Officials at President’s House expressed disappointment over the disclosure by relatives of soca artiste Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez that he is to receive the Hummingbird Medal Silver in the National Awards presentation on Republic Day on Sunday. Sources said nominees are strictly cautioned not to publicise the impending award before the presentation ceremony.
However, news of Bunji’s award was posted on social media by his wife and fellow soca artiste Faye-Ann Lyons and picked up and reported by a newspaper.
President’s House stated yesterday that while it regretted the convention had been broken in this case, there is no penalty.
“It is of concern when people breach such a protocol,” said a source. “We could understand people are happy and so on, but it could wait.” The source added that it would be no excuse if the breach was committed by an excited family member because, “the recipient would have instructed the family member of the protocol involved here.”
The source added that, “I know there are the others who would surely like to jump up and tell the world that they have received a National Award but because of the protocol they are restrained from doing so.” Observers are speculating that Calypso Rose and internationally known broadcaster, Sir Trevor McDonald will receive the Order of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT), the country’s highest award, at the presentation function. However, there was no confirmation of this from The President’s House.
The President’s House official said that awardees are usually allowed one guest but since coming into office, President Anthony Carmona decided the occasion is the awardee’s day and had liberalised the process by giving each awardee the privilege of inviting two to three other people.