The University of the West Indies (UWI), at Cave Hill, Barbados

The University of the West Indies

at Cave Hill, Barbados

Outreach: Other Activities

Sargassum Seaweed 2015

Sargassum Seaweed off the coastline of the
Hilton Barbados Resort 2015
In early 2015, Barbados was inundated with the phenomenon known as the Sargassum seaweed particularly on the east and south coasts of the island.  The presence of the seaweed created several challenges for sea bathers, fishermen and those charged with keeping the environment clean.
The accumulation of the seaweed resulted in an offensive, pungent smell, as large, brown, unsightly heaps of weed were scattered along the beaches.  Although agencies such as the National Conservation Commission, the Coastal Zone Management Unit, the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Transport and Works; the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage all tried in various ways to clear the beaches, the seaweed proved to be a challenge to remove in a timely manner.

The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, (the research arm of the University of the West Indies) collaborated with entrepreneur, Mark Hill of BioGen, in a beach cleaning exercise near the Hilton Barbados Resort, where horses were used to remove the seaweed, without resulting in beach erosion.  BioGen was also formed to use the seaweed, because of its biomass potential, to make products for export.  The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute and BioGen created a video of the clean-up exercise.

Although the seaweed provided opportunities for entrepreneurs to use it as fertilizer for plants, because of its nitrogen properties, the seaweed has also had a negative effect on sea turtles. The seaweed compromised the preservation of the sea turtle population by creating an obstacle for nesting turtles attempting to reach the shore to lay their eggs in the sand and it also obstructed the hatchlings from making it back to the shore.
In an effort to bring awareness to the challenges and solutions of the Sargassum seaweed, a Sargassum Symposium was held on 17 August 2015 organized in collaboration with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies.


In recent years, a number of persons have retired from senior positions in the public and private sectors.  These persons have contributed to the development of organizations through the Caribbean.  They have also contributed to the design/formulation and implementation of public policy at both the national and regional levels.

The main purpose of this public lecture series entitled Reflections, is to give these persons an opportunity to reflect on their working life experience and engage the general public on issues relating to their work experience (especially relevant to the work of the Institute).

These individuals would be able to draw lessions from their own experiences and make recommendations for the future.

The Inaugural Reflections Lecture was held on 11 November 2005 and delivered by The Right Honourable Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford.  The title of the lecture was "The Dismal Science of Economics: Reflections on Economic Policy Making in Barbados" and was held at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Sir Lloyd Sandiford is a former Prime Minister of Barbados.
The Right Honourable Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford
at the Inaugural Reflections Lecture, 2005


On 17 January 2007, a Reflections Lecture entitled "Errol Barrow: His Life, Mission and Legacy" was delivered by Jean S. Holder .  The lecture was held at the Grand Salle of the Central Bank of Barbados.

Mr Holder is former Secretary-General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies.
Jean S. Holder at the
2007 Reflections Lecture

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Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies
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