Prof Clement Imbert, Prof John Agard, and Prof Pathmanathan Umaharan are the recipients of the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the nation’s highest award, for 2023.
The ORTT may be awarded to anyone (citizen or non-citizen) who has rendered distinguished and outstanding service to TT.
The list of awardees was released by President''s House on Saturday ahead of the award ceremony at President's House this evening.
In its release on the National Awards, President’s House said Imbert is being honoured for innovation, steelpan technology, education and culture and the arts.
“He currently serves at the UWI as University Professor (Emeritus) in mechanical /metallurgical engineering. As part of both the engineering and education fraternity, he was able to use his knowledge to assist in securing accreditation for the local engineering fraternity.
“He has worked on several boards including UTT, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute and the Accreditation Council of TT.
“Prof Imbert has contributed significantly to the development of the steelpan. He is co-founder of the UWI Steelpan Development Centre and a member of the team that developed the G-Pan.”
Agard is being recognised for environment/climate change and biodiversity protection.
He is the executive director of the Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development at UWI.
“His research is widely recognised regionally and internationally, from natural resources management, water quality, marine and terrestrial ecology to the impact of climate change on natural and human systems.
“Prof Agard served as co-chair to a group of independent scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General to draft the second quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report in 2023. His vision is that of a society which recognises other forms of wealth including biodiversity that exist beyond the limit of GDP.”
Umaharan is being recognised for his services in the spheres of science/agricultural development. He is the director of the Cocoa Research Centre at the UWI. As director, Umaharan oversaw the conversion of the Cocoa Research Unit into a full-fledged campus centre.
“His research projects resulted in genetic approaches to overcome losses associated with disease, and improving tolerance to climate change. This has led the way to the development of the first molecular breeding programme in cocoa, a global DNA fingerprinting service, a quality certification service & the improvement of cocoa quality. Through his efforts the UWI has now been named by the EU as the top cocoa research institution globally.”
The Chaconia Medal may be awarded for long and meritorious service tending to promote national welfare or strengthen community spirit in TT.
This year’s medals have been awarded to Dr Bruce Paddington, founder and co-owner of Banyan Productions TT, for media/film industry; medical practitioner specialising in child and adolescent psychiatry Dr Jacqueline Sharpe for medicine/psychiatry; Langston Roach, executive chairman of Langston Roach Industries Ltd, for business and community; and Sieunarine Persad Coosal, executive director of Coosal's Construction Company, for entrepreneurship/philanthropy.
The Chaconia Medal, Silver, has been awarded to Exodus Steel Orchestra Leader Ainsworth Mohammed for contributions to culture and the arts/steelband management; Dr Calvin Inlalsingh (posthumously) for medicine/sports and philanthropy; management consultant Carlos Hee Houng for energy; former calypsonian Francine “Singing Francine” Edwards (posthumously) for culture and the arts; radio station owner/manager George Leacock for sports/media; Dr Radica Mahase for education, volunteerism and advocacy; Rishi Lakhan for culture and the arts; and Prof Surujpal Teelucksingh for medicine.
The Humming Bird Medal may be awarded for loyal and devoted service in any field of human endeavour or for gallantry or other humane action to TT.
Recipients of the Hummingbird Medal, Gold, are former National Scout Commissioner Azamuddin Khan for community development; TT Cricket Board president Azim Bassarath for sports/cricket administration; businesswoman Carol Ann Birchwood-James for tourism; social worker Shihan Marva John-Logan for community development, activism and social work; tent owner/manager Reynold Howard for culture and the arts; retired lecturer Richard Escalante for education; retired musician Rukminee Holas Beepath for culture and education; curriculum officer/sports broadcaster Samuel Badree for sport and education; former OSHA TT chairman Wayne Gerrard Bertrand (posthumously) for energy and education.
The Hummingbird Medal, Silver, is awarded to Ashton Ford for culture, community development and education; Carl Birjah for sport; Dr Daniel Parks, pastor, for faith-based community work and social services; gym manager Eric Mc Cree for community/youth and national development; businessman Harvey Borris for community service; Imam Imtiaz Ali (posthumously) for faith-based community work and social services; innovator Jim Phillip for culture and the arts; Kenson group founder Kenneth Ferguson for energy/national development; and Pastor Wilma Kelly for faith-based community work and social services.
The Hummingbird Medal, Bronze, for gallantry went to 11-year-old Rachel Bhagwandeen (posthumously). Bhagwandeen died in 2022 while protecting her nine-year-old brother from a dog attack.
The Public Service Medal of Merit may be awarded for outstanding and meritorious service to TT.
The 2023 awardees of the Public Service Medal of Merit, Gold, are retired permanent secretary Anthony Bartholomew for public service; consultant Beverley Khan for public policy and development planning; retired public official Enid A Zephyrine for public service; former nurse Gwendolyn Loobie-Snaggs (posthumously) for public service/health sector; and Leslie Reuben Hoyte for public service/sport and physical education.
The Silver medal awardees are retired Prison Service supervisor John Lopez for public service; and former principal Yasmin Rahaman Singh for public service.
Full list of National Awardees 2023
The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago awardees:
1. Prof Clement Imbert, university professor (emeritus), mechanical/metallurgic engineer, UWI, in the spheres of innovation/steelpan technology, education and culture and the arts.
As part of both the engineering and education fraternity, he was able to use his knowledge to assist in securing accreditation for the local engineering fraternity.
He has worked on several boards including the University of Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute and the Accreditation Council of TT.
Imbert has contributed significantly to the development of the steelpan. He is co-founder of the UWI Steelpan Development Centre, and a member of the team that developed the G-Pan.
2. Prof John Agard, executive director, Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development, UWI, in the spheres of environment/climate change and biodiversity protection.
His research is widely recognised regionally and internationally, from natural resources management, water quality, marine and terrestrial ecology to the impact of climate change on natural and human systems.
Agard served as co-chair to a group of independent scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General to draft the second quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report in 2023.
His vision is that of a society which recognises other forms of wealth including biodiversity that exist beyond the limit of GDP.
3. Prof Dr Pathmanathan Umaharan, director of the Cocoa Research Centre of the UWI, St Augustine Campus, in the spheres of science/agricultural development.
As director, Umaharan oversaw the conversion of the Cocoa Research Unit into a full-fledged campus centre.
His research projects resulted in genetic approaches to overcome losses associated with disease, and improving tolerance to climate change. This has led the way to the development of the first molecular breeding programme in cocoa, a global DNA fingerprinting service, a quality certification service and the improvement of cocoa quality.
Through his efforts the UWI has now been named by the European Union as the top cocoa research institution globally.
The Chaconia Medal for long and meritorious service tending to promote national welfare or strengthen community spirit.
The Chaconia Medal, Gold, awardees:
1. Dr Bruce Paddington, retired, in the spheres of media/film industry.
Paddington is the founder and co-owner of Banyan Productions TT. Banyan is an award-winning pioneering media production and consultancy company, servicing the Caribbean and international markets in the areas of television documentaries, dramas and public awareness campaigns on cultural, social, and development issues.
Paddington formed the Mucurapo Schools Community Project, providing audiovisual materials for Fatima College, Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive and Mucurapo Junior Secondary School. By using the production facilities of Banyan, he was able to produce video materials such as a series on Spanish language teaching. The project was so successful that it was absorbed into the television and audio-visual unit of the Ministry of Education. Paddington became the director and the unit produced several valuable programmes on authors such as Derek Walcott and George Lamming, along with groundbreaking recordings of interviews with vintage artists such as Growling Tiger.
Paddington produced hundreds of educational audio-visual materials developing the history and literature surrounding cinema in the region, training aspiring filmmakers and providing a platform upon which they can have their work shown and developed through workshops and seminars at film festivals.
2. Dr Jacqueline Sharpe, medical practitioner, specialty- psychiatry child and adolescent psychiatry, in the spheres of medicine/psychiatry.
Sharpe is currently a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Ministry of Health and director of the Child Guidance Clinic.
Sharpe has been a pioneer in providing psychiatric and psychological services to children and their families in TT. She established the Child Psychiatry Service and heads the only full-time child guidance clinic, providing evaluation and treatment for children and adolescents and their families.
In addition to direct clinical services, she provides indirect service which includes liaison work with primary, secondary and special schools, children’s homes, the Family Court and the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education.
3. Langston Roach, executive chairman, Langston Roach Industries Ltd, in the spheres of business and community.
Roach is a past director of the TT Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA).
As a director of the TTMA, Roach brought valuable insights and expertise to the organisation. He was always willing to share his knowledge and experience, acting as a mentor to many small to medium-size enterprises. Even as a current member, Roach continues to show his commitment to the TTMA and the wider community through his sponsorship of numerous events and initiatives.
Roach has been described as consummate entrepreneur, philanthropist, mentor and patriot.
4. Sieunarine Persad Coosal, executive director, in the spheres of entrepreneurship/philanthropy.
Coosal is the executive director of Coosal's Construction Company. He has successfully led his team to be recognised as one of the leading construction companies /contractors in TT.
In his efforts to honour his corporate social responsibility, he continues to partner with communities, schools and learning institutions and by extension, facilitated ventures geared to assist in the development of the social fabric. To that end, he has collaborated with the mission of Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.
The Chaconia Medal, Silver, awardees:
1 Ainsworth Mohammed, retired, in the spheres of culture and the arts/steelband management.
Mohammed, as the leader of Exodus Steel Orchestra since 1999, has led the band to success at national, regional and international Panorama and Music Festival competitions.
The steelband has toured extensively to all continents of the globe "preaching" the gospel of pan. Mohammed has also established a junior school, Exocubs, for 100 students ranging in age from five-21. He has designed and singularly managed the upgrade of Exodus' Pan Theatre in 2021/22.
Mohammed is among the longest-serving managers in the steelband movement and is often hailed in steelband circles as the best administrator in the industry. The band is known for its wholesome discipline and community spirit, but more than that, Mohammed has expanded his expertise to other steel orchestras in being a founding director of the International Steelband Foundation, which produces the Big 5 Steelband Concerts.
2. Dr Calvin Inalsingh (posthumously), doctor, in the spheres of medicine/sports and philanthropy.
Inalsingh was a former president of the Princess Elizabeth Home. Under his stewardship, the home went from a facility that encompassed not just the medical and physical needs of the children but also their educational needs.
Inalsingh was also a medical director and member of the Red Cross Society. He gave many years of voluntary service and used his influence in the community to encourage others to offer their service to those less fortunate.
Inalsingh was an avid sportsperson and served as team doctor for the TT national team.at the Pan American games, the Commonwealth games, the Caribbean and Central American games and the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles.
Inalsingh served as chairman of the TT Boxing Board of Control from 1993-1996 and as vice chairman of the medical advisory committee of the World Boxing Association.
3. Carlos Hee Houng, management consultant in the sphere of energy.
Hee Houng joined the Economic Studies and Planning Unit of the Industrial Development Corporation in 1972 and between 1975-1978, served as the CEO of the Co-ordinating Task Force that had responsibility for activities related to development of the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.
After the investment decision on the Fertrin project (1978), Hee Houng returned to energy-sector operations joining Fertrin, serving as the company’s project co-ordinating officer during the engineering and construction period. He was appointed as a government representative of Fertrin’s Technical Advisory Group (1978-1981), in which role he was able to promote the early recruitment of nationals to fill positions.
4. Francine Edwards, also known as Singing Francine, (posthumously), former calypsonian historian, in the spheres of culture and the arts.
Edwards was well known in the calypso arena, where she was able to hold her own and gain prominence in a male-dominated field.
Over her 51-year career Singing Francine used the medium of calypso to champion the female cause in the calypso arena, seeking to place women’s issues on the front burner through the medium of calypso. She was Calypso Queen in 1973, 1981 and 1983.
Singing Francine also used her melodious voice to comment on other topical issues or to help her audience find a deeper meaning to life. Francine’s style was always to make her audiences listen to her lyrics above the melody. Even in her up-tempo calypsos such as Carnival Fever and Cool It Down, there was always a storyline, the very essence of the artform.
5. George Leacock, radio station owner/manager, in the spheres of sports/media.
Leacock was tasked with setting up the first Division of Sport in Tobago. With limited resources, over a nine-year period, his achievements included the creation of elite athlete programmes at the division that led to the success of athletes across the island in national and international competitions.
Leacock’s combined experiences as a player, coach, and administrator, with a special knack for event management, have led to a series of appointments to execute large sporting events on the island. These include the opening of the Dwight Yorke Stadium, the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and the Carifta games. The FIFA tournament received 39 of 40 possible points for event management.
The Carifta games, which Tobago managed on six weeks' notice after the original hosts defaulted, are on record as the first in the history of the games to run to a time script. Leacock was the chairman of a task force to deliver the Tobago leg of the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games which he achieved with resounding success.
6. Dr Radica Mahase, lecturer, in the spheres of education, volunteerism and advocacy.
Mahase is distinguished as an educator and historian. She has published extensively in the field of history, specialising in Indian indentureship and culture of TT. She also co-authored a textbook on Caribbean history which is widely used throughout the Caribbean.
Mahase has also created opportunities for autistic people through the establishment of Rahul’s Clubhouse, an autism centre in Gopaul Lands, Marabella. This is a one-of-a-kind centre: both autistic children and young adults can participate in sensory-oriented programmes tailored to their specific needs.
Mahase founded an NGO solely based on the concept of volunteerism. She has focused on youth and so far, has trained approximately 350 youth volunteers between ten and 30 to work with autistic people.
7. Rishi Lakhan, retired, in the spheres of culture and the arts.
In 1988, Lakhan was elected the first president of the St James Working Council and successfully organised the very first St James Children Carnival, now in its 35th year. That same year he designed and led the novel Christmas decorative street lighting across the Western Main Road in St James, which was adopted by communities across TT.
In 1993, as councillor for the electoral district of St James East on the Port of Spain City Council, Lakhan was instrumental in the formation and establishment of the St James/Cocorite Hosay Association and successfully lobbied the Ministry of Community Development on behalf of the association.
As a manager of his own retail business establishment in St James, in 1981, his mobilisation of the St James business community and his vibrant advocacy to call for the amendment to the ordinance for 24-hour shopping was successful and benefited the entire country. St James is now known as the city that does not sleep.
8. Prof Surujpal Teelucksingh, doctor, in the sphere of medicine.
Teelucksingh has played a key role in the development of national and regional monographs on a variety of diseases including dengue, diabetes, obesity and malaria.
Teelucksingh has received multiple accolades for his pioneering work and groundbreaking research in medical education locally with the introduction of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination in 1998. These examinations helped re-engineer the medical curriculum across the UWI campuses and have been used as a template by other institutions as a model and example of clinical excellence, quality and assurance.
The Humming Bird Medal awardees.
1. Azamuddin Khan, retired, in the sphere of community development.
Khan excelled in all levels of scout leadership training, completing three levels of scout leadership training, culminating in the award of his Wood Badge Beads, the highest level.
Khan gave back his knowledge and experience to the youth of TT for a further 20 years by joining up with the National Training Team. Khan demonstrated resilience, durability, dedication and all the components of good management.
Khan rose to the top of scouting to be National Scout Commissioner in charge of scouting in TT and held that portfolio for six years.
2. Azim Bassarath, TT Cricket Board president, vice president Cricket West Indies, in the spheres of sports/cricket administration.
Bassarath has fostered and grown youth development cricket programmes at every age level.
He has contributed to the expansion of women's cricket development, assisting in building girls’ participation at the various schools and national levels.
He has reached out to rural communities by implementing cricket caravans to geographical areas such as Toco, Cedros and Tobago to unearth new talent.
He has been successful in transforming the TT Cricket Board into a modern organisation by introducing up-to-date technology and cricket techniques.
Under his tenure international players such as Keiron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Nicholas Pooran and Anisa Mohammed have come to the forefront.
3. Carol Ann Birchwood-James, businesswoman, in the sphere of tourism.
Birchwood-James has spent 33 years in the tourism sector in Tobago.
James was president of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association from 2007-2011 and vice president from August 2011 to March 2023.
James was a member of the Tourism Development Company from 2011-2015, serving as a member of the finance committee and the marketing representative on the board.
She also served as a member of the Tobago Standing Committee, established to increase visitor arrivals and to address the impact on Tobago’s tourism and its stakeholders.
During her tenure the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association started its own road shows to Trinidad. She was a fierce advocate for tourism stakeholders and her contribution was recognised by state agencies in Tobago.
4. Shihan Marva John-Logan, social worker, in the spheres of community development, activism and social work.
John-Logan, also known as Sister Hanifah, is a social worker, mediator, youth and community advocate, martial arts practitioner and a social change agent.
Her passion and devotion for people led to the birth of Ryu Dan Dojo Empowerment Centre in 2013.
John-Logan has developed Ryu Dan’s Sports Plus Model, an innovative cognitive-behaviour modification approach that uses martial arts as a vehicle for change.
She was very instrumental in establishing a platform for Muslim sisters called Sister Sister, which seeks to address everyday issues such as domestic violence, mental health, finances and education.
She has also been providing female migrants and locals with entrepreneurial and soft skills training through her Support, Educate, Empower Women programme for the last six years.
5. Reynold Howard, retired, in the spheres of culture and the arts.
As a tent manager/owner Howard provided opportunities for local composers and performers to present their work to local and international audiences. His purchase of Semp Record Pressing Plant in the 1980s significantly reduced the time and cost of record production for TT recording artistes.
As a founding member of the Copyright Organisation of TT, Howard facilitated access of the nation's music creators to protection of their work and receipt of royalties due to them.
Howard is a pioneer of parang soca, now an established genre of music. His recording and distribution of Daisy Voisin's Parang Queen introduced the world to the music of TT's greatest exponent of traditional parang music.
6. Richard Escalante, retired, in the sphere of education.
Escalante taught public-sector officers at the Central Training Unit- Ministry of Public Administration from 19931998 and has given 30 years of service to the UWI St Augustine teaching E-Government and Public Information Systems at the undergrad and postgrad programmes. Since 2006, he has also taught E-Governance for Small Developing States at Cave Hill.
He is the author of several peer-reviewed articles and six books on the history of media in the oil industry, telecommunications and socio-military history, all spheres of study which have not been written extensively about before. He is currently the 2018 recipient of a first-time author award from Nalis and is the consultant on the history of colonial radio.
7. Rukmine Holass Beepath, retired, in the spheres of culture and education.
Beepath has been involved in music and culture for over six decades. As she became more involved in culture, she was called upon to assist in Maha Sabha Hindu schools across Trinidad in training students for the festival of Baal Vikaas Vihaar. She has dedicated her life to serving schools and communities across the nation.
Beepath has published four books on Indo-Trinidadian religious celebrations, recordings of traditional music and songs, and was requested to teach these traditional songs to mandirs throughout Trinidad.
For the 50th Independence Day celebrations, Beepath composed a special nation-building song which is still played at several venues when we celebrate independence.
8. Samuel Badree, curriculum officer/sports broadcaster, in the spheres of sport and education.
Badree was a former Number 1-ranked T20 bowler in the world. He was a member of the West Indies World Cup-winning teams in 2012 and 2016.
Badree was the assistant secretary to the West Indies Cricket Board from September 2010-2015. He was the players’ representative to the board and led workshops with players to prepare them for post-cricket life, money management and reintegration into society, communications and public relations.
Badree is the chairman of Badree’s Academy of Sport Education and has been an educator for over two decades. He is the epitome of a role model and has demonstrated a commendable balance between sport and education and has excelled in both.
9. Wayne Bertrand (posthumously), retired former chairman, in the spheres of energy and education.
Bertrand was a pillar of the energy industry for over 45 years, playing a pivotal role in shaping its direction, growth and success to sustainable development.
As president of operations at the Petroleum Company of TT and its predecessor Trintoc, Bertrand was instrumental in implementing innovative business initiatives and collaborations regionally and internationally.
Bertrand played a critical role in the development of the country's health, safety and environmental culture, as chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA).
The Humming Bird Medal, Silver, awardees:
1. Ashton Ford, retired, in the spheres of culture, community development and education.
Ford was the chairman of the Sport and Carnival Committee in Arima and presided over the expansion of the borough from one square mile to four, initiating major changes which contributed to the overall development of Arima.
He was involved in the political sphere and served as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works, Maintenance and Drainage and the Ministry of Public Utilities and Transport.
Ford was also a journalist and worked with various media houses including the Guardian, Bomb and the Catholic News. He freelanced for radio stations and covered sports, culture, politics and crime.
In 2004, he was assigned to the TT High Commission in London as public affairs, culture and tourism attaché, a position he held for six years, working closely with the high commissioner to promote TT in areas of trade, tourism and culture.
2.Carl Birjah, retired, in the sphere of sport.
Birjah has spent most of his life in the sporting fraternity. He has worked as a sports master, secretary, public relations officer, vice chairman, vice president and president all tuned into furthering the interest of cricket in TT.
As a member of the TT Cricket Board he held amongst other positions vice chairman of the South West Zone and secretary of the South West Zone.
He has also served and continues to serve as cricket administrator in promoting the sport of cricket in South Trinidad, notably with the Penal Sports Association and the South Zone Cricket Council of the TT Cricket Board in a volunteer capacity.
3. Dr Daniel Parks, pastor, in the spheres of faith-based community work and social services.
Parks is an ordained minister of the gospel and a prisons' chaplain.
Parks has effected positive change in the lives of a countless number of people within society and behind prison walls, bringing newfound hope and restoration to those who were thought to be beyond redemption. He is the founder and president of the Prison Fellowship and has introduced a range of programmes and initiatives designed to support the spiritual and emotional well-being of prisoners.
Parks works as a UN Ambassador for Peace, contributing to the ideology of protecting civilians, preventing conflict and reducing violence.
4. Eric Mc Cree, gym manager, in the spheres of community/youth and national development.
McCree believes that his purpose is to promote fitness and wellness in our youth as he works personally with them to identify and maximise talent, academically and in athletics.
McCree has been selected national coach seven times. He has successfully coached athletes who have successfully represented TT at least 55 times at various international games and mentored them to achieve academically. Many of the athletes under his guidance have succeeded at regional examinations. Even more noteworthy is the fact that McCree helped 21 of his athletes achieve academic scholarships.
5. Harvey Borris, businessman, in the sphere of community service.
Borris has been championing national causes in mainstream and social media for the past 30 years. At present he hosts two programmes, The Hot Seat and I Love My Country.
During his programmes he seeks to advocate for the development of a healthy lifestyle and the prevention of illnesses such as diabetes. He has established and resourced the Centre for Justice, an NGO through which people obtain social, educational, legal and/or financial aid and advice.
Professionally Borris has served his community as councillor in the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation, as a diplomat attached to the TT consulate in Miami, US and an alderman in the Port of Spain City Corporation.
6. Imam Imtiaz Ali, (posthumously), prison chaplain, licensed marriage officer, religious instruction teacher, in the spheres of faith-based community work and social services.
Ali was a prominent figure in the Muslim community.
In his role as the imam of the Real Street ASJA Masjid since 2000, he was instrumental in promoting Islamic education and values, providing spiritual guidance and support to the Muslim community, and fostering interfaith dialogue and understanding. Through his leadership, the Real Street ASJA Masjid became a centre for community development and outreach programmes, including feeding the needy, providing disaster relief and supporting educational initiatives.
Ali was also president of the San Juan Business Association and worked closely with local government officials and other stakeholders to secure funding for a number of infrastructure projects, including road repairs, sidewalk improvements and the installation of streetlights, laying the foundation for further economic growth and development.
7. Jim Phillip, retired, in the spheres of culture and the arts.
Phillip innovated the steelpan-stand and the steelpan rack by making them collapsible. He innovated the tenor pan by replacing the original skirting with flat iron. He invented the pan balancer, the pan note measurer, the pan tuning stand and the nozzle squeezer.
His work is exclusively produced in TT but has a cultural impact on the rest of the world.
Some people describe his innovations as having come from a genius or a scientist.
8. Kenneth Ferguson, founder and chairman, Kenson Group, in the spheres of energy/national development.
Ferguson found a place in the energy sector, having accepted a voluntary separation package from Amoco and founding Kenson Production Services Ltd, a contracting company specialising in providing operations and maintenance services to energy companies in TT. It is widely acknowledged as a leading service provider in the energy sector.
To Ferguson’s mind it was critical for this workforce to be provided with every opportunity to gain the skills and certifications required to conduct their tasks with the strictest adherence to international best practices. From this, another respected entity arose: the Kenson School of Production Technology.
9. Pastor Wilma Kelly, minister of the gospel and licensed marriage officer in the spheres of faith-based community work and social services
Kelly, as a prisons chaplain, has been able to effect positive change in the lives of many.
The scope of Kelly's achievements encompasses her work as a pastoral counsellor, radio and television host, and founder of the Centre of Restoration and The Way of Holiness Ministry.
The centre gives homeless people, alcoholics, drug addicts and former inmates a place to stay, as well as support and resources to help them rebuild their lives.
As a prisons chaplain, Kelly has provided spiritual guidance, counselling and support to inmates, prison administrative and operational staff. She has successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated numerous prisoners back into society, demonstrating the transformative power of faith in the lives of those she has touched.
The Humming Bird Medal, Bronze, awardees:
1. Rachel Bhagwandeen, (posthumously), former student, in the sphere of gallantry.
Bhagwandeen was 11 and lived in Freeport with her parents and her three siblings.
Not everyone is built with a protective mechanism that puts the life of others before themselves. It is often a testament to the type of upbringing you have had and an inner resolve to be of service to others.
When Rachel and her brother were confronted by a vicious animal ,her first thought was to protect her brother and make the way clear for him to be safe while allowing herself to take the brunt of the vicious attack.
Her brother survived but unfortunately she did not. For an 11-year-old to be so selfless certainly shows that she possessed a spark of the divine nurtured by her parents and leading to a place where it can only be remembered as wonderful, gracious and kind.
The Public Service Medal of Merit, Gold, awardees:
1. Anthony Bartholomew, retired permanent secretary, in the sphere of public service.
Bartholomew has an extensive public service career. His record includes permanent secretary in the Ministries of Planning, Housing and the Environment, Planning and Development, National Security, Public Utilities and the Environment and the Environment.
After retiring from the public service, Bartholomew continued to serve. He has been a co-ordinator and adviser in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources, a consultant for the Ministry of Finance, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and currently to the Minister of Public Utilities.
2. Beverly Khan, consultant, in the spheres of public policy and development planning.
Khan is an outstanding public servant, with 33 years of dedicated service to the government and people.
Khan has served this country with distinction. She held various leadership positions, including that of deputy permanent secretary. She also served as TT counsellor in the Office of the Executive Director for the Caribbean Constituency at the IDB, Washington, DC.
Khan has been an invaluable resource to the public service, especially to permanent secretaries who have relied heavily on her technical expertise.
Moreover, she has mentored and inspired a generation of public officers, working with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and multilateral development banks in leveraging support for the country’s development.
3. Enid A Zephyrine, retired, in the sphere of public service.
Zephyrine is an outstanding public official who began her career as a clerical officer in 1973, eventually becoming an auditor and budget analyst in the Ministry for Tobago Affairs, Central Administrative Services, Tobago, and Tobago House of Assembly.
From 1990-2012 she served as budget analyst, financial analyst, assistant director and director, economic management, at the Ministry of Finance.
After working with the World Bank in Washington, DC, for two years, Zephyrine, a consummate citizen willing to serve TT, returned to the public service in the Ministry of Finance from 2016 -2023 as the director, strategic management and execution.
4. Gwendolyn Loobie-Snaggs (posthumously), Former nurse, in the sphere of public service /health sector.
Loobie-Snaggs’s employment in the service of TT began as a nurse, but she moved on to contribute in the decision-making process to further the cause of strengthening the population against the threats of diseases and viruses.
In the early 1980s Loobie-Snaggs became involved with the Public Service Association (PSA) to address the needs of her colleagues. She became the nurses' representative at the PSA in 1985 and rose to first vice-president in 1993. Her service to the nurses of TT expanded to the Caribbean as she served on the executive of the Caribbean Nurses Organisation (CNO) from 2016 to her death in 2022.
5. Leslie Reuben Hoyte, retired, in the spheres of public service/sport and physical education.
Hoyte has had a profound impact in the field of sports and physical education. The role for which he may perhaps be most well-known is as physical trainer to the TT National Under-20 team in the Fifth Youth World Cup in Portugal in 1991. This team included Dwight Yorke, Clayton Ince and Angus Eve, who would go on to become standouts at the senior level. Eve is the current coach of the national football team.
Hoyte started as a teacher at the Couva Anglican Primary School in 1960, with subsequent appointments at Presentation College, San Fernando, Corinth Teachers’ College, the University of the Southern Caribbean, UTT and UWI (Open Campus) among others. He was also physical education and sport officer II at the Ministry of Sport, Culture, and Youth Affairs.
Hoyte’s deepest and most profound impact, however, is unquestionably at the level of the individual, providing encouragement and inspiration to hundreds of young people.
The Public Service Medal of Merit, Silver, awardees:
1.John Lopez, retired, in the sphere of public service.
Lopez is an exceptional leader who has dedicated 35 years of his life to the TT Prison Service, rising to the rank of prison supervisor. He has contributed particularly in the area of prison healthcare services management.
One of Lopez's earliest achievements was his involvement in the cadets at a junior level, where he later attained the rank of under officer. He went on to form the first cadet unit in Brazil Secondary School and also worked with students at El Dorado East Secondary School.
One of Lopez's most notable contribution to the TT Prison Service was managing the Health Services Unit, which provided health care to inmates and prison staff. Through this position, he developed key stakeholder partnerships which allowed officers and inmates to receive additional healthcare services beyond the capacity of the Prison Service.
2. Yasmin Rahaman-Singh, former principal, in the sphere of public service.
Rahaman-Singh was principal of ASJA. Girls' College, San Fernando from November 2007-April 2023 transforming the college into a first-choice institution and one of the top-performing schools in the country.
Under her leadership, the college has developed a strong emphasis on morals, values, school-building and nation-building. The school community has come to appreciate, understand and exemplify the motto led by Rahaman-Singh, “Let's root for each other and watch each other grow.”
Rahaman-Singh's vision and philosophy was always to create a cadre of 21st-century citizens, future leaders and mothers who would be exemplars to society.