THE country's first Olympic medallist and first Olympic gold medallist were honoured by the San Fernando City Corporation last Friday night for their contributions to the city of San Fernando and the country.
Even though Rodney Wilkes and Hasely Crawford were not present to collect their plaques at a ceremony at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) south campus car park, their names were mentioned and the awards will be given to them at a later date.
Wilkes copped the country's first medal at the London 1948 Olympics and was nicknamed the "Mighty Midget", after lifting a combined 700 pounds to gain a silver medal at the Games.
Crawford won the 100 metres sprint in 1976 at the Games in Montreal, Canada. The two medallists live in San Fernando.
They were two of the 50 people being honoured as part of the city's Independence celebrations.
Other people who received awards last Friday included former deputy mayor of San Fernando Dr Allen Sammy, Justice Anthony Lucky and Dr Austin Trinidade.
All former mayors of the city are also being honoured. They are being honoured over a three-day period at the Independence Cultural Village at the car park.
The Village is one of the five major events planned by the Corporation in celebration of the 50th year of Independence. It began last Friday with a cultural show and will end today.
The Ministry of Local Government has allocated $390,000 to the city for its celebrations.
At the Village, there will be nightly performances by different cultural groups, bouncy castles, face painting, information booths from several ministries and several food items on sale. The Village is open to the public from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
On Friday, visitors were delighted with the lit fountain in the car park and asked that the campus be opened to the public.
Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas who was present at the opening ceremony, said the facility will open before Republic Day on September 24.
San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali said there will be a fireworks display and light show on Independence (Friday) night at 8.30. He encouraged the public to be near San Fernando Hill where the display will take place.
He said the show will be "one of the best displays you have ever seen".
Member of Parliament for San Fernando West Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan was also present.