Former national basketballer Mathew Pierre receives his award from Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray
By Sue-Ann Wayow
FOR seven years, Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray has been submitting names to the Cabinet-appointed National Awards Committee in the hope that those individuals would be awarded nationally for their contribution to Trinidad and Tobago’s development.
To date, none of those persons from the constituency of Mayaro were selected for a national award.
This year, Paray decided to do something different.
He decided that Mayaro would host their own award show, honouring key personnel who have made an indelible mark nationally and internationally.
Together with 12 sponsors, Paray hosted the inaugural Mayaro Legacy Awards 2022 at bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre recently.
The list of awardees included: former FIFA vice-president and government minister Austin ‘Jack’ Warner, historian Prof Brinsley Samaroo, journalist Ken Ali, basketball player Matthew Pierre, attorney Sophia Chote, SC, businessman Trevor Lynch, author Michael Anthony, medical practitioner Dr William Dhanessar and former governor of the Central Bank and government minister Winston Dookeran.
All with the exception of Lynch are originally from the constituency of Mayaro. Lynch is originally from Point Fortin but has spent most of his life in Mayaro.
Dookeran is the only one from the awardees who has received a national award. In 2015, he was awarded the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the nation’s highest award.
The gala award function was hosted by media personnel Hansley Ajodha.
Paray, in delivering his remarks said one of his main reasons behind the ceremony was to inspire, encourage and motivate the young people in his constituency to strive for excellence while impacting and contributing to society.
He said, “I strongly believe that children in rural communities are jaded by their environment into thinking that success is based on ethnicity, class and the “who know you” syndrome, which exists in most societies. I have observed that we have neglected the art of storytelling as we no longer spend time handing down fables and folklore, home remedies, urban legends, personal experiences and past struggles.”
Paray added, “Within these shortcomings, we have also forgotten to recognise and emulate the people in our neighbourhoods who are doing, who have done and who are earmarked to do great things.”
The MP said that as long as he remained in his parliamentary position, the awards would continue annually and he is hoping that it would also continue even if he is no longer the parliamentary representative
He encouraged the younger generation. “May this become your ‘North Star’-always be the guide, direction and foundation to stand on as you yourselves reach for the stars and inspire future generations.”
Medical practitioner and university dean Professor Dilip Dan, himself a recipient of the Hummingbird Gold Medal also in 2015, gave the feature address and focused on three main points, responsibility, education and self-determination.
Three of the awardees, Dr Dhanessar, Anthony and Chote were not able to make it the event to receive their awards which were given to representatives on their behalf.
It was an emotional moment for the others who spoke briefly upon receipt of their honours, expressing gratitude and also speaking highly of other recipients.
They also encouraged Paray to continue leading by example in his constituency that contains 27 communities.
Warner in his acceptance speech said, “I am normally one who is never at a loss for words but tonight is an exception…You have made me extremely happy. I feel really appreciated. I am really trilled and touched by the kind sentiments expressed here this evening.”
Prof Samaroo said to Paray saying that he may be able to assist with having recommended persons from Mayaro be in the line-up for a national award.
He also said that work he has done extensively on historic places in Mayaro and conveyed through comprehensive interviews with persons hired was compiled in a report which he would like to improve on.
“I want to make a public appeal this evening to have that report which I prepared for the County Council to be released so that I can have a look at it and improve on it.,” Prof Samaroo said.
Ali in his speech, paid homage to social activist Hazel Brown who had passed away earlier that morning.
Pierre who assists with the development of youths encouraged, “We have to act. We have to stop talking. We have to keep hope alive for the young people. I am happy today that we talk about inspiring young people to be a better version of themselves.”
Lynch credited his success to the people around him whose skills and resources were channeled in a right direction and also thanked his wife for her constant support.
And Dookeran spent some moments reflecting on that day when he was held hostage in 1990 during the attack on Parliament and spoke of finding hope in moments of despair.
April Jairam and Tamu Aguillera provided entertainment in song while Rinelle Harrynarine wooed attendees with her saxophone.
Attendees included Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West Dinesh Rambally and MP for Cumuto Manzanilla Dr Rai Ragbir.
Chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation Raymond Cozier also spoke at the event.
The sponsors included: bpTT, the Maritime Financial Group, Novo Communications, S&S Supermarket, B Ramkissoon Hardware Ltd, Computer Technology Services Limited, Deonarine Ramsumair Transport Contractors, Heeralal Rampadarat General Contractors Ltd, Mayaro Family Medicine, Meervesh Stars, Persad’s ‘D’ Food King and Vees Enterprises Ltd.