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Winners of the 2008 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence

From left: Members of the Regional Eminent Person Selection Panel (EPP) Justice Christopher Blackman, CGM, Sir Ellis Clarke (Chairman) and Mrs. Maria Superville-Neilson, ANSCAFE Programme Director chat briefly  before the announcement.

Four of the Caribbean’s most outstanding men and women were today named winners of the 2008 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence (ANSCAFE). They are: Professor David Dabydeen of Guyana (Arts & Letters), Mr James Husbands of Barbados (Science & Technology), and Ms Annette Arjoon of Guyana and Ms Claudette Richardson Pious of Jamaica (joint winners, Public & Civic Contributions). Their names were announced at a press conference hosted by the ANSCAFE Secretariat at the ANSA McAL boardroom, TATIL Building, Maraval Road, Port-of-Spain.

ANSCAFE laureates receive a gold medal, a citation and TT $500,000. As joint winners of the Public & Civic Contributions prize, Ms Arjoon and Ms Pious will share their monetary prize equally. The 2008 laureates will be given their prizes in a gala ceremony in Trinidad & Tobago on April 12, 2008.

Present at the media announcement, front row, from right: Mr. Gerry C. Brooks, Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. A. Norman Sabga, Group Chairman and Chief Executive and Ms. Judy Chang, ANSCAFE EPP member (fourth from right).

This prestigious prize was established in 2005 by the ANSA McAL Foundation to seek out and reward excellence in the region. The inaugural prize was given in 2006 to Mr Robert Yao Ramesar (Arts & Letters), Professor Terrence Forrester (Science & Technology) and Father Gregory Ramkissoon (Public & Civic Contributions).

The 2006 laureates have all used their prize money to advance their work. Mr Ramesar, a filmmaker, has been funding the completion and distribution of his first feature film Sista God, as well as beginning its sequel. Professor Forrester, a medical researcher, has used his funds to continue his study of hypertension, diabetes and obesity in Caribbean populations. Father Ramkissoon, founder of the Jamaican humanitarian group the Mustard Seed Community, has used his money to start a new project helping those who dwell in the rubbish dumps of Jamaica.

This year’s laureates are achievers in various fields.

Professor Dabydeen is a noted author of over 20 books of poetry, fiction and academic studies of West Indian literature and history. He won the Commonwealth Prize for Poetry for his first book, Slave Song (1984) and has won the Guyana Prize for Literature on three occasions. He is currently course convenor for the Master of Arts degree in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature in English at Warwick University in the UK.

Mr James Husbands is an entrepreneur and director of the Barbadian firm Solar Dynamics, the Caribbean’s largest solar water heating company. It has installed over 30,000 of them in the region the past 33 years and Mr Husbands has made innovations in the product that have increased its efficiency. Solar energy is a clean, renewable form of energy that saves money for the consumer and contributes to improved air quality.

Ms Annette Arjoon is the founding secretary and project co-ordinator of the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society and has been instrumental in protecting Shell Beach, a 100-mile ecosystem in the northwest coastal region of Guyana where four species of marine turtle nest. Ms Arjoon is also managing director of Shell Beach Adventures, an eco-tourism company.

Ms Claudette Richardson Pious is a former drama teacher who co-founded the NGO Children First in 1997. Children First, based in Spanish Town, Jamaica, is dedicated to taking children off the streets. It also provides HIV/AIDS testing and counselling to rural youth. It is now the largest organisation of its kind in Jamaica.

Candidates are nominated by multi-disciplinary Country Nominating Committees in five territories: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, the OECS and Trinidad & Tobago. Final selections are made by our Regional Eminent Persons Selection Panel, chaired in 2007 by Sir Ellis Clarke.

These stellar achievers have demonstrated that the Caribbean is full of promise. They are people dedicated to improving the lives of others and the environment we all share. In giving the bios of the 2008 laureates, Co-ordinator of the Regional Eminent Persons Selection Panel Mr Michael Mansoor said, “These men and women have done much already. But they have so much more to do. They are working for the betterment of the whole Caribbean region. Let us do all we can to bolster their efforts.”

The criteria for selecting laureates were: 1) Laureates must demonstrate a track record of consistently superior work; 2) they must have the capacity for significant future achievement; 3) their work must have had, or be likely to have a positive impact on the Caribbean; and 4) they must be worthy exemplars to people of the region.

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