SAN FERNANDO kicked off the 33rd anniversary of City Week on Sunday with a church service and awards ceremony when the key to the city was presented to Dr Edmund Chamley.
Chamely, who has served in every organisations in the medical field and in numerous service organisations, including the Community Chest and the Scout Association, said he was grateful and humbled by the honour.
The key was blessed by Father Jayson Grell and presented to him by San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello. Regrello said Chamley has distinguished himself in the city across every stratum, touching the lives of many with an abundance of energy.
“As he reaches the vortex of his career, the San Fernando City Corporation is saying thank you to Dr Edmund Chamely, a quintessential San Fernandian, for your contribution to our people of San Fernando.”
Cyclist Nicholas Lee Paul was among the awardees presented with a citation for his many sporting feat in the sphere of spots.
Paul is competing in the Champions League Circuit in Spain, Lithuania, London and Israel and was absent. His dad, Darren, received the award on his behalf.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Dr Chamley said, “Each of us living souls have been gifted with talent from God and He expects us to use these talents in his name.
“Those of us in service organisations realise once these talents are used for good, goodness multiplies exponentially and success, God willing, ensues.
“Every honour should be directed, therefore, to where it belongs - to God - and I thank him for whatever successes he has allowed through me.
“What comes out of success in service is a deep sense of gratitude and humility. Today the city of San Fernando has seen it fit to bestow on me the honour of the keys to the city where I have spent the better part of my fourth score in life.”
He thanked the mayor and councilors for the accolade.
“On behalf of my wife, Josephine, my family who has always supported me in everything I have done, all team members and myriad of organisations I belong to who have allowed me to serve this great country by giving service without charge.”
Three employees who collectively contributed 119 years of service to the city corporation received long service awards at the ceremony held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando.
They are Claudius Halloway, Jacqueline Caesar and Allison Roderick Halloway who headed the plumbing department for 47 years.
Caesar started as a clerk typist in 1980 and worked in every department, ending her 41 years of service as an assistant to the CEO.
As she was presented with her award, Roderick, who is retiring after 31 years in the city treasurer’s department, was described as a “hard act to follow’ and a “shining example of the habit of excellence.”
Brij Bala Maharaj, founder of Bridge Maharaj Auto and Heritage Museum, received his award in the sphere of History. Among his treasures are 30 vehicles from the pre- World War era.
Businesswoman Laxmi Patel, the granddaughter of an Indian immigrant who came to Trinidad and set up a jewelry shop in San Fernando in 1930, was honoured for her contribution to business.
Twenty-six years after his death, Clemy George’s legacy of the outstanding contribution he made to culture and arts in San Fernando and Trinidad and Tobago, was also recognised on Sunday.
George was described as a Renaissance man, who made his mark as a historian, amateur opera singer, comedian, Pan Africanist and masman.
He had the distinction of having his queen, Esther Theodore, becoming the first Afro-Trinidadian to win the national Queen of the Band title.
Awards were presented without any shaking of hands and before a sparse audience.
Having to scale down celebrations due to the pandemic, Regrello said it is the reason the theme selected was Your Health is Our Wealth.
“We see this as a collective responsibility to be undertaken by our citizens.”
In this vein, he said, the famous '100 steps' had been refurbished, complete with solar lighting, to facilitate outdoor fitness activities. Together with Skinner Park, which is under construction, Regrello urged citizens not to gamble with their health.
He said the reports of the negative impact of lack of exercise and poor diet leading to rampant increase in non-communicable diseases must be taken seriously.
He said the city corporation will begin to better entertain events and policy-related issues that encompass a shift towards creating better health outcome for citizens.