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Thursday 15 November 2018
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In their honour

One of the heroes of World War II, Philip Louis Ulric Cross, and a former First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs Zalayhar Hassanali, were among the four persons saluted yesterday with the country’s highest award, the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Mr Cross, a retired judge, received his award for his work in the field of Law, while Mrs Hassanali received her accolade for her contribution to community service.

The other Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago recipients were well-known businesswoman, Mrs Helen Bhagwansingh, and retired businessman, Anthony Norman Sabga. Meanwhile, another front line business executive, Robert (Bob) Yorke was given the Chaconia Medal (Gold), along with attorney at law, Mrs Stephanie Daly; Louis Patrick Arnold, arranger, and Pundit Hardath Maharaj. Hazel Angela Brown, Coordinator of the Network of NGOs, received the Medal for the Development of Women (Gold), along with former senator, Diana Mahabir-Wyatt.

Meanwhile, the sterling contributions in community work in Beetham Gardens of retired police inspector Sheila Prince and police officer, Derrick Sharbodie, for his service in Diego Martin did not go unrecognised as they were presented with the Public Service Medal of Merit (Silver) by President George Maxwell Richards before a clearly appreciative audience.

It was Trinidad and Tobago’s 49th Independence Day awards since the nation gained its freedom in 1962 and the wide range of medals and recipients were a truthful reflection of the appreciation of a grateful nation for their contribution to TT’s economic and social development over the years.

Of special interest is that Fr Clyde Harvey, long respected not only in the field of religion but in service to the community as well, had his decades long work recognised with the Humming Bird Medal (Gold).

Another recipient of the award was former Calypso Monarch, Denyse Plummer. Fr Harvey’s medal was for religion and community service while Plummer’s was listed as entertainer.

Irma Ipanya Simonette, wife of a former general secretary of the People’s National Movement, Nicholas Simonette, was in the Humming Bird Medal (Silver) row along with the Malick Tassa Drummers and the Dow Village Ramleela and Cultural Organisation Incorporated, all three for their work in culture.

The Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) category embraced retired Major General Edmund Ernest Dillon; a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mrs Margaret Sampson-Browne; Mrs Gladys Gafoor, a retired Judge; Dr Austin Trinidade, an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, and Pundit Hardeo Persad, a retired school teacher.

No one should underestimate the importance of the annual Independence Day national awards as they serve not only to bring to the wider attention of the public the work of persons who have made unstinting contributions to Trinidad and Tobago, but act as a spur to others, whether young, middle aged or not so young, to strive to build their country. We should like to emphasise that the accent is not on the awards but on the work itself. Indeed, Trinidad and Tobago is full of unsung heroes. In turn, many of those saluted have awards bestowed on them posthumously.

For example, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s foremost figures in the field of establishing and directing facilities for the education of poor and even challenged children, Desmond Allum, was awarded the Chaconia Medal (Silver) posthumously for his long and dedicated work in the field of community service. Allum, who was better known as an attorney at law and in the field of politics, quietly and without ceremony for decades sought to help literally scores of children from economically disadvantaged families residing mainly in the St Ann’s and Cascade areas.

Newsday congratulates all of the awardees of this year’s Independence Day celebrations and salutes their fine work and unselfish contributions.

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