Four Tobagonians including TT’s High Commission to the UK, Orville London, were among 14 veteran members of the People’s National Movement (PNM) honoured for their long-standing service to the party at the party’s 48th National Convention at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex on Sunday.
London, along with Tobagonians Neil Wilson, William McKenzie and Cynthia Alfred, were awarded the Dr Eric Williams Medal of Honour. The other awardees were Dr Lenny Saith, Joan Yuille-Williams, Marilyn Gordon, Deodath Ojah-Maharaj, Jarrette Narine, Overand Padmore, Lyle Thorne, Jean Elder, Hedwige Bereaux and Martin Joseph (Posthumously).
In his acceptance speech and on behalf of the other awardees, London, a former chief secretary, congratulated the persons who have conceptualised the idea to pay tribute to Dr Williams.
“We appreciate the signal honour that has been bestowed upon us as the first recipients of this award and we are grateful and humble.
“I am proud to share this moment and this stage with this powerful group of PNM stalwarts. As I looked at my colleagues, I concluded that although our CVs might read differently, there is one common qualification among us and that is, we can all speak about service to country, service to community, service to people through service through the People’s National Movement. ‘
“Therefore, this is a tribute not only to us but to the PNM, for what it stands for and for what it has contributed over the decades. The PNM is about inclusion and those who have traversed this stage… they personified inclusion.
“We came from different backgrounds, different geographical locations and even social strategies but although we have varied ethnicities and religious persuasions, we have always felt comfortable working with each other and working within a political organisation where your major responsibilities is to utilise your unique set of skills, talent, experience and expertise to serve the party and the people,” he said.
London advised PNMites gathered at the convention to enhance their capacity to serve, contribute and make a positive difference.
“When things are good, we make them better. When the situation is bad, we fix them and if there was ever a fix it time in this country, it is now.
“I implore you, as we go through this latest fix-it period, there might be moments of frustration or even doubt, but I wish to remind all of us that one of the reason why we, the awardees, were on this stage receiving these awards, is that regardless of the circumstances, we remained committed to the party… It was not out of blind loyalty, but it was with the confidence that as long as we remained focused, realistic and united, Trinidad and Tobago and the PNM will weather any storm,” he said.
In congratulating the awardees, Prime Minister and Political Leader of the PNM, Dr Keith Rowley, commended them as “they who have toiled tirelessly in the vineyards and held the forth through thick and thin. Always committed to the highest ideals of this venerable organisation, confident in their belief that great is the PNM and we shall prevail. Thank you… we honour you, we are humbled by your outstanding record of service to party and country.”