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

Computech personnel (3rd L) received the St. Martin Book Fair Presidents Award on behalf of the company from Dr. Antonio Carmona Báez, USM president (5th L). Book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph (3rd R) and Book Fair Committee members (with baby Thelwell), look on at the Literary Evening and Closing Ceremony of the 18th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 6, 2020. (HNP photo) Computech personnel (3rd L) received the St. Martin Book Fair Presidents Award on behalf of the company from Dr. Antonio Carmona Báez, USM president (5th L). Book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph (3rd R) and Book Fair Committee members (with baby Thelwell), look on at the Literary Evening and Closing Ceremony of the 18th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 6, 2020. (HNP photo)

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - 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 a professor of social history at the University of the West Indies and a Cambridge Commonwealth Society Fellow.

In 2010, Dr. Shepherd was appointed to the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group of Experts on people of African descent, to represent the Caribbean and Latin America.

Dr. Shepherd’s research interests are in Jamaican Economic History during Slavery, Migration and Diasporas, and Caribbean Women’s history.

Among her publications are: Livestock, Sugar and Slavery: contested terrain in colonial Jamaica; I Want to Disturb My Neighbour: Lectures on Slavery, Emancipation and Post-colonial Jamaica, Maharanis Misery: Narratives of a Passage from India, and Transients to Settlers: The Experience of Indians in Jamaica.  

Dr. Shepherd is the editor of Working Slavery, Pricing Freedom and Slavery Without Sugar. She is co-author (with Prof. Hilary Beckles) of Liberties Lost: Caribbean Indigenous Societies and Slave Systems, Freedoms Won, Trading Souls and Saving Souls.

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 also 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.

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