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Professor Rupika Delgoda and Dr Floyd Morris named among the 2021 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards Excellence Laureates

Professor Rupika Delgoda and Dr Floyd Morris named among the 2021 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards Excellence Laureates

Professor Rupika Delgoda and Dr Floyd Morris named among the 2021 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards Excellence Laureates

The University of the West Indies, Mona congratulates Professor Rupika Delgoda and Dr Floyd Morris who are named the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards Excellence Laureates for 2021. Dr Morris was recognized for excellence in Public & Civic Contributions and; Prof Delgoda for Excellence in Science &Technology. 

Professor Rupika Delgoda

Professor Rupika Delgoda is the current Director of the Natural Products Institute (NPI) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI, Mona. Her research examines the medicinal potential and safety profile of local biodiversity. She has had remarkable success in developing local scientific capacity, publications, and acclaim for her work.

Under her leadership and strategic direction, the NPI grew from a concept to a full-ledged dedicated research institution with graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and full-time researchers. Her vision and assiduous work played an instrumental role in the establishment and expansion of NPI’s laboratory facilities and she has steered it to become a highly successful collaborative research entity dedicated to the development of natural products.

Over the course of her career, she has raised more than JMD$450 million in research funding. Prof Delgoda has been instrumental in fostering innovative strategic research partnerships with local and international private sector enterprises to expand the capacity and output of local biomedical research. The NPI is now fully engaged in Faculty activities and collaborates widely within the campus research communities and with over 12 leading international universities and research institutes in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa and beyond.

Her own research spans the areas of biochemistry, pharmacology and pharmacognosy, with a focus on exploring and unveiling the biological potential of Jamaica’s natural resources. Her original contribution to the national and international body of scientific knowledge is in the areas of bioprospecting (assessing the efficacy of medicinal plants), evaluating ethno-medicines and avoiding potential drug-medicinal plant interactions (assessing the safety of medicinal plants).

Her research has brought to the fore the previously unknown value of natural products with impact on cancer cell viability and cancer prevention. She has contributed significantly to international scientific literature, with 52 peer-reviewed, highly cited publications, including 3 books, 11 book chapters and 38 journal articles and she has presented at 74 academic conferences with her work receiving 4 international awards.

Prof Delgoda was awarded the UWI Mona Principal’s award for excellence in research seven times over five consecutive years. These awards included the most outstanding researcher for the Faculty in 2015 and 2018, the most outstanding research publication in 2014, 2016 and 2017 and the project with the greatest development impact in 2017 and 2018.

Prof. Delgoda is engaged in shaping national policy on natural health products and ethno-medicines. She serves as Deputy Chair of the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, member of the National Nutracuetical Committee, and as a trustee of the Jamaica Conservation Partners.

Dr Floyd Morris

Dr Floyd Morris is an advocate for disability rights, an academic who has published research on people with disabilities, and a politician who has sponsored path-breaking legislation, and a champion for the rights of the disabled regionally. He is a graduate of the University of the West Indies Mona (UWI), where he attained his PhD in Government (2017). He is currently a Lecturer, a Political Communication Specialist, a renowned Disability Advocate, Author, and Motivational Speaker.

Dr Morris is also the first to accomplish many things in his home country where disability politics and rights are concerned. He is prominent not for the fact that he himself is a highly accomplished visually impaired person, but because what he has accomplished, especially for the rights of the disabled, would be exemplary for anyone.

He served as the Chairman for the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB) from 2000 to 2001. Between 2002 and 2006, he led the negotiations for Jamaica at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and eventually signed and ratified the Convention in 2007, enabling Jamaica to be the first country in the world to do so.

His political career began when he was appointed a Senator by then Prime Minister PJ Patterson in 1998 (becoming its first visually impaired member) and afterwards appointed Minister of State in 2001. From 2001 to 2007, he served as a Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. In the period he worked with the Ministry, he anchored the implementation of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education, led Jamaica’s negotiation on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, assisted in the development of the National Health Fund and in the development of the National Insurance health benefit (NI Gold). He drafted legislation to protect persons with disabilities and established the Margaret Moodie Scholarship Fund for persons with disabilities.

In 2004 he initiated The Kingston Accord – a compilation of resolutions from the Caribbean Ministerial Conference on Disability. The Accord was born out of a deep concern that despite the efforts of government bodies and other organizations, persons with disabilities were still encountering discrimination and many obstacles to the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights and freedoms. It sought to reaffirm that every Caribbean citizen has the same human, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and to recognize the importance of the United Nations Standard Rules for the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities as a framework for national and regional policies and programmes.

He returned to the Senate in 2012, and was appointed President of the Senate (2013-2016) during which time he sponsored and debated numerous pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening the rights of persons with disabilities and other human resource matters.

Dr Morris has, to date, signed and approved over 100 pieces of legislation, including the Disabilities Act (2014). These sponsorships and legislative instalments to which he has contributed include:

· the resolution on the expansion of social workers in the Public Sector of Jamaica;

· resolution on employment situation of persons with disabilities in Jamaica;

· the resolution on access and inclusion of children with disabilities in the Jamaican Education System;

· the resolution calling upon the Government to increase benefits to pensioners on the National Insurance Scheme (NIS);

· the resolution calling for a comprehensive review of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH); and

· the resolution calling for the Parliament to become accessible for persons with physical disabilities.

He was also responsible for introducing Sign Language in the (broadcasts of sessions of) Houses of Parliament in Jamaica. In 2018 he was appointed the CARICOM Special Rapporteur on Disability, and has since continued to do extensive research on persons with disabilities in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

In November 2020, Dr Morris was elected to the powerful United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is the Committee created under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to monitor its implementation in the over 180 countries that have signed and ratified this global treaty. Dr Morris is the first person in the Caribbean to have been elected to this influential committee.

Dr Morris is a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and is married to Mrs Shelley-Ann Gayle Morris. He was the host of a two-hour weekly radio broadcast "Seeing from a Different Perspective", which focused on disability and societal issues. He has written an autobiography called, By Faith, Not By Sight-The Autobiography of Jamaica's First Blind Senator. In 2020, Dr Morris published his second book: Political Communication Strategies in Post Independence Jamaica 1972-2006. He also regularly contributes articles to the press.

Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards

The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards is the only programme in the Caribbean which seeks out and rewards outstanding nominees in Arts & Letters, Public & Civic Contributions, Science & Technology and Entrepreneurship. It has been in existence since 2005 and has named, inclusive of the current inductees, 49 Laureates from throughout the region. The 2021 ceremony will be staged sometime in 2021. The date will be determined in accordance with travel protocols dictated by the Covid 19 situation. For further information, visit us at www.ansacaribbeanawards.com, or find us on Facebook. An introductory video is available on our YouTube Channel (ANSCAFE)



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