With the passing of biologist Julian Kenny, Trinidad and Tobago has lost 98 per cent of its scientists. And, unfortunately, there are too many people in this place who would actually think that figure is a statement of fact, as distinct from a true joke.
For me personally, the actual figure is 50 per cent, since Prof Kenny was one of only two scientists I knew (and the other one no longer lives in Trinidad). Presumably, there are other scientists in T&T, but I'm not acquainted with them. I know a few who claim to be scientists, but their claim is based on further claims that their "experiments" are supported by similar claims from an eminent Canadian scientist who won the Order of Canada and the Rutherford medal, even though a three-minute search on the Internet reveals no such listings for that individual in either category.
Prof Kenny, on the other hand, had done extensive original research on T&T's ecology. He had written many scientific articles and a few books. But, more than that, he possessed the true scientific outlook: analytical, empirical and sceptical. We used to correspond irregularly, and when I met him in person at the Express's office a few years ago, he asked me what my scientific background was. I've never received a bigger compliment, because that's the type of women I know. And, when I told him I had never formally studied science and merely had a BA in literature, Prof Kenny, like the true gentleman he was, didn't draw back in horror and disgust. That reaction I more often get from humanities lecturers.