Courtenay Bartholomew (Year of Birth: 1931)

Trinidad and Tobago Icons Vol 1

Courtenay Felix Bartholomew grew up in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He attended Nelson Street Boys’ R.C. School and then St. Mary’s College where he came 4th in the island in the House Scholarship Awards of the Senior Cambridge Examination in 1948. He was an avid sportsman in cricket, football and table tennis and after obtaining the Higher School Certificate in languages in 1950, he worked for four years in Her Majesty’s Customs before leaving for Dublin, Ireland to pursue medical studies. He graduated in medicine in 1960 from University College Dublin (UCD).

In 1964 he was the first West Indian to obtain a specialty degree in the subspecialty of gastroenterology from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and in 1965, he was awarded the Doctorate in Medicine (DM) from the National University of Ireland. He joined the Faculty of Medicine, UWI, in 1987 as the first lecturer in medicine to inaugurate the Medical School in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1983 he was awarded the MRCP degree (Member of the Royal College of Physicians of London) and was the only West Indian to be given this degree without examination. He is also the only West Indian to be awarded Honorary Fellowships from the three Royal Colleges (Ireland, Edinburgh and London). He has served as visiting clinical professor at the Liver Unit, University of Miami and the Gastroenterology Unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Canada.

He was awarded the Chaconia Medal (Gold) by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in 1975 “for long and meritorious service” and more recently in July 2004, he received the rare honour of Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Medicine of UCD. He has also been appointed a member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO.

He has seventy-five (75) publications in peer reviewed scientific journals and has written chapters in seven text books of medicine.

He has also authored seven books on his research on the Blessed Virgin Mary and has also spearheaded the restoration of three historical Catholic churches in Trinidad, including the design of twenty-five (25) stained glass windows.