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Hotelier, trade unionist get awards

Published: 
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Michael Als

Melissa Doughty and Renuka Singh

Businessman Issa Nicholas, 79, one of five recipients of the nation’s second highest award, the Chaconia Medal (Gold), said he was “very proud, very grateful and very happy” for the honour. Nicholas, who has been living in T&T for the past 64 years and saw the nation transition to Independence, said it was the first national recognition he had been given for his work.

The well-known hotelier, who owns Nicholas Towers in downtown Port-of-Spain, is also associated with the Radisson Hotel, formerly Capital Plaza, on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. Mario Als, brother of former trade unionist and community activist, Michael Als, said the family and the executive of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers’ Union welcomed the Chaconia Medal (Silver) he had been awarded posthumously.

Als founded the union, which was then called the Bank and General Workers' Union, in April 1974. He served as its president general for 12 years. He also founded the Toco Foundation which has been a leading force in the development of that rural community. He died last December after a long illness Two of Als' children, daughters Keisha and Kalifa, will be on hand to accept the award at the ceremony at Queen’s Hall this evening. 

Dr Daphne Phillips, former United National Congress (UNC) Minister of Culture and Gender Affairs, has been awarded the Medal for the Development of Women (Gold). "I feel very much elated and honoured to know that the work I have done is being recognised," she said 

As a minister, Phillips played a key role in passge of The Equal Opportunity Bill (No.2) and the Domestic Violence Bill, 1999. In 2010, Phillips publicly endorsed current Kamla Persad-Bissessar in her bid to become political leader of the UNC.