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Group Chairman and Chief Executive of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies, Mr. A Norman Sabga (right), National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) Board Chair, Neil Parsanlal (left), President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Anthony Carmona and wife Mrs. Reema Carmona, pose with the Order of the Republic of T&T during a handing-over ceremony at President’s House St Ann’s on Tuesday 26th April, 2016. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
President Anthony Carmona says the time may have come for a review of who holds the right to possess a national award when recipients of such awards die.
He made the comment yesterday, after Group Chairman and Chief Executive of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies, A. Norman Sabga, returned to the country the Order of the Republic of T&T given to trade union leader Adrian Cola Rienzi, during a ceremony at President’s House, St Ann’s.
The ORTT had been awarded posthumously to Rienzi in 2012, but it was put up for sale on eBay in March through a relative who may have inherited it. ANSA McAL subsequently won a bid to purchase it on behalf of the citizens of T&T.
Saying he too had become “distraught at the thought of someone peddling this symbol of our national pride,” Carmona said the Trinity Cross (which preceded it) and the ORTT were the ultimate symbols of our nationhood and urged all national award holders, “If you don’t want it don’t accept it, and if having accepted it you no longer want it or appreciate it, don’t sell it or condemn it, simply give it back.”
Commending Sabga for his action, Carmona said perhaps the time had come to review possession of national symbols after the awardee dies.
“I am of the firm belief that once awarded, these symbols of nationalism and patriotic pride should stay within the family. We could probably adopt the convention of the UK and Dutch systems: in the case of honours given while the recipients are still alive, they should be returned upon the recipients’ death.”
Earlier, during the ceremony to hand over the medal to chairman of the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) board, Neil Parsanlal, Sabga said it was an act of patriotism “on behalf of our 6,000 employees in T&T and throughout the Caribbean.”
He said he was especially delighted that the medal was personally brought back to Trinidad by his father, Chairman Emeritus, ANSA McAL Group of Companies, Dr Anthony N Sabga.
Taken From: Trinidad Guardian Newspapers
Story By: Anna-Lisa Paul
Wednesday 27th April, 2016