UWTSD welcomes Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Wales


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) was delighted to welcome The Honourable Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines to its campus in Lampeter.

Professor Medwin Hughes presents honorary doctorate to Dr Ralph Gonsalves

During his visit, Dr Gonsalves was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Law at a special ceremony held on Tuesday, 27 September.

Dr Gonsalves met students from the Caribbean islands who have received a scholarship to study at the University. The scholarship scheme was agreed by Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of UWTSD as a result of discussions with His Majesty the King (then HRH The Prince of Wales, the University’s Royal Patron), following the Volcano eruption on St Vincent in April 2021.

The Thirty-seven students are based at the Lampeter campus and are studying a range of programmes identified by their government as being beneficial to the future development of their country. These include History, International Development and Global Politics as well as Early Childhood Education, Quantity Surveying and Civil Engineering.

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, said: “I’m delighted to welcome the Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to the University to be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Law. 

“This is his first visit to the University since we launched the scholarship scheme which provides opportunities for students to study programmes that will help build capacity and infrastructure in the islands following the volcano eruption in 2021. Dr Gonsalves is a visionary leader and is a strong voice for his country on a global stage. He is a passionate advocate for sustainable development, prosperity, peace, and security. We are honoured to welcome him to the University and to Wales.”

In his address to the congregation, Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Provost of the Lampeter and Carmarthen campuses said: “It is my great honour and privilege to present Dr Ralph Gonsalves, to receive the degree of Doctor of Law.

It has been quite a week for Dr Gonsalves. On Saturday he addressed the 77th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York and today, he is here in Lampeter in the heart of Wales.

“During his address to the General Assembly, Dr Gonsalves emphasised that St Vincent and the Grenadines is committed to reconditioning the traditional narratives on security by bringing to the fore the particular vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States. As such, St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to work tirelessly towards addressing the unique plight of such states, especially as it relates to the nuanced and unprecedented challenges posed by climate change.

He concluded his address by emphasising the importance of continued partnership between all nations to ‘take care of yesterday’s heritage, to accommodate and reasonably address today’s interests, and to pursue effectively, in peace and security, tomorrow’s hopes’.”

Students from St Vincent and the Grenadines with Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister at UWTSD

On receiving his award Dr Gonsalves said: “I want to thank the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and King Charles for their kindness and their generosity. The highest form of solidarity is he or she who gives from the little they possess, and you have given from your university a great deal from the little you possess”.

“The students from all the reports are all doing very well, and I’m very proud of them. I have confidence in them, and I’m pleased that they are excellent ambassadors for St Vincent and the Grenadines. These students will return to St Vincent and the Grenadines at the conclusion of their studies, and will contribute further to the country’s development.

“This is a very touching moment for me, but this is just not about Ralph, because whatever we have accomplished, it’s been accomplished in communion with our people, and this honour belongs to them – I am simply the medium of their extraordinary achievements especially in the field of education.”

Before departing Wales, Dr Gonsalves visited y Senedd where he met with Julie James, MS, Minister for Climate Change and Vaughan Gething, MS, Minister for Economy.


Dr Ralph Gonsalves with group at UWTSD Lampeter

Note to Editor

Biographical details:

Ralph Everad Gonsalves was born on August 08, 1946 to Alban Gonsalves and Theresa Francis in Colonarie, a rural village in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  He is married to Eloise Gonsalves nee Harris and has three sons (Camillo, Adam and Storm), and two daughters (Isis and Soleil).

Dr. Gonsalves was educated in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the Colonarie Roman Catholic School and at the St. Vincent Boys’ Grammar School.  He later completed a Bachelors Degree in Economics at the University of the West Indies, there obtaining several noteworthy accolades including, President of the Debating Society and President of the Guild of Undergraduates.  In 1971 he obtained a Masters in Government from the University of the West Indies. In 1974 and 1981 he obtained a Ph. D in Government and a Degree of Utter Barrister at University of Manchester, England and Gray’s Inn, London, respectively.

Dr. Gonsalves became the Deputy Political Leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) in 1994.  The ULP, a merger of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party and the Movement for National Unity (MNU), a political party which at the time of the merger Dr. Gonsalves was the leader, won the St. Vincent and the Grenadines General Elections held on March 28, 2001.  At the time of the elections Dr. Gonsalves had since been elected to Political Leader of the ULP and as such he became the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on that same date, March 28, 2001.  He has remained Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines since then, winning the elections again in December 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020.

Concurrently while pursuing his political career and prior to his becoming the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Gonsalves practiced law extensively and successfully before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in a wide range of matters, but particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, matrimonial law, real property law, law of tort generally and the law of contract.

Dr. Gonsalves has researched, written and published extensively on a range of matters touching upon the Caribbean, African, trade unionism, comparative political economy, and developmental issues generally.  Among his latest publications are:  History and the Future:  A Caribbean Perspective (Quik Print, St. Vincent, 1994), The Politics of Our Caribbean Civilisation – Essays and Speeches (Great Works Depot, St. Vincent, 2001), The Making of the Comrade: The Political Journey of Ralph Gonsalves (SFI Books 2010); Diary of a Prime Minister: Ten Days Among Benedictine Monks (SFI Books 2010); The Case for Caribbean Reparatory Justice (2014); Our Caribbean and Global Insecurity (2017); The Making of a National Hero: Law and Practice in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SFI Books 2018); The Political Economy of the Labour Movement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SFI Books 2019); The Trial of George Mc Intosh and the 1935 Uprising in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SFI Books 2020); The Atomised Individual, The Social Individual and the Covid Vaccine (SFI Books, 2021); The Idea of Barbados (SFI Books, 2021)

University of Wales Trinity Saint David is part of the UWTSD Group, a confederation of several institutions, which includes the University of Wales, as well as Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion as constituent colleges. The Group offers a continuum from further to higher education for the benefit of learners, employers and communities. 

UWTSD’s vision is to be a university with a commitment to the well-being and heritage of the nation at the heart of all its activities. Central to the vision is the promotion and embedding of a dual-sector educational system which educates learners of all ages and backgrounds, and stimulates economic development in the region, across Wales and beyond.

The University’s was founded in 1822 and celebrates its bicentenary in 2022. It enjoys the accolade of being the birthplace of higher education in Wales. The University’s 1828 Royal Charter is the oldest of any university in Wales. The University’s campuses are located in Swansea Carmarthen, Lampeter, Cardiff, London and Birmingham. 

UWTSD is committed to placing students at the centre of its mission by providing a relevant and inspiring bilingual curriculum, providing a supportive learning environment, investing in its campuses and facilities, and ensuring that students, from all backgrounds, are given the opportunity to achieve their potential.