Former Independent Senator Dr Eastlyn McKenzie has been recognised as the Community Champion Icon of 2019.
Dr Mac, as she is fondly called, received the top honour on Thursday as the THA Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour honoured and celebrated 51 community champions for outstanding service to the development of their communities.
While this was not the first year of the Community Champion awards, it was the first time an icon was recognised.
Among this year's community champions at the division’s conference hall in Glen Road, Scarborough, were JoseAnn Dyer, Rheanne Moore, Barbara Baynes, Allister James, Kenneth Ottley, James Campbell, Mary Jacob-Pantin, Brian Browne, Garnet Woods, Beryl Thomas, Meryl John, Marcia Melville, Michael Wright, Jedidiah Marcelle, Kerwin John, LLyoyen Scotland, Ann Dennis, Claudia Benjamin, Margaret Wright, Dexter Edwards and Newton George.
Addressing the ceremony, Community Development Secretary Marslyn Melville-Jack said community development is nothing more than people development, and the efforts ofthe division are all geared towards fulfilling this mandate.
“Over the years, you the awardees have played an integral role in this process of people development. You have contributed to shaping the social, economic and cultural conditions of our communities. Your involvement in the sphere of community development cannot be measured and for this, we owe you a debt of gratitude,” she said.
The Secretary said while there is still significant work to be done in restoring communities and the nation, by extension, to the tranquil state once enjoyed, the fact that in Tobago people still live in relative peace and safety can be celebrated.
She added that while the division has a facilitatory role to play in building and empowering communities, it is the community stalwarts who champion the cause, taking a leadership role in operationalising the division’s vision.
“While no amount of accolades can repay you for the years of dedicated service to the development of the island, this ceremony represents just a small token of our appreciation and love to you for the work you have done and continue to do in this beautiful island of Tobago. Your action together with your shared commitment to serve have contributed to making each of your communities greater,” she said as she went further to beseech the awardees.
“Showing appreciation is one of life’s motivators and it inspires persons to do more, and therefore taking time off to acknowledge the contributions that one has made can only augur well for the development of our communities.
“Awardees... continue to be beacons in your communities so that other residents can become inspired and motivated to emulate this path of great success. We all know that the reward for good work is more work, therefore I look forward to your continued support and partnership as we seek to develop and transform our island community by community."
The Community champion awards made way for the division’s sport and family day at the Buccoo Integrated Facility on Friday.