Olympic gold medallist and recipient of the Order of the Republic of T&T Keshorn Walcott is advocating the use of sport to help reduce crime in T&T. President George Maxwell Richards presented Walcott with the country's highest award at yesterday's National Awards ceremony. Among those in the audience were Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Guyana prime minister Sam Hinds and Prime Minister of St Vincent Ralph Gonsalves. Other recipients of the country's highest award were late prime minister George Chambers and late trade union leader Adrian Cola Rienzi. Chambers' award was collected by his daughter Andrea Chambers, while Rienzi's award was collected by his son, Robert Abidh-Waugh.
The number of awardees was high, 75 in total, because T&T is this year celebrating its golden jubilee. After the ceremony, Walcott spoke with reporters saying he dedicated his latest medal to the people of T&T. He said he was surprised by the award when he was told he would be a recipient a couple days ago. Asked what advice he would give to deal with the crime problem in T&T, Walcott said sport was an option available. "One of the better options (available) was to get into sports instead of turning to crime," he said. But Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris, a recipient of the Chaconia Medal (Gold) yesterday, said crime cannot be solved by being emotional. He said more long-term measures must be implemented to address the issue, including education. Harris said he was receiving the award on behalf of the church and that he was surprised by the award. On the issue of crime, Harris said crime cannot be solved by "knee-jerk methods." He said, "Basically we need to fix our education system...Our education system far too often tells people that they are not worth anything." The education system must build self-confidence among the students, he said.