn announced that the territory’s top CXC student is Gabriella Chicester, who was enrolled in the recently established Grade 12 at Elmore Stoutt High School – a public institution.

But some education stakeholders who contacted BVI News Online said the top performer should be Chris-Tiann Roberts of St George’s Secondary – a private school, which did not subscribe to the minister’s recent push to introduce Grade 12 in the education system.

Stakeholders, who asked not to be named out of fear of the education minister, think the private school student was not named top performer, because that would be a blow to the minister’s decision to introduce an extra school year (Grade 12) in the school system.

In essence, they theorize that the education minister is trying to save his own face and to punish the private school. Hence his ‘willy nilly’ decision to go against a regionally accepted norm in assessing who is the top CXC student.

CAPE has no place in assessment

Across the Caribbean, countries determine their top CXC performer based on a single CXC exam known as the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC).

That is because CSEC is the only mandatory exam, and arguably the only one that provides a level playing field for assessing all (not just some) students leaving secondary schools.

Other CXC exams – including the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) – are not mandatory in secondary schools, and are not pursued by an overwhelming majority of students leaving secondary schools across the region.

Here in the British Virgin Islands, CAPE is also not mandatory, and it is not yet clearly structured in the education system. In other words, students who pursue CAPE do so on their own accord.

That controversial exam, nonetheless, is what the education minister said he brought into the equation to declare Chicester the territory’s top CXC student.

Had CAPE not been considered, the top student would instead be Roberts, considering that she is the most successful in CSEC – the only CXC exam that is mandatory here.

Roberts was successful in a whopping 12 CSEC subjects; 11 of which the minister said were attained with Grade One – the highest grade possible. Those grades placed Roberts among the best CSEC performers in the history of CXC across the entire Caribbean.

Hidden grades

Chicester, on the other hand, passed 10 CSEC subjects. The education minister did not reveal her specific grades – something his critics say is questionable. Chicester’s grades would have been necessary for the public to judge her CSEC performance against Roberts’.

What the minister did, however, was to disclose that Chicester passed two subjects in CAPE – the exam that, as stated before, is not mandatory and not pursued by most students in the British Virgin Islands and other countries across the Caribbean.

One of the disgruntled education stakeholders told BVI News Online: “No one is disputing that both students performed well, but the fact remains that one did better than the other. The minister should come clean, and stop putting the students through this distress. He does not have to take anything away from Gabriella Chicester. But he should also declare Chris-Tiann Roberts is the top CSEC or CXC student too. He can’t just do things as he finds them convenient. There should be clear guidelines – clear to all of us, not just to him and to his friends.”

When contacted, the education minister, Walwyn, declined to respond to the call for transparency and fairness. He told BVI News Online to contact a particular examination officer on Monday.

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CXC looking to increase e-marking

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, August 15, CMC – The Barbados-based regional examinations body, the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), has announced plans to increase electronic marking of annual exams.

CXC’s Director of Operations, Stephen Savoury, said that since e-marking was introduced in 2013, this year saw the most papers being graded using this method, and all but four subjects were marked electronically.

Stephen Savoury- CXC’s Director of Operations (CMC Photo)

“In the 2017 effort 231 papers were marked electronically … there were three e-book markings and then we had 73 e-coursework marks.  And overall, over 700,000 candidate papers were scanned, and approximately 8,000 markers were invited to participate,” Savoury said, adding that the Council is now focused on improving the quality of its assessments.

“We expect that e-marking is not only here to stay but we want to improve it as we go forward, and we want to ensure that … there is a richness of experience for all involved,” he said.

The introduction of e-marking was a break away from the traditional face to face assessment, where markers – mostly teachers – gathered at marking centres across the Caribbean to grade the annual secondary school examinations.

CXC explained that the goal is to improve the validity of the tests undertaken and the reliability of scores issued.

“Some of the proposed benefits of e-marking include continuous marker monitoring and the presence of systems to eliminate errors from incorrect transcription or addition which are a feature of the system used,” CXC said.

Savoury also disclosed that e-testing was introduced in the 2016-2017 academic year, for the multiple choice papers (Paper One) in the January and May-June exams.

“For CAPE, there were 11 territories that were tested electronically, 32 subjects, and they were just short of 2,000 candidates that were tested. For CSEC, seven territories participated electronically, there were 30 subjects that were tested, and a total of 7,827 candidates who participated.  At CCSLC (Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence) there were four territories, six subjects, 789 participants,” Savoury told reporters.

According to him, effective January 2018 all subjects will be tested online for both Paper One and Paper Two, “and we will be going forward with this, moving through to ensure that all of our territories have the option of doing this particular e-testing in their individual territories.”

He added that CXC’s long-term goal is to offer more frequent exams in addition to the January and May-June sessions across the region by 2020.

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Caribbean Examination Council records slight decline in candidates taking 2016-17 exams


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Aug 14, CMC – The Barbados-based Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Monday reported a decline in the number of candidates who registered for major exams in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Director of Operations, Stephen Savoury, who delivered the CXC assessment of the exams, told reporters that there was a one to two per cent drop in the number of candidate entries in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and t Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

CSEC is offered in January for re-sit and private candidates and in May/June for in-school candidates and private candidates while CAPE is designed to provide certification of the academic, vocational and technical achievement of student.

CXCCSavoury said there are several factors contributing to that decline.

“It is something that we have been talking about for quite a bit with regards not only to the number of candidates that take the exams but the number of subjects as well that should be taken.

“Those are the things we have been talking to our stakeholders,” he said, adding “for example we know to move on from a matriculation perspective we would need at least five subjects and so on.

“Presently your average in this particular exams is three subjects that may be as a result of the fact that there are some candidates who are taking subjects in January and so that is something we looking to correlate.

“But in terms of a specific reason, I don’t believe I will be able to give you that definitively there are other factors involved,” he told reporters.

CXC Registrar, Glenroy Cumberbatch, who gave an assessment of students’ performance in this year’s exams, said overall, 92 per cent of candidates received grades one to five this year, compared to last year’s figure of 90 per cent.

“If you look at CAPE Applied Maths, last year 91 per cent of the persons got a grade one to five, this year 93 per cent of the candidates got a grade one to five.

“If you look at Caribbean Studies, last year 97 per cent got between grades one to five, this year 98 per cent got between grades one to five,” Cumberbatch said, adding in Communication Studies, 97 per cent of students got between grades one to five last year as against 98 per cent this year.

“Those are selections of the many subjects taken,” he said, explaining also the change in criteria for CSEC grades, in response to concerns that a Grade 3 is not acceptable.

“We keep hearing that persons are not accepting grades three. Grade three is not the same grade three that existed before 1998 and we have to make that statement all the time”.

Cumberbatch said if a student had received a grade three in 1998 “you would have gotten a grade four or something else…this time,” adding “so it is not that grade three wasn’t acceptable then.

“They are two different grade threes, there are two different sets of marks and we have something on the website that speaks to the changes. So please have a look at it before people make a decision that they only accepting grade one and grade two because grade three would not have been quote, unquote a pass,” he told reporters.


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Juilliard School of Music play at RC church mass

Arts Council gets ready for third year music festival

Juilliard School of Music play at RC Church last year

The Montserrat Arts Council has announced the return of Montserrat-born, Miss Robyn Quinnett, return to the island in August 2017 with a delegation of professionally trained musicians, some by the world renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York. 

This year marks the 3rd Annual Montserrat Music Festival and this year’s delegation includes Robyn Quinnett, Molly Goldman, Julia Henderson, Josh Henderson, Mikael Darmanie, Anton Rist, Edwin Rist, Yonni O’Donoghue and Sonja Osborne.

The music workshop for young people between the ages of 8 and 16 years old will offer classes in violin, cello, clarinet, flute and piano. The workshop, conducted by the 9 member team, begins on August 21st and culminates with a closing recital on August 25th. Registration for the workshop is now closed as the allocated spaces have been filled.

The team will be featured in a concert on Saturday 26th August, 2017 at 7PM at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. They will also visit the homes for the elderly and the Montserrat Children’s Society summer camp.

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MSS compound (section)

MSS reports on its CXC Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) 2017 Exam Results

MSS compound (section)

The Montserrat Secondary School has received the preliminary results for students who wrote the CSEC EXAMINATIONS in May/June 2017, and the principal Mrs. Cherlyn Hogan publishes this fairly comprehensive report:

Seventy-six (76) students entered to write CXC exams this year.  The students wrote a total of four hundred and sixty-eight (468) subject entries in the 2017 CSEC Examinations at General and Technical Proficiency Levels.  Based on the provisional results Grades I – III passes were obtained in three hundred and fifty-five (355) of them yielding a pass rate of 75.8% down from the 79.8% obtained in 2016.

Of the 23 subject proficiencies taken at CXC CSEC examinations:

100% passes were recorded in eight of them namely: Principles of Business, Agriculture Single Award (SA), Food and Nutrition, Building Technology (Woods), Information Technology, Technical Drawing, Electricity and Physical Education (PE). 

 (2) Pass rates ranging from 90% to 97% were recorded for Biology, Office Administration, Principles of Accounts and Electronic Document Management and Preparation (EDPM).

(3) Pass rates ranging from 80% to 86% were recorded for History, French, Geography and Physics.

(4)  Social Studies and Visual Arts returned pass rates of 43.9% and 40% respectively.

A pass rate of 66.2% was recorded for English A, down from 76% in 2016.  Math recorded a 56.9% pass rate up from 53% obtained in the 2016 exams.

Notable student performances in the examinations are set out below alphabetically by surname:

  Passes in eight subject areas were obtained by:

Thiren Allen               –           3 Grade 1        2 Grade 2        3 Grade 3       

Enver Browne           –           4 Grade 1        2 Grade 2        2 Grade 3

Jadon Daniel             –           3 Grade 1        5 Grade 2                   

Veron Duberry           –           2 Grade 1        3 Grade 2        3 Grade 3

Christal Edgecombe –          4 Grade 1        3 Grade 2        1 Grade 3

Stévikha Foster         –           4 Grade 1        4 Grade 2                   

Mikala Gittens           –           2 Grade 1        3 Grade 2        3 Grade 3                   

Nia Golden                 –           3 Grade 1                                5 Grade 3                   

Geneve Meade           –           1 Grade 1        3 Grade 2        4 Grade 3

Lanicia Robinson     –           4 Grade 1        1 Grade 2        3 Grade 3       

Jayesh Sadwahni      –           7 Grade 1        1 Grade 2

Jameina St. Hill         –           2 Grade 1        1 Grade 2        5 Grade 3

Alene Weekes            –           3 Grade 1        3 Grade 2        2 Grade 3


Kadesa Cabey, Twila Fenton, Mackeda Madden, Joel Mendes, Kenecia Powel, Akeem Richards, Chenece Semper, Joyann Tuitt and Kenneth Walcott, each recorded passes in seven subject areas.

Twelve students recorded passes in 6 subject areas, while seven students passed 5 subjects.

Forty-two of the 65 students (64.6%) who wrote 5 or more subjects, obtained passes in at least 5 subject areas, with 46.1% of them gaining passes in 5 or more subjects including English and Math.  80% of this group of students gained passes in at least 4 subject areas.

Boys performed exceptionally well in the technical areas of Industrial Technology Building and Electrical, Technical Drawing and Visual Arts as well as in PE and Sport, gaining 100% passes in these areas. In the other areas, the performance of the girls was better than that of the boys. The narrowest performance gap was observed in the Math and English, with a 2.9 and 2.8 percentage difference in performance.

A key indicator for education is the percentage of students in the year five cohort who obtain 5 or more CSEC passes including English and Math.  This year 38% of the year five cohort obtained 5+ CSEC passes including Math and English.  This performance exceeds the 35% internal target which was set for the school.

The school extends congratulations to the students who were successful, to their parents for their support and to the teachers for their hard work and dedication.  The school also extends sincerest gratitude to the members of the community who assisted by tutoring our students in the absence of their substantive teachers.

See Related articles:

CXC records slight decline in candidates taking 2016-17 exams – discusses e-marking success



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Amuelle Kirnon and Dr. Buffonge

Legislator Dr. Buffonge and Banker A. Kirnon receive Chevening Scholarship

by B Roach

Dr. Buffonge

Amuelle KKirnon

The Governor’s Office announced on Friday that Miss Amuelle Kirnon of the Bank of Montserrat and Dr. Ingrid Buffonge of Glendon Hospital have been awarded prestigious Chevening Scholarships for the 2017/18 academic year.

Miss Kirnon will study for a Master of Science (MSc) in Occupational and Organisational Psychology at the University of Surrey commencing in September.

The release from the Governor’s office reported Miss Kirnon as saying: “I am very thrilled and excited to be afforded the opportunity to pursue an area which will aid in the social and economic development in Montserrat. I have a keen interest in the productivity within organisations and the integral role employee relations play in shaping the image and contributing to the overall success of an organisation. My journey in becoming a Chevening Scholar has now begun and I am extremely enthusiastic about beginning classes in September.”

Dr. Buffonge, a 2014 elected Member of Parliament, will study for a Master of Science (MSc) in Critical Care at Queen Mary University commencing also in September of this year. The doctor reportedly said: “I am passionate about the provision of good quality healthcare on Montserrat. I am keen to further contribute to Montserrat by advancing my knowledge in Critical Care, an area I’ve long advocated for. Therefore, I am really pleased that I have been awarded this year’s Chevening Scholarship and now have the opportunity to expand my knowledge in this area.”

The Chevening Scholarship scheme is the UK Government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. They are geared to students with at least first degrees enabling them to study for Masters programmes or equivalent and who show the potential to become future leaders and decision makers in their home countries.

The release advised that “as Miss Kirnon and Dr. Buffonge leave at the start of their scholarships, Miss Thandie Williams and Miss Cilma Wade, last year’s Chevening Scholarship recipients, will be making their way back to Montserrat.”




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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017