National award recipients humbled, honoured

Prof Clement Imbert -
Prof Clement Imbert -

Prof Emeritus Clement Imbert, one of three university academics who will receive the nation's highest honour on Sunday, said it was nice to be honoured by his country, especially for his individual efforts.

Imbert was part of the Genesis Steelband Project Team, which developed the G-Pan, and won the Chaconia Medal Gold for Music Innovation in 2007. This year, he was awarded the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, for innovation/steelpan technology, education, and culture and the arts.

“This is about the third time people have recommended me for a national award, other than the award we got for the G-Pan.
"People would say I deserve an award and I would tell them I got one already with a team, so don’t worry. They would say no, they would recommend me.
"So when I was told I was being recommended again this year I said, ‘Fine,’ but I didn’t know if it would happen.”

He said he had been doing public service since the 1970s and had been recognised by several organisations, including UWI and the Association of Professional Engineers.

Imbert said he came from a family of servers in Sangre Grande, as his parents would volunteer at various organisations in fields such as Carnival, their church, and child welfare. He recalled his parents taking him along when they went to volunteer at St Vincent de Paul or with the hospital visiting committee.

He himself joined many clubs, including football, and he was a national billiards player.

“Getting this award signifies that people recognise what I have been doing over the years, have recommended me and the award committee agreed. I am proud to have the highest award in the country, and I will not say otherwise.”

Dr Jacqueline Sharpe, a medical practitioner specialising in child and adolescent psychiatry, will receive the Chaconia Medal, gold.

In a telephone interview, Sharpe said she was humbled, honoured and grateful her colleagues believed she deserved a national award enough to recommend her for one, and that she would continue to do what she was guided to do.

“I'm a psychiatrist. I love what I do. I've done it for a long time. It's very important to me.”

Although she was the only child and adolescent psychiatrist in TT for many years, she said many people worked in the field, including other psychiatrists and social workers.

“The work that I have done in child and adolescent psychiatry, in children's mental health, I have not done alone. I might have been the only child psychiatrist, but I've always worked with a team of dedicated people who are committed to the children’s well-being and mental health.”

Psychiatrist Dr Varma Deyalsingh said it was a pleasure being part of the team who recommended Sharpe for the award, as she was one of the key people in setting up the Child Guidance Clinic.

“There are many children out there who would look on a mother figure, as a doctor, as a psychiatrist, or somebody who has held them. She has actually eased the pain, for not just children who are undergoing some sort of mental anguish, but also brought comfort to the parents of these children, who sometimes don't know who to turn to, what to do, or how to help.”

He said she gave many children the life skills and medication to become functioning adults and believed she still had a lot more to offer the country, as there were still many challenges with mental and emotional distress in children

Azamuddin Khan, honorary scout commissioner, was awarded the Humming Bird Medal, gold, in the sphere of community development.

He said he has been part of scouting for 67 years and 60 were in a leadership role in San Fernando, in TT and in the Caribbean. Therefore, he was elated to get the award.

He said there were many others, including Rotary clubs, chambers and other community organisations, which worked hard to make TT a better place, and believed the award was a recognition of all that work.

Khan also thanked those who submitted his name and encouraged people to recognise those do volunteer work and were contributing to society. He said it would encourage them to continue and do an even better job to make TT and, indirectly, the world, a better place.

“By making our districts, making our areas, making our cities, making TT a better place, we influence. And those are the things I have been fortunate to do. I have served with other leaders and I am standing on their shoulders with the hope that there are others who are following me who will take the flame, carry it forward and we will continue to progress."

National Scout Commissioner Mark Ainsley John told Sunday Newsday the Scout Association is extremely proud of Khan’s award.

He said Khan contributed more than 40 years of leadership to the movement and still contributes as an honorary commissioner. Some of those contributions were the many changes made to the organisation’s leadership training during Khan’s tenure as commissioner.

“His is a lifetime of service to others and to the people of San Fernando at first and then to the people of TT as national scout commissioner. He has lived the Cub Scout law of thinking of others before himself and doing a good turn every day.”

John said Khan’s selfless service was recognised when he was bestowed with the organisation’s highest award, the Golden Poui, so it was fitting that TT recognised his selfless dedication to youth development.


"National award recipients humbled, honoured"

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