HLSCC FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER PROUD OF ITS HISTORY
Mr. Lester Hyman, prominent Washington D.C attorney and founding member of the H. Lavity
Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) Board of Governors, has said he is proud of the
accomplishments of the institution over the past years and is looking forward to the
HLSCC becoming a centre of excellence in the region.
He said his involvement with the HLSCC makes him very proud. He was invited by
founding Chairman, the late Chief Minister H. Lavity Stoutt, to be a member.
“And we’ve seen this tremendous growth of this wonderful educational institution,” Mr. Hyman
stated. He said President Dr. Charles Wheatley and Vice President Dr. Michael O’Neal have
done an extraordinary job.
He mentioned several accomplishments including the increasing enrollment, the many subject
areas taught at the College, the new Marine Resources Centre soon to come on line, the new
state of the art theatre and the culinary institute.
“This has become a major institution, not just here in the BVI but throughout the Caribbean,”
he declared. “And I just think it will grow and grow as people throughout the Caribbean
realize that this is the centre of education in the area.”
The HLSCC Board of Governors meet twice a year formally, but members are updated monthly on
happenings at the College. All of the plans for expansion must be approved by the Board,
which also does fundraising and generally oversee almost all of the programmes for the
The Board member indicated that he would want to see the College developed especially
through the interactive video capacity. “I see this College being the central core institution
that is going to send programmes, not only throughout the Caribbean, but all over the world,
emphasizing the things that we’re strongest in the environment, marine resources, the history
and culture of the Caribbean.”
Mr. Hyman is in the BVI, where he has had a home for the past 12 years, to launch his new
book “United States Policy Toward Liberia, 1822-2003: Unintended Consequences?”. The book
launch and signing will take place August 26th, 7pm at the Paraquita Bay campus of the HLSCC.
Through his law practice, he remains involved in international affairs representing companies
and countries, especially in the area of peace resolution where he attempts to bring warring
parties in the midst of civil war together. He joined former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in
1990 as a member of the International Observer team for the first democratic elections in
Haiti and he was also a member of the team under former President Bill Clinton that went
to Guatemala in 1999 to represent the U.S at the signing of a peace treaty ending a 35 year
For the last 12 years, Mr. Hyman has been involved in Liberia and this is
his “first real book”. He has written an autobiographical book of his years in politics
and a children’s book about a dog that comes to Tortola with his master and saves some
children during a hurricane.
Liberia is a small country on the western most part of Africa, founded by emancipated
slaves in the U.S. back in 1822. A group called the American Colonization Society
reportedly felt that the emancipated slaves should have an opportunity to govern themselves.
Liberia then became a republic in 1847 and they had 133 continuous years of relative peace
until 1980 when Samuel Doe took over by slaughtering the President.
“And yet, the United States supported the Doe administration with money, encouragement and
everything possible,” lamented Mr. Hyman. He recalled that it was a competition between the
U.S and the Russians for control.
Mr. Hyman explained that he was asked to mediate between two competing governments in the
days of President Carter. He said this effort unfortunately fell apart and there have been
years of civil war in Liberia.
In 1997 when President Charles Taylor was elected in Liberia in an election deemed free and
fair by an international observer team, Mr. Hyman was asked to represent the republic of
Liberia in the U.S, which he did for two years, “explaining to the U.S government what their
problems were and explaining to the Liberians what U.S policy was, trying to bring the two to
help one another.”
Mr. Hyman said he stopped in 1999 and was determined to write the history of Liberia because
he said many do not understand it and he has great reservations about United States policy
toward Liberia. “I believe it is deficient in many ways and I wanted to address that, which
In his book, the Washington D.C. attorney pointed out that although the U.S meant well by
trying to ensure that Liberia did not go to the communists, the problem is they supported a
regime that killed thousands and thousands of innocent Liberian people.
“I think the biggest point my book makes is that we should stop worrying about focusing on a
leader that we like or dislike and instead focus on the three and a half million citizens of
that country,” Mr. Hyman declared.
He explained that after Taylor won elections in 1997, the U.S. cut off all aid to Liberia
because of their dislike for him.
Mr. Hyman said he thinks the U.S should do more for Liberia than send in 10 marines to assist
the peace-keeping team in Nigeria trying to bring peace to the country. He said Liberia
supported the U.S in material during two world wars, the Cold War, the Gulf War and the war
against terrorism and has gotten nothing in return.
“So, I am hoping that the situation will improve there,” he said. President Taylor has now
stepped down, effective August 11th, in the interest of peace, while the African forces,
the U.S, Britain and United Nations try to put together an interim government, hopefully
leading to another peaceful democratically elected government soon that will restore the
country to peace.
His suggestions for the U.S government for Liberia include sending in peace keeping troupes,
helping to train the army to eliminate human rights abuse, sending humanitarian aid in and
rebuilding the infrastructure.
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