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ANSA McAL brings Rienzi medal home

Published: 
Friday, March 11, 2016
ANSA McAL’s chairman A Norman Sabga

The ANSA McAL Group is bringing trade union leader Adrian Cola Rienzi’s Order of the Republic of T&T (ORTT) medal back home, after its bid on the e-commerce website, eBay, was accepted yesterday.

The conglomerate had bid US$25,000 for the medal, which was posthumously awarded to Rienzi and put on a seven-day auction by a Canadian company on March 4, and was still chosen although there were higher bidders. 

In a release yesterday, the group’s chairman and chief executive, A Norman Sabga, said: “Despite the incidence of higher bids on the eBay site, ANSA McAL secured the agreement of the store, Crawford Coin Stamp Militaria in Vancouver, British Colombia, to pull down the auction and recognise our initial bid. This move has ensured that the historic piece will be duly returned to our nation in preservation of its bestowed honour and dignity.” 

Sabga said Crawford’s agreed to close all other bids given the historic significance of the medal.

“We came to an agreement with the owner of the store that given the historic significance of the medal and in consideration of ANSA McAL’s noble intention to reclaim the award on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago, all other bids would be closed,” Sabga stated.

He added: “I am filled with pride and joy that we were able to ensure that this cherished national award will soon be on its way back to T&T. There are many moments in my life when I have felt we have done something really worthwhile but nothing can outmatch this by the sheer significance of its national patrimonial value and meaning.”

The was awarded posthumously to Rienzi by the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration in 2012 and collected by his son, Robert Abidh-Waugh. Unconfirmed reports state Abidh-Waugh died on Mother’s Day 2013 and the medal was passed on to his wife Lori Abidh-Waugh. 

The seller also included the original award document, signed by former President George Maxwell Richards and stamped with the presidential seal. 

On Tuesday, hours after President Anthony Carmona issued a statement saying he was distraught at the prospect of someone peddling the symbol of our national honour and pride, ANSA McAL announced its decision to bid for the medal.

At 11.28 am yesterday, the medal had a total of nine bids placed by five different bidders and the countdown clock had a total of one day, ten hours and 28 minutes left. The bidding war had sent the price of the medal up to US$31,300 by March 9.

However, after Crawford’s made the agreement with ANSA McAL yesterday it closed the bidding on eBay and the bid was marked as “won” by the first bidder.