Four Caribbean achievers will be honoured on April 12, 2008 at the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence. Professor David Dabydeen and Mr James Husbands have won Anthony N Sabga Awards in the areas of Arts & Letters and Science & Technology. Ms Arjoon and Mrs Richardson-Pious will share an award for Public & Civic Contributions. Each Award consists of a gold medal, a citation and TT$500,000. The Awards are given by the ANSA McAL Foundation.
The Awards Ceremony will begin with a cocktail reception and dinner and culminate in the presentation of the Awards. There is no application process for the Anthony N Sabga Awards. Each winner was nomi¬nated by a Country Nominating Committee and selected by a Regional Eminent Persons Selection Panel chaired by Sir Ellis Clarke. There are Country Nominating Committees in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and Trinidad & Tobago.
About the Laureates:
Professor Dabydeen, a prize-winning Guyanese writer and academic, is course convenor for the Master of Arts degree in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature in English at Warwick University in the UK. He has published over 20 books, and won the Commonwealth Prize for his first book, Slave Song. “At the age of ten I knew I wanted to be a writer and nothing else,” he said in an interview after the announcement of the 2008 Anthony Sabga Awards in Janu¬ary. “I hope that the prize will encourage publishers to take Caribbean literature more seriously. There aren’t a great deal of outlets for writers, certainly not in Guyana. Because of the prize I hope it will help inspire publishers to take more of a chance with the literature.”
Mr James Husbands heads the major solar water heater firm in the Caribbean, Solar Dynamics. A Barbadian entrepreneur, he has spent over 30 years in the industry and his company has installed over 33,000 solar water heaters. These help in the conservation of the environment as the sun is a “clean” source of energy. Mr Husbands said, “The Award is the most significant regional award program. The confidential execution of the program is very useful, as it removes the anxiety prospects may face and the disappointment at not winning. All entrants are winners in their communities, as their nomination shows that their contribution has been noted by many in their respective communities.”
Mrs.Annette Arjoon is the Secretary of the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society (GMTCS). She was co-founder of the group, which conserves the four species of marine turtle in the main nesting area, Shell Beach, on Guyana’s coast close to the Venezuelan border. She was instrumental in the founding of North West Organics, a venture that capitalises on traditional Amerindian products made in the Shell Beach area. Ms Arjoon, who is Guyanese and part Amerindian herself, believes conservation must take local peoples into account or it is doomed to failure. North West Organ¬ics gives them the opportunity to earn a living by using the environment sustainably. Of the Award, she said, “It’s going to make such a difference in the work of small NGOs. The money is good but the awareness is even better,” she said.
Mrs Claudette Richardson-Pious is a well-known dramatist from Jamaica who co-founded the NGO Children First in Spanish Town, Jamaica. Children First started off by serving 50 street children in 1997; today it serves over 3,000 children directly and affects tens of thousands more from the whole of Jamaica. Their work includes education, vocational training, poverty alleviation, parent support and training, and counseling. They also have an innovative service called the Bashment Bus, a mobile HIV testing and counseling clinic partly funded by UNICEF. It uses drama and music to spread positive messages to rural and inner-city communities. Mrs Richardson-Pious said Children First is trying to buy a building as they currently occupy land lent to them by the Jamaica Light and Power Company. The building will cost some JA$10 m (US$150,000) to buy and refurbish. “I am going to use my prize money to pay on the property,” she said, “and I’m going to will Jamaica and the Caribbean to assist me. If we’re really the people we are supposed to be in caring and looking out for our children and our future, let us collectively see how we can help these children.”
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