On Thursday June 1, the University of the West Indies(UWI) Open Campus Dominica and Konmite’ Pou E’tid Kwe’yol (KEK) held a tree planting and dedication ceremony in honor of the late Dr.Violet Vyline Cuffy.
The late Dr. Cuffy was the eighth child of Allan and Janette Cuffy, and comes from a family of notable individuals. At the time of her passing, she served as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Bedforshire for four years. Her illustrious academic and employment history speaks of her drive for education and her love to give back to her people.
It was noted that Dr. Cuffy’s ‘love for cultural heritage was infectious’. She enjoyed her culture inclusive of the national dress, food, dances, stories and songs so much so that in 2015, she and some of her friends launched the Waitukubuli Cultural Tourism Initiative in London. In 2019, she assisted in the launch of the Dominica Country Conference, a collaboration between the UWI and the university where she worked, whose focus was on the creole language.
Head of the UWI Open Campus Dominica, Dr.Kimone Joseph spoke of the late Dr.Cuffy. She said, “Within minutes of our first encounter, it was clear to see how dedicated Dr. Violet Cuffy was to the study and practice cultural heritage.”
Joseph continued that Cuffy was a kind soul and visited after the conference. She spoke of how devastating the impact of the death of Dr. Cuffy was on the staff at the UWI. She stated, “When we returned to work and heard of her untimely death after Christmas break in early 2022, our staff grieved.”
Joseph mentioned that the UWI began working with Dr. Cuffy in the year 2018 to plan the Dominica Country Conference. The conference theme for that year was ‘Creole as Cultural Heritage: Framing, Strengthening and Advocating.’
Joseph explained that the four years old Bwa Mowtel/ Immortal Tree (Erythrina Corallodendron) which was planted on Friday 16 August 2019, during the Dominica Country Conference was being dedicated to Cuffy for her work in cultural heritage preservation and promotion and her selfless advocacy for Dominica’s rich cultural legacy. The Bwa Mowtel is symbolic of the longevity of Creole Culture.
The tree planting and dedication ceremony was attended by members of Dr. Cuffy’s family, the Division of Forestry who is partnering with the UWI on its reafforestation drive following Hurricane Maria, and students and staff of the Roseau Primary School and the Roseau Primary Early Childhood Development Centre. Students of the latter eagerly assisted in the tree planting.
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