Arima honours 14 burgesses
By RALPH BANWARIE Saturday, August 11 2012
A number of persons who have contributed to the development of Arima were honoured by the Council and Corporation of the Royal Chartered Borough of Arima on Wednesday evening at a Civic Reception and Awards Ceremony.
The annual event is part of the Arima Borough celebrations, which this year marks the 124th anniversary of the borough charter. It was held at the Arima West Primary School, Old Arima Road, Arima.
During his address at the function, Arima Mayor Ghassan Youseph, said each year at this time, burgesses who have contributed to the improvement or upliftment of the community are honoured, “not only to recognise them, but also to hold them up before their peers as role models and exemplars, persons whom we should all admire and strive to emulate.”
He said the council usually honours seven burgesses, but in honour of both the eastern borough’s anniversary and the country’s 50th anniversary of Independence, the decision was taken to double that number to 14.
The mayor noted, however, although the number of awardees was increased, it was still difficult to narrow the list of nominees to 14. He said each new candidate was more qualified than the next. Some, he said, had made their mark within the confines of the borough, contributing in significant ways to the enhancement of their immediate communities. Others had made an impact on a national level. And then there were those whose achievements are global in scale.
Youseph said, “Arima has given this country so much. So many of our burgesses for so many years have excelled over such a variety of fields. In the arts, in sports, in academics, in social work, in business and industry. Arima can boast of many who have been nationally and internationally recognised for their contributions. Yet this Royal Chartered Borough which this month celebrates its 124th Anniversary has received so little in return in terms of infrastructure.”
He continued, “We have no performing arts auditorium, no museum. Our main sporting facility, the Velodrome, is well over 50 years old and so outdated as to be virtually useless as a sporting facility in this day and age. “I am pleased to note that this Government has begun to make a dent in the huge backlog of infrastructural improvements needed in the borough. The Mt Pleasant Bridge being reopened after 29 years is but one example. Work is soon to begin on erecting our new police station and administrative buildings. But much more needs to be done. It is time, well past time actually, that Arima gets its own performing arts space, its own museum, its own state-of-the-art sporting facility,” Youseph urged.
“World class athletes, performers, academicians and captains of industry and commerce, do not just come out of nowhere. They learn their craft, hone their skills in purpose-built facilities. Despite its lack of such facilities, Arima has produced the goods. We deserve facilities commensurate with our contributions,” he added.
The mayor ended by congratulating the awardees on behalf of the council and corporation, and urged them to “do more…be more…achieve more.”
The burgesses who were honoured were, Sunil Narine, Kevon Cooper and Quincy Alexander in the sphere of sport; People of Praise, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Joycelyn Worrell, Monsignor Christian Perreira, and Charmine Joseph for community service; Professor Ramsey Saunders and Edward Ramsumair for education; Victor Joseph and Kendal Chang for business; Merlyn Calliste for public service and Raymond Choo Kong in the sphere of arts.