Saturday, December 16, 2017

A celebration of achievers

‘Express’ marks 37th Individual of the Year awards

We have come together for the highlight of what, in its 37th year, has become an historic exercise for the Express. This is also, we make bold to claim, a signal event for Trinidad and Tobago—the republic of which we of the Express are ever proud to call ourselves “the national newspaper”.

Today’s award ceremony for the 2013 Express Individual of the Year comes at the end of an especially tumultuous 12-month period. As always, details of this have been reported fully, and colourfully, in the pages of the Express.

But today’s event marks a celebration time for outstanding achievers in Trinidad and Tobago’s national life, and its

varied endeavours.

Maybe more than ever before, when some observers have been recognising and deploring what they see as expressions of “anger” in our society, it is needful to rejoice in aspects and areas of life which give a lift to our collective spirit and which also deliver on the promise of excellence, of which we know Trinidad and Tobago people are capable.

Overwhelmingly impressive among such endeavours have been those of our iconic George Bovell.

Again and again, and notably over the last year, his performances in swimming have brought glory to our country and awakened us to possibilities, maybe too long overlooked, in that sport.

Over a year of uneven outcomes in other sporting disciplines, it has been George Bovell who, in a consistent pattern of exploits, has held the national colours aloft, raised our spirits and stirred our hopes.

Nine years after he brought home from Athens this country’s first Olympic medal in swimming, George Bovell added 13 medals to his much-decorated trophy cabinet—one gold, five silver and seven bronze—in the FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Cup.

In competition against Olympic-level international swimmers, he won the presti­gious 2013 Jax 50 sprint challenge.

His 2013 triumphs also marked a defiance of the effects of injury, which had threatened to slow him down. Overcoming that challenge, he rose to gain worldwide acknow­ledgement as one of the most respected competitors in the blue-ribbon event of swimming.

George Bovell has also made time, nationally and internationally, for social and charitable contributions. In various parts of this country, he has conducted free swimming clinics.

At Paria Falls, on the north coast, in a memorable demonstration of his willingness to be of service to all of Trinidad and Tobago, he proved willing and able to save a deer from drowning.

Again, as lifesaver and life enhancer, and athlete extraordinaire, George Bovell took part in the signal event of the 2013 Swim Against Malaria in Uganda.

All hail then: George Bovell, Express Individual of the Year 2013!

And now, as we move to other categories of awards, it is my privilege and honour to raise a salute to Express Youth of the Year Jeromy Rodriguez

A junior high achiever at the age of just 12, Jeromy has quickly become a role model for all youth.

In his pursuit of positive and constructive pathways in culture, the arts and society, Jeromy claimed the distinction of becom­ing the 2013 National Junior Soca Monarch.

From this platform, in last May, he launched the Anti-Bullying Association. This entailed collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service in a nationwide school anti-bullying campaign.

Jeromy’s anti-bullying dedication has also led him to record television and radio ads to promote the noble cause of standing up for the right to attend school and to take part in related activities, without being violently or psychologically molested.

Congratulations to Jeromy Rodriguez,

Express Youth of the Year 2013!

May you continue to find success in

gi­ving effect to your singular personal mission of community service and cultural upliftment.

In continuing to execute its mandate, our annual Individual of the Year exercise spotlights worthy activities taking place at the local community level, but as yet without a national profile.

I am thus gratified to acknowledge and to pay tribute to Moruga’s own St Vincent Ferrer Society, which has been selected our 2013 Community Group of the Year.

The St Vincent Ferrer Society, founded in 2005 and based within the Roman Catholic fellowship, has been reaching out to youths and to homeless and vulnerable villagers, especially those identified by risky behaviours.

The society has expanded its influence among and firmed up its connections with students of UWI (The University of the West Indies) and of UTT (The University of Trinidad and Tobago). It has also established ties with like-minded organisations in the US, Canada and Italy.

Emphasising sport, history, culture,

religion and the environment, the St

Vincent Ferrer Society has notably engaged in environmental clean-ups and in historical and ancient exploration in the Moruga area.

Outstanding among its tangible accomplishments are three 30-foot St Peter’s monuments, as well as the Columbus Monument at the Punta de la Playa and the discovery of ten Amerindian

heritage sites.

My warmest congratulations to St Vincent Ferrer Society, the Express 2013 Community Group of the Year!

Please accept my best wishes and my prayers that you will, through continuing efforts at upholding and moving forward your perspectives and your projects, find the successes that you so richly deserve.

On behalf of One Caribbean Media, the Caribbean Communications Network, and the Trinidad Express Newspapers, I extend sincere congratulations to all who were nominated for the 2013 Express Individual of the Year Award.

The year 2013 has been equally full of exciting and of wrenching experiences. Now, we will all surely agree that 2014 has already produced its share of misgivings.

It’s in the light of these sometimes trying times that the activities, the efforts and the accomplishments of individuals assiduously aspiring and achieving in their own ways that give this nation hope and reaffirm its boundless faith in our destiny.

May you all, may we all, continue to strive towards the common ends of personal and organisational fulfilment, and of national advancement.

I thank the Express/CCN organisers of this award programme and of today’s award event. Let me also extend appreciation for the responses of our print and online readers who have importantly contributed their inputs.

Thank you all for being here, and let

me again express congratulations to the winners and to all those nominated, and

to exhort you all resolutely to stay on

the exemplary paths that you have


Thank you.