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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Former govt minister gets TT’s highest award

WENDELL MOTTLEY, 77, former minister and Olympic medallist will be awarded the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT) at today’s National Awards ceremony being hosted at NAPA in Port of Spain.

The Chaconia Medal (Gold) will be awarded to Newsday’s executive editorial consultant Jones P. Madeira, medical practitioner Dr Romesh Mootoo, haematologist Dr Waveney Charles, Central Bank former governor Ewart Williams and former culture minister Joan Yuille-Williams.

Mottley served as a Senator, and then St Ann’s MP from 1991 to 1996. He was finance minister (1992 to 1995) in the first Patrick Manning government. Previously, he was both housing minister (1981 to 1985) and industry ministry (1985 to 1986) in the George Chambers administration.

More recently, Mottley served on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s Energy Task Force, and in negotiations for a Sandals Resort in Tobago.

At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Mottley won a silver medal in the 400 metres and bronze in the 4x400 metres relay.

Newsday was unable to reach him yesterday as all calls to his cellphone went straight to voice-mail.

Madeira told Newsday how happy he was at Mottley’s award. “He is one of those quiet people who served the country very well, by his brightness, forbearance and skills,” Madeira related. “I have interviewed him several times.”


On his own award, Madeira reflected, “It’s been a good ride. Arima is my home and this one’s for Arima.”

He was glad his family will witness it, including his mother and wife. “Naturally one is overwhelmed that the work I’ve done over a lifetime has been recognised. I’m humbled. ”

Madeira said his work had spanned broadcast and print media and corporate communications, in the UK and in the Caribbean, a region he hoped he had helped to be able to see itself. “This one is not for me but for those who continue to aspire to make our nation great.”

Saying he wants to contribute in the winter of his life, Madeira hoped today’s awardees could form themselves into a group to continue to work for the country’s good.

He reflected that the award might also recognise the journalist’s role at moments of crisis, such as the 1990 attempted coup during which he had helped to calm and console other hostages at ttt.

“I also accept this on behalf of the hostages at ttt, to see us through the darkest moments.”

Madeira said that as ttt former head of news he had met successive Speakers to gradually help get television coverage of the Budget speech and then other MPs contributions at Parliament.


Madeira is the fourth Newsday journalist to be awarded a national honour. Former Editor in Chief Therese Mills, who died in 2014, won a Humming Bird Medal (Silver) in 1987 and Chaconia Medal (Gold) in 2012. Retired associate editor John Babb won a Humming Bird Medal (Gold) in 2012 and former staff writer Dr Kris Rampersad, who wrote Newsday’s first ever lead story, rounds off the list as she will today receive the Medal for the Development of Women (Gold).

Madeira paid tribute to the team at Newsday which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, whom he said work extremely hard where he has been editor in chief and then editorial consultant for the past four years.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Dr Rampersad said, “This award is for the nameless and voiceless women and others whom I have tried to represent, whose stories I have written and whose views I have tried to articulate variously as a journalist, an advocate, an activist, as an author, educator and media practitioner in the quest for equity and inclusion; and to open up spaces for women and advance a level playing field for all.”

Rampersad dedicated the award to her mother.

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