Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram and banker Professor Sterling Frost have been awarded the country’s highest honour - the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
And other members of the Ministry of Health’s team who led T&T through the COVID-19 pandemic have also taken top honours in this year’s Republic Day awards.
The list of awardees to mark T&T’s 46th anniversary of becoming a Republic was issued last night by President’s House.
Parasram and tops the list of recipients who will be presented with their awards today by the President at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain. It will be the first return to a normal full length award function since 2019, as events in 2020/21 were brief versions due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
T&T’s top honour is awarded for distinguished and outstanding service to the country.
Parasram, 44, received the award in the sphere of public health. He has been lauded in many quarters for the way in which he’s led T&T’s battle on the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had repeatedly credited Parasram with sound leadership in the COVID battle and paid tribute to him up to recently.
President’s House yesterday stated, “Dr Roshan Parasram served his country with distinction during the uncertainty and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As Chief Medical Officer, he stewarded the nation through highs and lows, his unflappable demeanour and professional approach providing much-needed calm amidst the COVID-19 storm. He quickly became a household name as he tirelessly provided updates and critical information, engaging the media and public daily. He has brought his profession to new heights and given unwavering, distinguished and outstanding service to Trinidad and Tobago.”
Frost won the ORTT for his contribution in the spheres of Banking, Education and Community Service.
The Chaconia Medal (Gold) for Long and Meritorious Service to promote national welfare or strengthen community spirit will also be presented to other Health team leaders: Dr Avery Hinds (Technical Director, Epidemiology Division), Dr Michelle Trotman (Co-ordinator and Health Service Lecturer, UTT) and Principal Medical officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards and Professor Christine Carrington (Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology).
The list of awardees includes a host of people who have contributed to nation building, from entertainer extraordinaire Machel Montano, late calypsonian Sedley “Penguin” Joseph and other calypsonians, to former PNM politicians Jarrette Narine, Marilyn Gordon and PNM councillor Martin Terry Rondon - T&T’s longest serving Local Government representative.
Montano and Rondon are among awardees receiving the Hummingbird Medal (Gold). This is awarded for loyal and devoted service in any field of human endeavour, or for gallantry or other humane action to T&T.
Awardees also include an array of athletes from track star Commonwealth gold medallists Jereem “The Dream” Richards and cyclist Nicholas Paul, plus others who participated in international events.
Three awards for gallantry
Awards for gallantry will go to security officer Evans Hinds, student Gregg Mannette and boat engineer Otis Morris (posthumously) for saving the lives of other persons.
The Hummingbird Medal (Bronze) is being awarded to them.
Hinds saved the lives of Zaria and Jeniceia Burke, who narrowly escaped their burning house in Maraval on July 26, 2021.
Hinds was quick to respond to frantic cries for help and spared no effort in trying to save the occupants of the house. Demonstrating exceptional bravery and determination, Hinds used a sledgehammer to break through burglar proofing and managed to gain access to the burning structure, freeing the two children.
Also receiving the award will be 15-year-old secondary school student Gregg Mannette, who rescued a drowning man at No Man’s Land, Tobago, on April 7. Mannette sprang into action, swimming about 20 metres in less than 10 seconds, and was able to pull the man to safety.
President’s House stated, “In a world where young people are in need of positive role models, Master Mannette stands as a beacon of hope.”
A posthumous award for gallantry will also be awarded to boat engineer Otis Morrison, who sacrificed his life to save a drowning 11-year-old girl at Guapo Beach on August 21, 022. Responding to her cries for help, Morrison rescued the child and kept her afloat until help arrived. He’s been lauded as a true hero.
Morris’ widow, Mrs. Keishallene Lewis-Morrison, will accept the award today.
Awardees in the fields of entertainment, cultural development and the arts include Sedley “Penguin” Joseph (posthumously), Neil “Iwer” George, Mark “Contender” John and Joseph La Placelière (Mighty Lingo).