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ANSA to honour Caribbean Laureates

Sunday, February 19, 2012
Paula Lucie-Smith

Caribbean luminaries including T&T Paula Lucie-Smith—Public & Civic Contributions, St Vincent’s Prof Leonard O’Garro—Science & Technology (a plant pathologist), and Guyana’s George Simon—Arts & Letters (an archaeologist and painter) have  been named as The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean 2012 Laureates. Michael Mansoor, chairman of the ANSA Caribbean Awards’ regional Eminent Persons Panel selection committee made the announcement at the ANSA Caribbean Laureates at the Tatil Building, Port-of-Spain, last Monday.


He said: “We have contributed $7.5 million to advance the work of our Laureates. Each year we review the biographies of several distinguished Caribbean achievers and it has been our experience that there is an abundance of talent and a surprisingly large number of individuals who pursue careers of excellence without great fanfare.” Mansoor also said each Laureate will receive a cheque for $500,000, a medal, and a citation at a ceremony in Port-of-Spain in early May. The programme is philanthropic.


Selection panels


Regional Eminent—Selection Panel
Michael Mansoor (Chair)
Mrs Judy Chang (Trinidad & Tobago)
Sir Shridath Ramphal (Guyana/Barbados)
Sir K Dwight Venner (OECS)
Fr Henry Charles (Trinidad & Tobago)
Maj Gen Joe Singh (ret) (Guyana)
Prof Compton Bourne (Guyana)
Sr Paul D’Ornellas (Trinidad & Tobago)
Mr Christopher Bovell (Jamaica)
Justice Christopher Blackman (Barbados/The Bahamas)



The Members of the Guyana Nominating Committee are:
Dr David Singh (Chair)
Mr Al Creighton
Dr Marlene Cox
Mr Alim Hosein
Mr Brynmor Pollard, SC, CCH
Rev Fr Malcolm Rodrigues
Dr Seeta Terry Shab Roath
Dr Ulric Trotz
Ms Josephine Whitehead, AA



The Members of the OESC Nominating Committee are:
H E Ambassador Charles Maynard (Chair) (Dominica)
Mr Errol Allen (St Vincent)
Mr J Emile Ferdinand (St Kitts)
Dr Charmaine Gardner (St Lucia)
Prof Gerald Grell MD, JP, SAH (Dominica)
Sir Paul Scoon (Grenada)
Dr Beverley Steele, LLD, CBE, MH (Grenada)
Mr Marius St Rose (St Lucia)



The Members of the Trinidad & Tobago Nominating Committee are:
Prof Bridget Brereton (Chair)
Diane Chatoor
Bro Noble Khan
Diana Mahabir Wyatt
Rev Fr Ronald Mendes, CSSp
Vincent Pereira
Prof Ramsey Saunders



Paula Lucie-Smith—t&t

T&T Paula Lucie-Smith
Public and Civic Contributions


Addressing illiteracy
Lucie-Smith is the founder and CEO of the Adult Literacy Tutors Association, ALTA, an organisation which identified an enormous unacknowledged social problem of widespread illiteracy in Trinidad & Tobago, and the West Indies, and has taken significant steps to deal with it. Lucie-Smith, a national scholarship winner from St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, attended Warwick University, and the University of Leicester (pronounced Lester) in England where she took a first degree in History, and a Certificate in Education.


She started her career as a high-school teacher in Trinidad, at the St Augustine Senior Comprehensive School from 1983-1987. In 1990, she began teaching an adult literacy class of about 20 people on a volunteer basis, and in 1992, formed ALTA, to offer free literacy training to adults, and to train literacy tutors. ALTA’s programmes have since grown in number and spread across the country and region.


50 local venues
Today, classes are offered at 50 venues throughout Trinidad and Tobago, 59 tutor training courses have been run, and ALTA has collaborated with Servol, the Ministry of Education, the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, and the prison system. The organisation has also been invited to conduct literacy training in Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.


What makes ALTA unique is that all the teaching and training materials are produced by ALTA to be locally relevant and to stimulate and engage local participants. This involvement in the production of learning materials has allowed ALTA’s mission to expand from literacy to include teaching life skills and building communities. Between 1996 and 2001, Lucie-Smith wrote and edited three series of textbooks: the ALTA Adult Workbook Series, the ALTA Beginner Series, and 18 ALTA Predictable Books.


ALTA has been recognised locally and internationally by institutions like UNESCO, the University of the West Indies, the government of Canada and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Smith has been awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) in 2001, and ALTA was selected as a “model for replication worldwide” by UNESCO in 2008.



Prof Leonard O’Garro—st vincent

St Vincent Prof Leonard O’Garro
Plant Pathologist
Science and Technology


Climate change proponent
Prof Leonard O’Garro is a plant pathologist whose work has been principally concerned with the use of science to treat or eradicate diseases that attack food crops in the region, and the development and adoption of biotechnology and biosafety protocols in CARICOM. He has had careers as a distinguished academic and a scientist who has ensured that his work is of direct value to the long-term sustainable development of the region, in the crucial area of food security.


Born in St Vincent, Leonard O’Garro entered the UWI, Cave Hill, as an undergraduate in 1979. He was awarded his PhD in biology in 1986, whereupon he joined the faculty of pure and applied sciences at Cave Hill. He was appointed Professor of Plant Pathology in 1999. He left UWI in 2005 to become the United Nations Biosafety Coordinator managing the United Nations Environmental Programme project for the Development of National Biosafety Frameworks. He was responsible for the Caribbean region’s implementation in compliance with the Cartegena Protocol for Biosafety.


OECS impact
His work has directly affected all the countries of the OECS, by providing specialised training to create crop protection means and methodologies in those countries (and Barbados) for specialised or important crops including pepper, tomato, onion, yams, and papaya. He has also been key in designing the University of the West Indies’ biotechnology thrust for and on behalf of Caricom countries.


Prof O’Garro has been widely recognised for his work. He has received UNESCO Biotechnology and International Fellowships (1993,1987-88), and a Leverhulme Fellowship (1993). In 2009, he was recognised as a Caribbean Icon of Science by the National Institute for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (Niherst, Trinidad & Tobago). He has also been a member of several high-level


international panels on biotechnology policy and research for agencies including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UWI, and CARICOM, as well as several government panels on sugar, cotton, and intellectual property in Barbados. The next major area of research Prof O’Garro is contemplating is the solutions to problems anticipated from climate change. He is presently the Senior International Consultant/Adviser to the UWI on Biotechnology/Biosafety.



George Simon—guyana

Guyana/ George Simon
Archaeologist and Fine Artist
Arts and  Letters


Simon’s discovery can lead to radical rewrite of history
Simon, a member of the Guyanese First Peoples nation, the Lokono, is a visual artist and archaeologist who has recently (in 2011) made an archaeological discovery in Guyana that might cause history books about the pre-Columbian past of the Americas, and world civilisation, to be radically rewritten. As part of a team of archaeologists including members from the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Florida, Simon examined a field of man-made mounds stretching hundreds of miles between the Berbice and Corentyne rivers dating 5,000 years before the present era.


The findings provide evidence that complex, populous settlements existed in this part of the world before Stonehenge in Britain and the Pyramids in Egypt. Simon was educated in fine art at the University of Portsmouth and London University in the UK in fine art (printmaking, 1978) and archaeology (field and analytical techniques, 1994) respectively.


First Nations’ artist
He returned to Guyana in 1978 and became an instructor at the Burrowes School of Art in Guyana and later the University of Guyana. At Burrowes, he worked closely with its founder, the acclaimed Guyanese archaeologist, artist, novelist and anthropologist, Denis Williams, and continued to work with, and be influenced by Williams at the Walter Roth Museum in Guyana.


In addition to his work as an archaeologist, Simon is also a fine artist and teacher. His work (mainly painting) draws on First Peoples’ myth, legend, and spiritual beliefs. He has had several international exhibitions in Europe (Spain and France), New York (at the Museum of Natural History), Chad, Barbados and Montreal, Canada. But more important than his work as an artist is his work as a teacher. In Guyana and the various countries he has visited (including Chad and Haiti).


Simon has set up schools in art and English. He has been responsible for major art training initiatives in Guyana among his own Lokono Nation, in their community of St Cuthbert’s mission, and others, like the Makushi, and has helped indigenous artists to emerge into wider attention and acclaim. Simon has been recognised by the Guyanese government with a National Visual Arts Award, and the Golden Arrow of Achievement.


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