When contacted, Express columnist Prof Bridget Brereton, in a telephone interview, said: “I did find it surprising to hear the Prime Minister (Kamla Persad-Bissessar) make this public announcement since it appeared to be bypassing the national awards which is chaired by the Chief Justice (Ivor Archie). It is surprising the PM should come right and make that statement.”
Brereton, St Augustine campus historian emeritus, who was also chairman of the committee that recommended the Trinity Cross be replaced by the Order of the Republic of T&T, said the committee was not asked to consider the process by which national awards were given to worthy citizens.
She added: “I chaired the committee. We were not asked or discussed the process by which people get national awards. However, it is public knowledge the Prime Minister has had a role to play. It is public knowledge the public can nominate citizens whom they think are deserving of these awards. What Manning said is probably correct. However, prime ministers do have a role.”