Dr. Verene Shepherd, Computech corporation, Recipients of the Presidents Award from St. Martin Book Fair 2020

Dr. Verene Shepherd, Computech corporation, Recipients of the Presidents Award from St. Martin Book Fair 2020

Dr. Verene Shepherd, recipient of the Presidents Award from the 18th annual St. Martin Book Fair, 2020. (Photo courtesy VS)

MARIGOT, St. Martin (June 7, 2020)—Verene Shepherd and Computech received the Presidents Award here from the 18th edition of St. Martin Book Fair, on June 6, 2020.

“The Presidents Award was accepted by Computech personnel on behalf of the company and Dr. Verene Shepherd’s award will be delivered to her in Jamaica by courier,” said book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph.

The awards presentation was made in Computech’s conference room, which served as the studio for managing and transmitting the Closing Ceremony of the literary festival on Facebook.

Corporate citizen Computech hosted the Zoom platform management and the transmission of the three-day book fair to Internet audiences and over 5,000 “views,” said Reiph. 

“The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at House of Nehesi Publishers.

The Presidents Award winner Dr. Verene Shepherd is the director of the Centre for Reparation Research at the University of the West Indies (UWI), a social historian, and Cambridge Commonwealth Society Fellow.

 Dr. Shepherd specializes in research on migration, human rights and social justice, gender, and Jamaican Economic History.

Dr. Shepherd is the author, editor, co-author or co-editor of some 16 books. Among them are Engendering Caribbean History: Cross-Cultural Perspectives; Livestock, Sugar & Slavery: Contested Terrain in Colonial Jamaica and I Want to Disturb My Neighbour: Lectures on Slavery, Emancipation and Post-Colonial Jamaica. Her co-edited titles with Sir Hilary Beckles include Liberties Lost; Freedoms Won and Caribbean Slavery in the Atlantic World.

Professor Shepherd is host of “Talking History” on Nationwide 90 FM in Jamaica; a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; former Chair of The UN’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; and member of the National Commission on Reparations in Jamaica. The Vice Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission has served as president of the Association of Caribbean Historians.

Among Dr. Shepherd’s awards are the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, from the Government of Jamaica; the 2011 Kiwani’s Woman of Excellence Award; and the 2016 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Public Service.

Dr. Verene Shepherd was the keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony of St. Martin Book Fair, June 4, 2020, and “critically addressed the festival’s theme of ‘Genocide’ in the Caribbean,” said Sekou, who was a consultant to book fair 2020.

The Presidents Award recipient Computech is celebrating its 20th year in business in St. Martin, said Reiph at the awards presentation. With its corporate headquarters in Galis Bay, “the IT Services Company is identified in its literature as ‘specialized in Strategic IT Consulting, Technology Services and Outsourcing based on the latest Microsoft technologies’” in St. Martin and to neighboring islands, said Reiph.

Computech has long been involved in youth scholarship, literacy, and community care programs, said Jean Arnell, Managing Partner and IT Specialist at the company. Computech has also been a past sponsor of the St. Martin Book Fair, said Reiph.

Previous winners of what the Daily Herald has called a “prestigious award,” include Edwidge Danticat (USA), Sir Roland Richardson (St. Martin), Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados), Benny Wenda (West Papua), George Lamming (Barbados), Derek Walcott (St. Lucia), Casa de las Americas (Cuba), Nicole Cage (Martinique), and Dr. Quince Duncan (Costa Rica).

Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF) and the Book Fair Committee organized the St. Martin Book Fair, June 4 – 6, 2020, in collaboration with Computech and the University of St. Martin (USM), and in consultation with House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). The Presidents Award is named after the presidents of CLF, HNP, and USM.