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UWI dedicates law building to Hassanali

Published: 
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Zalayhar Hassanali unveils the plaque for the Noor Hassanali Auditorium, UWI, St Augustine campus on Monday evening. Looking on are pro vice chancellor and campus principal Clement Sankat and dean of the Faculty of Law Rose-Marie Belle Antoine. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES

To honour the legal legacy of former president Noor Hassanali, the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine campus Law Faculty officially named their main auditorium after the late president on Tuesday. 

Campus principal Prof Clement Sankat said the naming of the building holds great significance to UWI. 

“It reinforces in the minds of the people of our country, region and the world that Noor Hassanali has achieved prominence in the field of law, both locally and abroad, and has contributed significantly to the UWI and to the development of Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the Caribbean region.” 

Hassanali was previously honoured by UWI in 1989 when the university conferred him with an honorary doctorate. 

Sankat said now the physical structure of the building will ensure that students and staff of UWI will always remember Hassanali. 

The Noor Hassanali Auditorium was completed two years ago, but was not officially named the until yesterday.

Sankat said UWI’s Naming Committee unanimously agreed on naming the building after Hassanali because he was considered a “legal luminary.”

“It is my hope that our new Faculty of Law would live up to these principles, and to the high standard which our former president His Excellency Noor Hassanali strictly adhered to. 

“I look forward to our Faculty of Law to be the beacon of light for our society, and that it would contribute to nation-building at the highest level,” Sankat said.

Sankat described Hassanali as a diverse and well-rounded president who believed in education and helping others become educated.

“His Excellency Noor Hassanali was known as a ‘President for all,’ one who demonstrated the qualities of impartiality, objectivity and fairness. And this is what law is about. It is a rubric that governs the behaviour of our society, it transcends boundaries and ultimately through our Constitution allows us to realise our aspirations for the kind of society to which we aspire, and to which we must build,” Sankat said.

Soon UWI St Augustine South Campus in Penal/Debe will be opened, and Sankat said that campus will be the primary facility for the Law Faculty. 

The expansion of the Law Faculty, Sankat said, was of great importance to the country’s students because the LLB degree (Bachelors of Law) will be accessible to all students. 

Previously students from T&T who wanted to study Law in UWI had to go to the Cave Hill campus in Barbados to do so. On average more than 1,000 students would apply to the Law Faculty, but Cave Hill could only take in 40-50 students annually. This new faculty now allows for more local students to study law.

“The establishment of a Faculty of Law right here at the UWI St Augustine Campus therefore means that many students from very humble backgrounds can now aspire to one of the noblest professions, whereas for more than four decades such an avenue might have been closed to them because of the cost of studying and living outside of Trinidad and Tobago,” Sankat said.

Last year, 86 students graduated from UWI St Augustine’s LLB (Bachelors of Law) programme, and Sankat hopes that in the years to come the Law Faculty from St Augustine will expand exponentially. 

Hassanali’s family, including his wife Zalayhar Hassanali, were present for the naming ceremony where Zalayhar unveiled the commemorative plaque on the building.