YOUNGEST HONOUREE: Deputy Mayor Keron Valentine presents Kleah Mannette with her award.

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Historic first for WeBeat

By Gary Cardinez

Eighteen-year-old Kleah Mannette created history on Friday evening by being the youngest honouree of the St James Community Improvement Committee (CIC). The committee broke with their tradition of honouring retired persons who have served the community.
The audience at the launch of the 14th edition of WeBeat at the St James Amphitheatre was made up of most of the past honourees who were very pleased with the CIC’s choice this year.
Mannette won the Dr Leroy Clarke Trophy for the Most Outstanding in the “Women in Art Competition” and followed that by winning the Republic Bank Trophy for “Graphics for Cooperative Use”. In the CXC examinations, Mannette placed ninth in the Caribbean in Art and earned distinctions in three categories.
An avid pannist, she is currently on PCS Silver Stars’ stage side and is also studying for her Level Five Certificate in music. She says art is music and the same way a story can be told through a song, it parallels what could be done with a painting.
The other honouree on Friday evening was actor/playwright/teacher/cultural ambassador Freddie Kissoon.
The 83-year-old founder of the Strolling Players has a long history in the arts and entertainment industry, having written over 70 plays and acted on stage over 200 times. He is specially noted for his classic local play Calabash Alley.
Kissoon has received several awards internationally and locally, among these is the distinguished Humming Bird Medal for his contribution to Culture-Drama and Theatre.
Also attending the honourees award presentation were Minister of Justice Emmanuel George, Deputy Mayor of Port of Spain Keron Valentine and Joan Yullie-Williams.
Deputy Mayor Valentine officially opened WeBeat and helped in the presentation of the awards.
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