Back to Top
Close Menu
 
Home » News-Events » News
 
News and Events Centre

Tributes to Professor Roland Craigwell

For Release Upon Receipt - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tribute from the Cave Hill Campus

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus Sir Hilary Beckles hailed the late Professor of Economics, Dr. Roland Craigwell as a “brilliant scholar, prolific author, astute teacher and mentor”.

He said Professor Craigwell contributed significantly to the field of economics and econometrics in particular, and was sadly taken at the height of his career.

“Cave Hill campus has lost another great son and the local, regional and economic fraternity a brother possessed of a rare blend of talents”.

Sir Hilary said he impacted the lives of many not only professionally but personally as well as they witnessed his courage in facing his illness with serenity.

He said Professor Craigwell had a passion for publishing and had five major publications to his name in addition to contributing to over 30 major volumes and over 80 articles in refereed journals.

Sir Hilary’s comments come amid those of the late economist’s former Cave Hill and Central Bank of Barbados colleagues. Many in the wider economic community have also paid tribute to the life and professional contribution of the late professor, among them former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr. Marion Williams who said he was a “treasure” to the Central Bank.

“Not only was he gifted with awesome econometric skills but he shared his wisdom generously with others. His record of publications is impressive and includes not only Central Bank and regional publications but high quality articles published in prestigious international journals,” Dr. Williams, Barbados’ Ambassador to Geneva said.

She said the late Professor was held “in high esteem” locally, regionally and internationally and was an “econometrician of the highest caliber”.  She praised his “equanimity” in dealing with his illness, discovered when he was still in his early thirties noting that “it was instructive to those who complain about minutiae.

“That he could deal with this setback without apparent bitterness or resentment was a life lesson to those around him,” she added.

 Sir Frank Alleyne, another former colleague recalled Professor Craigwell’s “vast contribution to teaching, mentoring and economic research, specializing in Quantitative Economics and Econometric Modeling. Roland raised the bar in the department of Economics during his undergraduate career at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.”

Professor Craigwell’s record as a professional economist is both voluminous and of high quality. Darrin Downes, Chief Research Economist at the Central Bank of Barbados aid he was “well known in the local economic fraternity and across the Caribbean region as a skillful applied econometrician, teacher and an all-round great person”.

Close friend and colleague Dr. Winston Moore, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics wrote: "I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without him. He taught me how to write for publication, the importance of testing when doing econometric work, and the need to incorporate the peculiar features of small open economies into empirical models.

We collaborated on 15 peer reviewed articles, along with other technical reports over our time together at the Central Bank of Barbados and later at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. He took a particular joy in telling stories about his career in economics and life in general, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I will miss him greatly.”

Another colleague, Clyde Mascoll said that “while he excelled in the area of applied econometrics, he was also well-rounded and fundamentally sound across several areas of economics and finance. He was among, if not the most published economists in the region and broke into quite a few international journals; a testimony to the quality of his work.”

Professor Craigwell first joined the U.W.I. family in 1982 as an undergraduate student where he obtained a first class honours in B.Sc. Economics and was named the most outstanding student in the Department of Economics in 1986. He continued his academic development gaining a M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Warwick and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of South Hampton.  While pursuing his academic qualifications he also tutored and later lectured part-time at the U.W.I.

He pursued his professional career as an economist at the Central Bank of Barbados where he steadily rose through the ranks to Deputy Director (Operations and Policy Analysis). Throughout his career, Professor Craigwell conducted extensive research and published several edited volumes and collaborated with peers to publish numerous refereed journal articles.

During this time, he continued his relationship with the U.W.I. as a part-time lecturer with the Department of Economics. In 2008, Professor Craigwell returned to the U.W.I.  full-time as a Professor of Economics teaching courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels as well as supervising masters students and Ph.D. candidates not only at Cave Hill Campus, but also regionally and internationally.

The Department of Economics Pays Tribute to Professor Roland Craigwell

The University of the West Indies family mourns the loss of Professor Roland Clairmont Craigwell who passed away on January 2, 2014.  Professor Craigwell’s association with the UWI spans more than 30 years – first as student, then part-time lecturer and finally in 2008, Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at the UWI Cave Hill Campus. Prior to his appointment, he had actually spent more than 20 years at the Central Bank of Barbados.

Professor Craigwell’s research focussed largely on modelling the behaviour of Caribbean economies and, more broadly, developing economies.   His long-standing goal, objective, was to bring empirical rigour to the study of Caribbean economies.  His early work largely focussed on modelling the monetary side of the economy. Attesting to its quality is the fact that both students and his colleagues still find it useful, rather, necessary to cite this work.  In general, his research output has revealed that traditional models of the economy, which normally perform (in terms of model fit and forecasting) quite well in the larger more developed economies – for which, admittedly, they were initially designed – simply breakdown when applied to small open economies like those in the Caribbean.  Professor Craigwell’s approach therefore always attempted to have models that “fit the facts” of the Caribbean economy. His idea was never to accept the traditional model, always emphasising the importance of capturing essential or critical specific features of small open economies. In this he was carrying on a tradition developed in the 1960s by Caribbean economists at the University of the West Indies, albeit in the field of econometric modelling and not institutional arrangements associated with the New World Group.

In this we may go further. For just as Nobel Laureate Arthur Lewis tackled underdevelopment and ‘unlimited supplies of labour’, possibilities for development of small open economies – like those of the Caribbean – Professor Craigwell re-fashioned econometric modelling to generate useful insights into the functioning of our economies not immediately evident using readily available and prevailing methods.

Professor Craigwell has left an indelible mark on economics both in the Caribbean and beyond, as a result of his research, teaching and mentorship.  He has written or edited 5 books, and published more than 100 articles in books and refereed journals.  His research endeavour was prolific. So too was his productivity and willingness to help his colleagues throughout the region. This willingness to debate, assist and mentor was legendary.  Dr. Stephen Harewood, Head of the Department of Economics at the UWI Cave Hill Campus had this to say about his former colleague’s contribution to the discipline:

“I first met Roland in 1985 when he was an undergraduate student at the University of the West Indies; at that time, he was one of my students. From the moment I met him, I recognized that he was destined to be one of our most outstanding economists. In spite of his success, he remained humble. He set high standards for himself and he encouraged his students and those that he mentored to set high standards for themselves. He possessed a gentle personality; he was not easily flustered or easily angered. His calm smile said it all. His colleagues in the Department of Economics and his students will miss him. May he rest in peace.”

Similarly, Martin Franklin, Head of the Department of Economics at the UWI St. Augustine Campus, had the following to say:

“We thank God for the talents that he bestowed on Roland and which he shared so freely with all who sought his help or came into contact with him. He has left a legacy in the area of econometrics in the region.”

At the Cave Hill Campus he moulded the econometric skills of students at the graduate, under-graduate and professional level.  Indeed, he has been an invited lecturer at several institutions including, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Bank of Jamaica, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Centre for Latin American Monetary Studies, just to name a few.  At the UWI Cave Hill Campus he has also been instrumental in the supervision of students at both the MSc and PhD levels.  Mr. Clyde Mascoll (PhD Candidate in the Department of Economics) had this to say about his former supervisor:

“It is not often in life that the people you look up to are younger. From the early days, Roland’s appetite for hard work was evident; his capacity for knowledge was remarkable and his desire to share was unmatched. Once I made the decision to pursue a doctoral thesis, the choice of Professor Craigwell, a world-renowned and respected applied econometrician, was obvious. The period of pursuit would prove to be uplifting and engaging; and his commitment to my work was relentless and consistent with his reputation for being a hard taskmaster. He had a tough mind and a tender heart. He was one of a kind.”

Another one of his former students, Dr. Brian Francis, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Cave Hill offered his recollections and tribute thus:

"To me, Professor Craigwell was not just a colleague but also a very dear friend and former teacher.  I first met Roland at the UWI Cave Hill in 1991 when he taught me Microeconomics Theory at the undergraduate level and later Econometrics while I was registered as an MPhil (Economics) student.  Roland was not only brilliant but was also rather humble and always willing to share his knowledge of econometrics in particular and economics in general.  From 1991 to his untimely passing, Roland and I remained very close friends.  I could call on him at anytime for any reason and he would always respond positively.  No amount of words could describe my overall feelings about this stalwart of a man, husband, academic, and friend for his approach to life, research, teaching and writing is simply astonishing.  May your soul rest in everlasting peace, Roland.  You will surely be missed dearly by me and others but certainly never be forgotten."

In addition to his formal duties as a graduate student supervisor and lecturer, Professor Craigwell was also quite willing to help eager young students now entering the world of academic research.  One of his protégés, Dr Winston Moore (currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics) had this to say about his former colleague, mentor and friend:

“When I first met Roland he was Deputy Director of Research at the Central Bank of Barbados, while I was an eager young intern in the Research Department with dreams of being an economist at the Bank.  I would constantly harass him and ask question after question: How do you write so well? How do you write so many papers? How do you know so much about econometrics? It must have annoyed him at the time but he never showed it. He would always respond simply with: just work hard and it will come. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without him. In those early years at the Bank we published more than 10 papers in a just a couple years together and I would listen to his stories and advice about economics and life in general. I will miss him greatly.”

All the members of the Department had found memories of their colleague.  The Administrative staff in the Department of Economics (Mrs. Michelle Grandison-Taylor, Ms. Kristy Layne and Ms. Rhea Brathwaite) had this to say:

“Professor Roland Craigwell will be fondly remembered by the Administrative staff of the Department of Economics as a straightforward and friendly person of a quiet disposition.  He was very meticulous when it came to the delivery of his courses, and provided the students with information abounding in order to reach his high standards.  Professor Craigwell, set the standard when it came to meeting internal deadlines, no matter how small they were he was always the first to avail the office with the information we needed.  He would be well organized and well documented whenever he had a query and needed our assistance in getting the matter resolved.  Professor Craigwell, a lover of Nescafe’s French vanilla coffee, was a meticulous lecturer, a patient and reserved gentleman with high standards who brightened our office whenever he was around.  We will truly miss him.”

Another colleague, Professor Nlandu Mamingi also notes the following.

"A respected colleague who did not spend time complaining about everything but rather focused on delivering quality and useful research outputs.  I will certainly miss his collegiality. May his soul rest indeed in peace."

Former Head of the Department of Economics, Professor Michael Howard also recalled the following:

“The quality I admired most about Roland was his humility. He was a very brilliant economist, but I will always remember him most for his humble approach to life, his generosity, his unflappable personality, and his understanding of people”.

Finally, Mr. Anthony Wood (a Lecturer in the Department of Economics), Professor Craigwell’s co-author and long-time friend, perhaps sums up best the views of the entire department:

“as an undergraduate at Cave Hill Roland demonstrated a very sound knowledge of the theoretical, quantitative and applied aspects of the Economics Programme. Roland possessed extraordinary analytical, communication, research and writing skills. It came as no surprise that Roland developed into a brilliant Economics scholar and prolific researcher and publisher in major Economics and Finance journals. Professor Craigwell was the most gifted Barbadian Economist of his generation. His work will continue to inspire young economists for many years to come. Roland will certainly be missed greatly by his students, colleagues and myself”.       

The UWI family will greatly miss this gifted economist, teacher, mentor, colleague and friend.  His legacy will surely be kept alive for generations through all the individuals he taught, assisted and mentored.

May his Soul Rest in Peace

Andrew S Downes PhD

Professor of Economics and Pro Vice Chancellor (Planning and Development)

University of the West Indies

It is always difficult when someone dies at a relatively young age without being able to show his/her fullest potential.  But Roland is exceptional in this regard. Having chosen economics as a career, Roland certainly show his fullest potential as an economist in his relatively short sojourn with us here on earth.

Roland was one of the students in my Econometrics and Economic Statistics classes which I taught during the academic year 1985-86 on rejoining the Department of Economics. Needless to say he gained distinctions in both courses and went on to graduate with a first class honours degree in Economics. It is always tempting for teachers to claim some impact on a student’s long term success, but I would have to confess that any impact I had on Roland’s phenomenal output would have been very small or insignificant. His research output can easily reflected the work of two (even three) full professors of economics. I saw Roland blossom over the years as an economist working at the Central Bank of Barbados and then the University of the West Indies to become one of the most talented and respected professional economist in the region.

Roland was a gifted applied econometrician in the broad sense of the term. He had a good grasp of new quantitative techniques and applied them to a range of economic topics especially in the areas of money and finance. One characteristic of his work was his ability to work with a range of economists (English and French) on several topics. He had developed a tremendous reputation for mentoring young economists at the Central Bank which carried over to the University of the West Indies (UWI). In fact on joining the UWI in 2008, the graduate programme blossomed with his successful supervision of the most PhD students in the Department’s history. There is no doubt that Roland was a good team player and someone to emulate.

One feature to note about Roland was his humility given his superb technical skills. Over the years, I never noted a sense of superiority or aloofness when dealing with colleagues and students in seminars. In fact, he was very generous with his knowledge and time. He however set very high standards of work and had an enviable work ethic.  As a former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies, I could always depend on Roland to respond to refereeing requests within the established time frames and with copious suggestions for improvement. We worked together on a few projects and his ability to organise was tremendous. In many respects, he was the “go-to person” amongst economists. In fact, just before he was last admitted to hospital, I had identified him as one of the assessors for one of my graduate students- unfortunately he was unable to attend the upgrading seminar.

What makes Roland’s tremendous work even more remarkable was his ability to produce such high quality work in the face of a serious health challenge over the past two decades. He took matters in stride and I am sure that with the support of his dear wife Peggy (another former student of mine), daughters, family members and friends he was able to cultivate the mental strength to overcome the physical challenges he was facing. I saw the deep love and commitment to wife blossoming from their days at the Cave Hill campus. He certainly developed a great love for family and from my outside observation had a deep love for and commitment to his wife and daughters.

Roland will be remembered for his humility, great technical skills, excellent mentoring and teamwork skills and enviable work ethic.  His mental fortitude in the face of physical adversity is an example for those faced with similar challenges.

Roland will certainly continue his work in his new spiritual form but his legacy will remain with us as “in death we are in the midst of life”.

On behalf of my family, I extend deepest condolences to Roland’s family and relatives. His contribution has been tremendous and will always be cherished. Hold strong!!

Sir Frank Alleyne K.A. G.C.M. Ph.D

In a relatively short working life the late professor Roland Craigwell made a vast contribution to teaching, mentoring and economic research, specializing in Quantitative Economics and Econometric Modeling. Roland raised the bar in the department of Economics during his undergraduate career at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. The record shows that he was an outstanding student. His subsequent post-graduate studies confirmed his early promise.

Roland’s record as a professional economist is both voluminous and of high quality. His output comprise editor of  sixteen volumes of  research papers; coauthored forty-seven  articles in refereed journals and published fifteen articles on his own account; authored five articles and coauthored twelve articles in non-refereed journals, and submitted six papers to refereed journals for publication. Roland supervised six postgraduate students at the Masters level; and five at the doctoral level guiding them to the completion of the requirements for their respective levels of academic elevation. During his career he was the recipient of several academic awards.

Roland was a most supportive colleague who shared his expertise in the fields of Econometric modeling and Statistical Analysis liberally. He has bequeathed to the Economics profession a standard for emulation by his colleagues and young aspiring economists. My colleagues in the department of Economics and faculty of Social Sciences while regretting his loss at this time in his career when we expected his best was yet to come can be comforted that our department was the cradle that provided the foundation that he utilized to full extent as he launched a magnificent career. We hope that his life and work will serve as an inspiration to the youth, in particular the less fortunate in our society. To his wife and daughters and grieving relatives I extend deepest condolences. May his soul rest in peace.

 

Marion Williams

Former Central Bank Governor

For the past  two decades the Central Bank of Barbados has been privileged to  benefit from the  exceptional  skills of Roland Craigwell, from the comraderie which he displayed toward his colleagues and  from his ready assistance and mentoring which he generously offered to his fellow researchers..

 Roland was a  true treasure to the Bank.  Not only was he gifted with awesome econometric skills but he shared his wisdom generously with others. His record of publications is impressive and includes not only Central Bank and regional publications but high quality articles published in prestigious international journals.

His equanimity in dealing with his illness,  discovered when he was still in his early thirties was instructive to those who complain about  minutiae. That he could deal with this setback without apparent bitterness or resentment was a life lesson to those around him.

His individual publications  reached staggering numbers, so prolific was he. Some of his work was jointly done with other economists. It gave him additional opportunities to help others, to show his prowess, to benefit the co- authors while  raising the research standing of the  Central Bank. Many became better researchers  after having worked with him on joint projects. Within the regional  research environment, Roland was held in very high esteem and  many a researcher  whom one would meet at international conferences would enquire “how is Roland? “Or “ Say hello to Roland”. He was an econometrician of the highest caliber.  Yet, despite his prowess and  recognition among his peers, he had not the slightest arrogance. Indeed he was unassuming.

 I personally  wish to record my thanks for his oversight of my econometric work. It was greatly appreciated.

 He was also a family man who cared deeply for his wife and children.

I am sure that all past Governors of the Central Bank would wish to join me in extending our deepest sympathy to his family, especially to his charming wife and to his children.

He has fought the good fight. May he rest in peace.

 

Cleviston Haynes

Deputy Govenor

Barbados Central Bank

In the days since Roland’s passing, everyone has commented on the prodigious contribution he has made to Caribbean economic literature. It represents an unmatched dedication to his chosen field of endeavour and an unrivalled commitment to excellence. Impressive as his publication record was, however, the two things that stand out for me was his mentorship of young economists and the way he handled adversity.

During and after his tenure at the Bank, Roland shared his econometric skills freely with the Bank’s economists, enabling an improvement in their technical skills, increased research productivity and an enhancement of the research reputation and profile of the Bank. This willingness to share was not limited to the Bank and this prompted me to recommend him to Dr. Patricia Downes- Grant, a former Central Bank economist, who needed assistance with the econometrics segment of her doctoral thesis. Her testimony is that Roland willingly taught her, making simple a topic that she did not find interesting or easy. He was committed and never once had to change a meeting. He asked for nothing in return.

It is difficult to say how his illness so early in his life influenced how he interacted and influenced others. However, he displayed a strength of character and purpose that endeared him to all with whom he came into contact. I recall that when Roland first started dialysis, it required him to attend the hospital three mornings a week for treatment. At the same time, we were embarking on a project in which Roland was expected to play a major role. We had weekly meetings, but the treatment left Roland feeling tired and looking weak. No one would have questioned him if he went home after his treatment. Yet Roland attended each meeting, as uncomfortable as he felt. A few years ago, I had the chance to ask him why he came to work in that condition and he remarked that if he did not half of his life would be wasted. 

Such was the nature of the man. Roland’s life of excellence and commitment enriched the lives of all with whom he came into contact.

May he rest in peace.

 

Michelle Doyle-Lowe & Sheryl Peter-Kirton

Director and Deputy Director, READ, Central Bank of Barbados

Roland was a career researcher and through his chosen profession mentored and touched the lives of many. He had a profound and lastly impact, both direct and indirect, on all economists of the Central Bank of Barbados and our regional university student interns. He contributed over a hundred papers to regional and international journals and though a brilliant Barbadian scholar, his frank, humble, practical and down-to-earth manner made him approachable and loveable.  His proverbial door was always open to new and creative research initiatives, as well as to a good joke.  We will forever be humbled by the reality that his memory lives on through the treasured memories of interactions and through every piece of research to which our cadre of economists have access and can build upon.

Roland did more in over 20 professional years than many do in their lifetime and he did so effortlessly.   We will miss him dearly 

Gloria Oxley

Former Senior Administrative Office, READ, Central Bank of Barbados

ANOTHER BRILLIANT LIGHT HAS GONE OUT

I was fortunate in having the privilege of working directly with Roland Clairmonte Craigwell at the Central Bank of Barbados for many years. As one of my senior executives, I always found him to be an extraordinary person with a strong personal touch.  Roland was indeed a kind individual who was always in contact with persons at all levels.  Despite his high intellectual attainments, he was able to retain his human qualities and understanding.

Roland was indeed different.  I admired how he welcomed new entrants to the Research Department, allaying their fears and helping them to settle in their new environment.  He showed empathy, love and respect.  He managed to be affectionate and professional at the same time.

When one loses a dear friend and colleague unexpectedly, and when that individual is young with so much to offer to society, the pain becomes more intense.  It leaves one to reflect on the shortness of human life and the intervals within which these sad occasions occur.

Barbados, the Caribbean, and, indeed, the world have lost a brilliant econometric mind. Gone too soon at the age of 49 years.

To Roland’s sorrowing relatives: his wife Peggy, his two daughters, Moné and Jhané, his mother and sisters and other relatives, my deepest sympathy.

MAY HE REST IN PEACE and may light perpetual shine upon him.

Skeeta  Carasco

Former Central Bank of Barbados Summer Intern

Research and Development Officer

I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Professor Roland Craigwell. I feel privileged to have been mentored by him during the final year that he served as a Research Supervisor for those of us who participated in the Summer Internship Programme. His extensive knowledge, academic brilliance, unrivalled dedication and mentoring skill have left an indelible mark on my development. I was also deeply touched by his concern for our well-being and remember especially the way he reached out to me when I lost an aunt during the period of my internship.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, the Research and Economic Analysis Department and the wider Central Bank family during this difficult time.

Majalia Jackman,

Former Central Bank of Barbados Economist

I’ll never forget my first day at the Central Bank. I walked into my supervisor’s office to discuss my work programme only to be met with… toes. That’s all I remember from that meeting …, Roland’s toes dangling on the desk as he spoke. I would venture to guess that quite a few research officers and students have similar stories from their own first encounters with Roland – meeting his toes before meeting the man. And yet, I am just as sure, that like me, persons also have much more memories of Roland’s sterling qualities.

As a boss, he would give you the liberty to function in your job. He would share with you the goals, make sure you had the resources, and coach only when needed or requested. As a mentor, he offered constructive criticism on areas that needed improvement and advice on making the right choices. And as a friend, he stood on the side-lines and cheered for you to meet your goals.

Talking to many individuals over the last few days, I now have a real appreciation for just how much of a difference one great mentor can make. It is unbelievable how many careers Roland shaped, how many minds he sharpened and how many lives he touched.  On a personal level, it is hard to overstate the debt I owe to Roland. I count my blessings that I was fortunate enough to be in his path. He enriched my life immeasurably, often challenging me to be a better econometrician, a better researcher … a better me.   I wish that everyone could have a mentor and friend like him.

Shelton Nicholls

Delivered to the Central Bank of Barbados in 2008 at a ceremony in honour of Roland's contribution to the Central Bank of Barbados and the Caribbean region.

I want to first of all take this opportunity to thank the Central Bank of Barbados for its kind invitation and to reiterate how pleased I am to be part of this tribute to Roland Craigwell – one of the younger generation of Caribbean Scholars - who has been making important contributions, for almost two decades now, to Caribbean applied econometric and quantitative analysis.  These efforts have already made an indelible mark on applied econometric research in the regional community and further afield. 

What is even more remarkable is that this contribution is taking place in the face of a major health challenge which, in the ordinary course of life, would have most surely restricted or even obstructed the productivity of even the most dedicated scholar.  That Roland has been able to rise above insurmountable odds and make a name for himself in the regional and international academic literature is not only a testament to his mental strength but also to his dedication and passion for scholarship.

This is one of his attributes that I find truly remarkable and one which I daresay has won him much admiration from his peers and policy-makers in the regional model-building community.

Some years ago, a group of regional applied econometricians – including Hyginus Leon, Patrick Watson, Roland Craigwell, and I – got together under the umbrella of the Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies to reflect on the evolution of macro-econometric modelling and its likely role in the process of economic forecasting and policy analysis.  Today, I want to focus my own reflection and tribute on the role that Roland has played – in his usual unassuming style – in advancing the practice of applied econometric research and in training and developing a cadre of younger researchers many of whom have already begun to play key roles in academe and in policy institutions in the region.

In looking at the evolution of applied econometric work in the Caribbean region over the last three to four decades, we must acknowledge that applied econometric research has come a long way from its early beginnings.  A quick review of the literature indicates that applied econometric analysis in the region took off in earnest in the 1980s when a number of enterprising young scholars in the central banks and the regional university began to adapt the Cowles Commission approach to econometric modelling to explore the workings of Caribbean economies.

These early experiments led to the development of a number of medium-sized econometric models that focused on explaining the structure and workings of Caribbean economies. 

A number of pioneering vintage model emerged from this early process – the best known of which include the models developed by Watson and other members of the modelling group at UWI St. Augustine and at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and, of course, the models of the Barbadian School pioneered largely by the initial efforts of Worrell, Holder and Boamah.  These early approaches to model-building were however plagued by a number of fundamental problems including inappropriate specifications of Caribbean economic reality and the limited availability of data which impacted on the robustness of the estimation and testing methodologies.  In addition, these early medium-sized models ignored the relatively dynamic nature of macroeconomic behaviour as well as the temporal properties of the data.  Many regional policy makers felt that these models were too large and complex to allow them to effectively disentangle the salient economic relationships needed to guide policy.  Of course, the now famous Lucas critique increased this scepticism about the policy relevance of these large-scale models.

I do think that an important change in the regional modelling landscape came with the introduction of a number of state-of-the-art techniques that were especially geared towards addressing the non-stationary properties of the data, disentangling the short-run and long-run interaction of macroeconomic variables and reducing model complexity.  The buzz words in applied modelling at the time were unit roots, co-integration and general-to-specific modelling.  Both Hyginus Leon, who introduced the region to the new methodologies, and Roland Craigwell – one of his willing accomplices - were among the strongest advocates of the changed approach and the most proficient implementers of the methodology on the regional applied economics circuit. 

I should say that at first many of our regional economists shied away from these methods which they felt required considerable mathematical preparation, dexterity and proficiency.  Both Roland and Gene have devoted a considerable amount of time helping practitioners in the region to gain a more fruitful understanding and appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of these methods.  Of course, by the middle of the 1990s, the co-integration methodology had established firm roots in applied econometric work in the region. 

At the end of the day, the real importance of this methodology for economic policy analysis is that it provided a basis for sorting out some fundamental long-run relationships between macroeconomic variables of key interest to policy makers.  Between 1990 and 2000, there was in fact an explosion of applied research into the long-run relationships between money, income and prices; the wages, prices and productivity nexus; financial development and economic growth, the role of interest rates in the monetary transmission mechanism, debt and fiscal deficits and monetary and fiscal policy co-ordination, consumption, income and savings.

As we all know, these are some of the issues that continue to occupy the minds of our macroeconomic policy makers and for which there is a constant search for new and innovative insights.

Roland has continued to keep abreast of a range of econometric methods of particular relevance to Caribbean economic reality including panel data and spatial econometric methods which, in the context of the thrust towards a single regional economic and financial space, are of particular relevance in helping us decipher and compare how regional economies are responding to the emerging global economic shocks. 

In assessing Roland’s contribution to the practice of econometrics in the Caribbean region, a number of pertinent features stand out:

(a)   Technical Contribution:  He has been relatively successful in helping to demystify econometric analysis and more importantly in promoting and even popularizing the use of econometric techniques in Caribbean macroeconomic analysis.  Many of his research papers have provided novel insights on how to best utilize new and emerging econometric methods to address pressing economic policy concerns.  He is among one of the most cited economists from the region with respect to applied quantitative economic analysis.

(b)   Scientific Basis for Policy Formulation:  Compared to ten or fifteen years ago, his efforts have provided a significant corpus of empirical work that, literally, span many key areas of macroeconomic decision-making, including banking and finance, corporate finance, consumption and savings, financial liberalization, fiscal policy, economic growth, monetary policy, poverty, health and education, agriculture and tourism.  Many of these applied pieces have tried to provide a solid scientific basis for economic decision-making.  Applied econometricians readily acknowledge, of course, that greater attention to scientific principles in economic decision-making tend in the long-run to minimize the probability of costly policy errors.

(c)    Greater International Prominence to Empirical Analysis from the Caribbean region:  Roland’s prolific and consistent publication record over the years has also given economic issues of concern to the Caribbean region greater exposure and prominence in international academic and policy journals.  The availability of a corpus of empirical research on economic matters of concern to the Caribbean can, and does, play an important role in the formation of international opinion on Caribbean economic affairs.  Indeed, by clarifying some of the inner workings of the Caribbean macroeconomic environment, this corpus of work can also be a powerful weapon in the negotiation process, especially with global policy-making institutions. 

(d)   Human capital formation:  One of the really noteworthy contributions is his active participation in the process of human capital formation in the region.  This, I know has been one of those passionate endeavours that has allowed him the opportunity to groom and prepare a cadre and perhaps the future generation of Caribbean applied econometricians.  Since 1990, he has been directly involved in the preparation and supervision of research projects of a number of young scholars from regional academic and financial institutions and has continued to build on the very successful internship programme which the Barbados Central Bank instituted in 1985 (Incidentally, I had the good fortune of being the very first intern at the Central Bank of Barbados).

As Roland pursues a new chapter in his research life, I want to also suggest that there is still much work to be done and to emphasise that applied quantitative economic analysis is in need of a constant stream of innovative and relevant ideas if it is to continue to influence the process of decision-making.  I still continue to argue that applied economic research needs to begin to give some emphasis to dynamic computable general equilibrium models which might allow us to probe more successfully the depths of the decision-making processes in Caribbean institutions, especially households, families and firms.  This approach may better help us to integrate some of the initial theoretical and historical analysis of our own understanding and experience with the driving forces behind Caribbean economic processes.

In closing, I want to emphasise that outstanding applied econometric analysis requires not only hard work, dedication and commitment, but a passion for excellence.  There is no denying that this passion for excellence has been at the centre of Roland’s approach to economic investigation. 

Thank you.

Darrin Downes

Chief Research Economist

Central Bank of Barbados

The untimely passing of Roland Clairmonte Craigwell has deeply saddened me. He was well known in the local economic fraternity and across the Caribbean region as a skilful applied econometrician, teacher and an all-around great person. To me, he was my mentor and friend. Roland was my first supervisor when I began my career at the Central Bank. I remember vividly the first of many nuggets of advice he so readily offered me: work hard and you will do well at the Bank. To Roland, it was that simple.  He did not make long speeches.  He said what he meant and meant what he said. As an applied economist, he was brilliant.  He ensured he remained at the forefront of his chosen specialisation, and readily shared his vast knowledge and experience with anyone who sought it.  I “picked his brain” on everything and  he allowed me to, freely.  I admired his dedication and work ethic, his amazing ability to dissect difficult economic problems and that he never allowed his illness to constrain him in any way, shape or form.  Roland not only enjoyed immensely his chosen profession, he loved cricket, music, especially “oldies goldies”, “lovers rock” and reggae. He lived life to the fullest. The loss of Roland has left a gaping void in the profession and in my life. My sincerest condolences to his wife Peggy, daughters, Jhane and Mone, and his extended family. May he rest in peace.

 

Dr. Winston Moore

Senior Lecturer

Department of Economics

University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

 Professor Craigwell has been a part of my entire career as an economist. We first met at the Central Bank of Barbados in the summer of 1999: he was the Chief Economist of the Research Department at the Bank and I was an intern at that institution, with hopes of obtaining full-time employment as an economist when I graduated.  My assignment over that summer was to investigate the issue of small business financing in Barbados. I knew I had a lot to learn, but it is only when Professor Craigwell returned my first draft of that report did it really come starkly into view just how much.  I knew I had printed my document in black and white, but when I opened the document that he returned there was red ink on every single line of the document, along with comments in the margins.  I was demoralised after seeing the document, but we met and discussed every single comment/correction and I actually left that meeting feeling good about my effort.  This sea of red ink on my documents would continue for much of my first two years at the Bank, but I took the comments in the spirit in which they were provided: to help me to improve and become a better economist.

During those first two years at the Bank we also developed a great working relationship and personal friendship.  Through Professor Craigwell’s coaching, everything became easy: we wrote paper after paper together, with the time between starting a paper and publication shrinking with each paper.  We worked on so many papers together that Professor Craigwell became virtually a permanent fixture in my office: one minute we would be talking about econometrics and next he would be telling me stories about his youth and growing-up in St. George.  I learnt so much about his approach to work and life during these discussions. 

In relation to econometrics, he always stressed two things: (1) testing; and (2) small open economy features.  As a young economist I would try to impress Professor Craigwell by completing the econometric work as quickly as possible, but he would always come back and say:

·         the results look interesting but we need to do more testing;

·         there is this new test I read about, let’s apply it to this model;

·         did you test the importance of this variable?

·         the data looks funny, did you check for errors or outliers?

Even though we both worked really quickly, Professor Craigwell was always meticulous and careful to ensure that when we sent off a paper for potential publication that we had considered almost every possible angle a referee could take.

Over my career I have emulated, wittingly and unwittingly, everything that Professor Craigwell did: 

·         Roland did his MSc in Economics at the University of Warwick, so did I;

·         Roland got to work before 7am, so did I;

·         Roland published 6 papers a year, so did I.

Professor Craigwell also took tremendous pride in the number of interns he has supervised over his career as an economist.  Every summer, he would work with students about to complete their undergraduate/graduate degree in Economics on a research paper, with most of these being published in peer-reviewed journals.  Guess what?  Since coming to the University of the West Indies, I have followed Professor Craigwell’s lead and also attempted to work every summer with undergraduates on a publishable research.

To say that I will miss Professor Craigwell is an understatement. He has been a constant part of my career, life and office for my entire working career as an economist.  Even though I will miss him tremendously, I take solace in the fact that his legacy will live on for generations through all of the young economists he has helped developed and who are now helping to develop a new generation of economists.

Clyde Mascoll

It is not often in life that the people you look up to are younger. It is even less likely that they are in your personal space. In my case, one was a male and the other is a female. The male was also a professional colleague, while the female is an eternal heart string. They both suffered renal failure and given what I saw of them, their strength of character remains unmatched.

Roland, also affectionately called Scout by a few of us, my colleague and friend, has gone to his eternal resting place, but what a human being he was. For me, he was among the most influential economists in the region for the last 15 to 20 years. His contribution, especially in the area of applied econometrics, helped to push the profession from its normative beginnings to its positive journey.

This was a natural progression which was somehow not fully appreciated in some quarters. The advent of technology and the expansion of the databases in the region created the environment for the avalanche of empirical work that followed. Professor Craigwell was at the epicentre as he familiarised himself with the theoretical advances and practised their applications.

While he excelled in the area of applied econometrics, he was also well-rounded and fundamentally sound across several areas of economics and finance. He was among, if not the most, published economists in the region and broke into quite a few international journals; a testimony to the quality of his work.

Perhaps his single greatest contribution to the profession came as he embraced a cadre of young economists from Jamaica to Guyana who bought into his penchant for empirical research.

The frontiers of applied econometrics had expanded with the computer age which brought into question the findings of previous empirical work. The gateway was therefore opened for the new approaches to be tested. He led the way.

His body of work will provide the basis for further investigation that will contribute to the finding of a Caribbean economics that features the peculiarities of the region. It has already started but must become sufficiently widespread to provoke the thinking that will eventually lead to the altering of established theories to the Caribbean experience.    

Once I made the decision to pursue a doctoral thesis, the choice of Professor Craigwell, a world renowned and respected applied econometrician, was obvious.

The period of pursuit would prove to be as uplifting and engaging as I had anticipated. His commitment to my work was relentless, which was consistent with his reputation for being a hard taskmaster. He had a tough mind and a tender heart.

The tough mind was misconstrued by some students who, for the most part, live in a world of quick-fix and do not always possess the patience and tenacity to “tough it out” in the face of challenge. This approach was, however, much appreciated by the more mature professionals who rejoiced in the journey – those who understood that success is a journey, not a destination.  

Roland was not just an economics professor; he had other interests. His love for cricket surpassed even that of the typical Barbadian boy born in the ’60s and raised in the halcyon days of West Indian greatness.

Like all of us lovers of the game, his enthusiasm never wavered even on his sick bed. He would still inquire of the team’s performance on its current woeful tour. But then again, he understood cricket beyond the boundary. I suspect that he dreamed about pursuing his talent within the boundary, like many of us.

In his early days, he was a disc jockey with an appetite for melodies and lyrics. This literally required burning the candle at both ends, especially on the weekends. He particularly adored the cultural richness of reggae music, while not forsaking the literary majesty of calypso.

Once his hand was fully dealt in his late 20s, he embraced his fate with a humility that characterised his outstanding accomplishments. He was simple without being simplistic; he was straightforward without being rigid and he was warm when it mattered.

In all of his glory, none was more exalted than his devoted and loving wife Peggy and their gifts of Jhane and Mone. 

In the last five years, we renewed a fertile familiarity that blossomed into a friendship of mutual respect and admiration for each other.

I truly enjoyed his company and found comfort in his truth. His journey will continue in the seeds he sowed both personally and professionally. He was one of a kind!

 

Joseann Knight

Lecturer

UWI, Cave Hill Campus

 

Professor Craigwell was an accomplished, but humble man.  My aunt received encouragement from him when she first became a dialysis patient and I am grateful.  I pray that he is safe in the arms of Jesus.

 

 










Publications

Cave Hill Campus Chill Magazine
Browse our collection of publications, covering life at all four of our UWI campuses - Cave Hill, St. Augustine, Mona and Open.

Cave Hill

Media Resources


CONNECT WITH US
 


Reach Us

Have more questions?

Talk to our Public Information Office
The Leslie Robinson Building

 

Email: publicinformation@cavehill.uwi.edu
Tel: (246) 417-4000
Fax: (246) 417-4000
Website: www.cavehill.uwi.edu/news-events

 

Office Hours:
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m