Point Fortin pays tribute to its heroes

Point Fortin Mayor Saleema Thomas, middle, joins awardees at the Point Fortin Borough Corporation's 42nd anniversary Civic Reception on May 3. Photo by Marvin Hamilton
Point Fortin Mayor Saleema Thomas, middle, joins awardees at the Point Fortin Borough Corporation's 42nd anniversary Civic Reception on May 3. Photo by Marvin Hamilton

INSPIRATIONAL stories of ordinary and extraordinary people of Point Fortin, who have distinguished themselves in the service of others, were highlighted as the borough recognised and honoured them in commemoration of its 42nd anniversary.

Comedian-actor, radio personality and all-round artiste Damion Melville, was one of two people who received awards for excellence in the field of arts and culture. Joseph Lett, pannist extraordinaire, was the second recipient.

Lett, who is known as the “melodic pan man” at funerals, has been instrumental in introducing a music ministry to many of the churches in Point Fortin and in having pan introduced in schools in the borough, the latter with the support of Atlantic LNG and Bechtel.

He is also the founder of New Creation Steel Orchestra which dominated Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival in the 1990s and one of the organisers of the borough’s Pan-on-the-Move.

In her absence, dancer and recreation therapist Cathy-Ann Branker-Diamond, one of the premier dancers with New York-based Something Positive Performing Arts company for the past 33 years, was recognised for bringing international acclaim to Point Fortin through the performing arts.

Through several non-profit organisations in TT and abroad, Dr Syian Hinds, who is attached to the San Fernando General Hospital, has volunteered her services as a way of giving back to the community which nurtured her. For her selfless devotion she was awarded in the sphere of health and wellness.

Lusty applause greeted the announcement of an award for special Olympics athlete and coach, Anderson Modeste, for courage, determination and perseverance at the civic and recognition awards ceremony on May 3.

Known as “Doc,” because of his regular visits to the doctor due to his poor health as a child, Modeste overcame limited use of his right hand and his ability to walk again, at age five, when a blood clot was removed from his head.

Growing up, disability kept him away from actively pursuing any sporting discipline, but renowned basketballer, Victor “Voot” O’Garro recognised his passion and longing to play the game and encouraged him to try out for the Special Olympics Team.

Voot’s belief in him led Doc to represent TT at the Special Olympics in Connecticut, USA in 1995 and in Ireland in 2003.

Currently involved as an assistant coach to the Veterans’ Basketball team, Doc said he does not see his disability as a liability and wholeheartedly believes he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.

Internationally-acclaimed footballer Sean De Souza who played for Club Uniao De Coimbra and FC Sony, after distinguishing himself in TT, along with Natasha Fox, outstanding track and field athlete, were recognised for their contribution to sports.

Fox dubbed The Golden Fox is a scholarship student attending the Edwin Allen High School in Jamaica where she recently distinguished herself at the 2022 Carifta Games, helping her team to secure bronze in the 400m hurdles, and silver, at the Penn Relays held in Pennsylvania, USA in April.

For their outstanding contribution to education, former alderman Ronnie Williams and Dr Alvinelle Matthew were lauded by the borough. Matthew, a Canada-Caricom scholarship recipient, has authored many publications and presented papers in Jamaica, Barbados, United States, Canada and Ireland.

A member of the board of both the Caribbean Nazarene College and Point Fortin Police Youth Group, advisor to the mayor and council. Matthew is also the vice-president, human resources COSTAATT and was recently one of 76 scholars selected to study workforce development as a Study of United States Institutes (SUSI).

Businessman and philanthropist Roger Carrington and entrepreneur Claudia Mc Guire, well known for her charitable outreach programme, including distribution of monthly hampers, were recognised for their community service.

Receiving awards for religion were Pastor Wilma Kelly, a prison’s chaplain; Bishop Donald Hackshaw, an international evangelist, and (posthumously) the late Rev Dominic D Maithland. Pastor Cherylann Maxime, who has dedicated her life to the service of youth and women development, and providing meals for police officers at different stations, was honoured for personal triumph.

Brian James, former technical vocational teacher, has also distinguished himself as an innovator. He pioneered the “InnoSpace” concept in TT, creating opportunities for children from age five to acquire a level of proficiency in 3D design and printing, basic electronics, electricity and robotics. He was recognised for his innovation and technology.


"Point Fortin pays tribute to its heroes"

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