A cluster of green plants buttressed colour portraits of three illustrious Caribbean sons-Dr Lennox Honychurch, Dr Kim Johnson and Prof Surujpal Teelucksingh at a grand ceremony in their honour. Occasion was at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann's on April 9.In the sphere of Public and Civic Contributions was Dominica's Dr Honychurch, Arts and Letters went to T&T son Dr Johnson and Science and Technology to Prof Teelucksingh.Michael K Mansoor, chairman of the Regional Eminent Persons Selection Panel and Dr Anthony N Sabga, chairman of the ANSA McAL Foundation delivered remarks.
Rev Fr Ronald Mendes prayed for God's blessings.Wendell Constantine chaired the proceedings and Maria Superville-Neilson, Secretary of the ANSA McAL Foundation-programme director delivered the vote of thanks.Sabga said: "Dr Kim Johnson has made his life's work in our collective imagination, preserving our memories and ancestral stories. Prof Teelucksingh has made his life's work in looking at everyday things that affect our lives. Dr Honychurch has devoted his life to ensuring his island-country Dominica and the Caribbean remember their past and preserve their heritage."
In the programme's foreword Dame/Governor General of St Lucia Pearlette Louisy said: "Dr Lennox Honychurch, in spite of not having a Bachelor's degree, would successfully read for a doctoral degree at one of the leading academic institutions in the world. Dr Kim Johnson would devote years of study to a then little applauded indigenous musical instrument-the steelpan, now recognised as the foremost musical invention of the 20th century."Prof Surujpal Teelucksingh would concentrate on the human element in medicine, on sociological rather than pedagogic or prescriptive methods to bring about healthy lifestyles in the communities in which he serves."
Dr Kim Johnson
Prior to the presentation, the doyennes were featured on a video presentation. Several leading academic and cultural personalities including Prof Brian Copeland and veteran calypsonian, Dr Hollis Liverpool commented on the contribution of Johnson.Johnson shared vignettes about his passion to record the steelpan stories since "every steelpan man had a story." The programme carried biographies.
An excerpt said: "Dr Johnson's work with the deaf community has generated a filmmaking programme for the hearing impaired (Tell Me No Lies). He is working on a full-length documentary film on the Steel Pan Movement. His major research achievements included an exhibition entitled The Audacity of the Creole Imagination. He is also working towards creating, along with other fellows of UTT, a virtual online museum of T&T."In his acceptance speech, Johnson lamented the decline of standards in "courtesy and music."Johnson said: "I remember songs I learnt as a child. But if you ask me the name of this year's Road March I can't remember."
Dr Lennox Honychurch
In the video presentation, pretty pictures of the Caribbean People, textbooks which took secondary school students into an historical odyssey were showcased. An ultimate Caribbean man, Honychurch was lauded for his input into the restoration of Fort Frederick in Grenada and Fort Charlotte in St Vincent. He designed Betty's Hope Plantation Interpretation Centre in Antigua and established the Dominica Museum in Rosseau which still boasts cobble-stoned streets.He is currently working on the restoration of Fort Shirley, the 18th century garrison in Cabritis National Park, Dominica, where he is developing an ecology and heritage centre in the historic buildings.
Honychurch's corpus extends to documenting marginal First People's communities, preservation of national heritage sites and pioneering an integrated and ecological approach to fragile, small island communities.In his acceptance speech, Honychurch described himself as "a bit of a Trini with family from San Fernando."Honychurch thanked his loved onefor exposing him to a life beyond the classroom.He reminded the gathering about the beauty and vitality of the Caribbean isles "which cannot be found on a cold street in Toronto, out in Manhattan or the tube in London."
Prof Surujpal Teelucksingh
Hailing from Cunupia like veteran broadcaster, Hans Hanoomansingh, Prof Surujpal was photographed as UWI's orator for Campus graduations. He is also numbered among UWI's outstanding graduates. Joining in the celebrations were his wife Sabita and children Siana, Siara, Shravan and Sachin.An excerpt on the programme said: "He has the rare attribute in medicine of being gifted in its practice, theory and teaching."He is a skilled clinician, a dedicated and popular teacher and a prolific and accomplished scientific researcher."
It added: "His contributions to the field of medical science includes research into non-communicable diseases like diabetes and obesity and the introduction of the sociological, rather than pedagogic or prescriptive methods to cause communities to adopt lifestyles that would make them healthier." In his prepared acceptance speech, Surujpal paid tribute to his late mother Jassodra.Sadly, he noted "single parents are often seen in today's light as if they are bound for failure. And discipline, used synonymously and unnecessarily with corporal punishment, has come to be viewed as a bad word. If indeed single parentedness and discipline are curses, then I may have been blessed with both.
"In the same way she guarded her pennies, she kept us-both my brother and I-preciously protected from the disorder that constantly encircled her short but productive life. In accepting this award, I wish to honour my long, lost parents who tonight must be leading the chorus of rejoicing in Heaven."He thanked benefactor Helen Bhagwansingh for her contribution toward the children.He paid tribute to the teachers."Good teachers have mastered the skills of diagnosis and therapeutics. Teachers possess the magical powers to weave the complex fabric of which the society is eventually made."
Updates on 2010 laureates
Against the backdrop of St Lucia's marina, Adrian Augier, recipient for Arts and Letters, flashed his winsome smile.An excerpt said: "He pledged funding for his prize money and combined it with donations from private and public sources to raise EC$115,000 to enhance training and performance opportunities in the arts, with particular emphasis on dance."
Far from the North Rupunini in Guyana, Sydney Allicock greeted comrade-in-the-field Honychurch. He wore his traditional vestments.An excerpt said: "The Eco Lodge tourism in Surama has been enhanced and upgraded. Its facilities have been improved. The initiatives include the purchase of a new all terrain vehicle which is used to transport guests and the construction of a new office facility. The Biana Hill Institute has also benefited. It has been able to increase the range of training it offers to young people, providing introductory and preparatory education for the study of law, health care and cultural identity."
Pathologist Prof Kathleen Coard was named recipient of the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. She was nominated by the Government of Grenada.It said: "She has continued working on other aspects of cardiovascular pathology. She has served on a number of committees at the University of the West Indies whose purview is research-oriented. She is also a member of the selection panels for the annual principal's Research Committee of the University and the annual Research Day Conference of the Faculty of Medical Sciences."