||Central Bank Of Barbados
A last minute decision to switch to Economics is paying off
for Rhea Bennett. The 19-year old second year student at the University of the
West Indies, Cave Hill (UWI), is the recipient of the 2017 Central Bank of
Barbados (CBB) Scholarship.
As a student at Harrison College, Bennett studied languages
and Sociology and had planned on becoming either an interpreter or a
translator, but second thoughts about that career path led her to contemplate something
completely different, Economics. At the time, she knew little more than the
basics about the field, so her aunt, Janet Wilkinson, suggested she speak with
then Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Harold Codrington.
Codrington was able to allay her concerns by sharing his own
experience. “He told me he had done
Sociology up to sixth form, then he found Economics and how passionate he was about
it. He spoke to me and sort of resolved me fears. I was really skeptical about
it, wondering what if I go into this and then it doesn’t work out? He told me
that if I wanted to do it then I should try it because it was an amazing field
and he thought I would enjoy it. So I pursued it,” Bennett reveals.
The former Deputy Governor was right. Bennett, who describes
herself as “very curious”, says that studying Economics has helped her to
develop a better understanding of what is happening at a national level and has
also reshaped her thinking about the role that the region can play on the global
stage. “I think we focus on what we’re lacking. We don’t always focus on what
we have. Our human capital is our strongest asset.” She sees a promising future
for the Caribbean if it is built on more collaboration and integration.
And she is looking to contribute significantly to that
future. She hopes to complete a postgraduate degree in Economics at the
University of Birmingham or in International Trade Theory and Policy at UWI
with the ultimate goal of having a career in International Development, in the
Foreign Service, or at the Central Bank.
She will have the opportunity to be a central banker, at
least for a brief stint, since the scholarship, in addition to a $6,000 cash
prize, includes a three-month internship.
Bennett is looking forward to her internship and says that
she is “extremely happy and still a bit shocked” about winning the scholarship
since she hadn’t known she had been nominated until she received an email
notifying her of the award. “At first I thought it was a joke, but then I went
to the records office and the lady told me everything.”
The Central Bank of Barbados Scholarship is one of two
undergraduate scholarships the Bank offers annually to Barbadian students
reading for a degree in either Economics or Economics and a related discipline.
The second scholarship, the Roland Craigwell Memorial Scholarship, was won this
year by Sheldon Shepherd.