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No ORTT award today

By SEAN DOUGLAS Sunday, August 31 2014

PRESIDENT of the Republic Anthony Carmona will tonight present awards to 45 citizens (or their representatives) or groups that have given distinguished service to their nation in a variety of fields and endeavours.

Murdered senior counsel, Dana Seetahal, and former Minister of National Security, the late Brig Gen Joseph Theodore, will each be honoured with the award of the Chaconia (Gold) Medal, at tonight’s Independence Day National Awards Ceremony at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, according to a list released by President’s House yesterday.

The duo is among seven deceased persons due to be given posthumous awards.

Seetahal, whose murder after leaving a casino remains unsolved, will be honoured for service to Trinidad and Tobago in the sphere of Law. Theodore, a retired chief of defence staff whose career included serving during the 1990 attempted coup, will be honoured for Military Service.

The duo is among five persons to be given the Chaconia Medal (Gold), which will also be presented to lecturer Prof Brinsley Samaroo (for education/public service), entrepreneur/ businessman Issa Nicholas (for/business) and voluntary social worker, Rasheeda Ibrahim.

The list suggests no one will receive the country’s highest award, the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT), which Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar had originally proposed to give to former prime ministers Patrick Manning and Basdeo Panday. Manning had publicly declined the offer, while Panday has hitherto not said if he would accept the award or not but the omission of Panday’s name from the list suggests he declined the award.

The Chaconia Medals (in all three classes) are given for “long and meritorious service to Trinidad and Tobago” in relevant spheres.

The Chaconia (Silver) will be given to three awardees, two of whom are posthumous. These are steelband tuner/innovator, Rudolph “The Hammer” Charles (1938 to 1985), who led Desperadoes Steelband to six Panorama victories until his death at age 46, now being recognised for culture/community service, plus trade unionist, Michael Als, who led the Bank and General Workers Union (BGWU) and then the Toco Foundation where he ran a radio station, now being recognised for community service. The third awardee is Seventh Day Adventist Church pastor, Clive Dottin, now honoured for religion/education/community service).

The Chaconia Medal (Bronze) will be given to three persons.

Pastor Winston Mansingh who led an AIDS awareness campaign, is now honoured for religion/community service, along with minister of religion, the Right Reverend Adlyn Williams-St Louis. Educator Velma Jardine, who founded a long-standing secretarial college, is now recognised for education. The Hummingbird Medal (Gold) will be awarded to retired engineer Gregorio Marchan for community service, and posthumously to three deceased businessmen, namely restaurateur Maurice Soong; motorcar importer/retailer, Bolan Amar; and hardware retailer Azad Abass Ali.

The Hummingbird Medals (in all three classes) are given for “loyal and devoted service to Trinidad and Tobago” in the relevant spheres.

The Hummingbird Medal (Silver) will be given to architect, John Gillespie for architecture; the TT REACT Team who are providers of two-way communication (who help monitor Carnival’s Parade of the Bands) for community service, and electrician Nicholas Seucharan who died by drowning at Mayaro while saving two boys, who will be honoured for gallantry.

Ten persons will receive the Hummingbird Medal (Bronze).

These include South Trinidad animal welfare activist, hairdresser Ms Jowelle De Souza (formerly Mr Joel De Souza), being honoured for community service, in which sphere will also be recognised businessman Subesh Ramjattan and Pundit Nandran Dan Maharaj. The award also goes to two fishermen, Michael Jack and Winston Ayers, for gallantry. Musicians Ashford Joseph and Rudolph Sitahal, and singer Jameer Hosein, will be recognised for culture. The medal also goes to cosmetologist Joan Seudat for business and cricketer Anisa Mohammed for sport.

The Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) has six awardees.

These are medical practitioner, Dr Gordon Narayansingh for medicine; retired permanent secretary, Jennifer Boucaud-Blake and retired commissioner of prisons, John Rougier, for public service.; retired principal Dr Allan Mc Kenzie for education; Defence Force chaplain Major Fr Matthew Ahye for religion/public service; and educator and former independent senator Rev Daniel Teelucksingh for religion/community service.

The Public Service Medal of Merit (Silver) will go to retired senior lecturer, Dr Brader Brathwaite, for education and to retired public servant, Clyde Forde, for sport. The Public Service Medal of Merit (Bronze) will be awarded to retired public servant, Harold Nemai, for public and community service; retired police officer, Earl Skeete, for sport; and retired principal, Irving Hoosainie, for public service. The Medal for the Development of Women (Gold) will be given to six awardees. These are attorney Helen Persad-Maharaj for community service; retired educator and former government minister, Dr Daphne Philips, for public service and education; organisation the Mary Care Centre for community service; midwife Debrah Lewis for community service and midwifery; Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre president, Sister Hemlata Sanghi, for community service; and organisation Women in Action for the Needy and Destitute for community service.

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