While Point Fortin may be the smallest Borough in Trinidad, hometown heroes like visually impaired pannist Michael Toussaint and former national footballer Reynold Carrington have the world taking notes.
The two men stood tall among 14 awardees at Tuesday night’s Civic Reception and Awards Ceremony hosted by the Point Fortin Borough Corporation in commemoration of the 39th anniversary of becoming a borough.
At age 64 and with no vision, Toussaint, who was born in Fanny Village, now plays and manages the world’s only steel band for the blind and partially sighted.
The Urban Fox Orchestra ((UFO) Pilots in London, England plays professionally and is a hit in the annual Nottinghill Carnival. And while he has the fame overseas, he said nothing was more humbling than to be honoured by his hometown.
“I feel really honoured, I feel really humbled. My mom always tell us that good things come to those who wait and I’ve been waiting for a while,” Toussaint told Guardian Media at the awards at the Clifton Hill Beach Resort in Point Fortin. He was honoured for his contribution to Community Service along with Brotherhood United, Swank D Concepts, Legends Sports Club and Grantley Wells.
The pannist began his career at Starland Steel Orchestra is Techier Village at age five and moved on to the bigger Dunlop Tornadoes. After moving to London in his adult years and taking pan to the English, a medical error left him totally blind. Dejected, he had to hang up his pan. Thank God for a friend, who knew his prowess, Toussaint overcame the odds and made pan his full-time job.
“When I lost my sight, I stopped playing pan for five years, then a good friend of mine said, ‘you know Mike, I think you can do it you know.’ I was sort of scared, thinking about the octave notes. I’m I going to hit them? Am I going to miss them? As usual, practice became perfect...I think it’s a natural talent. It’s like Stevie Wonder playing his keyboard, I am playing my pan. It’s a natural talent.”
He already has the pan mapped in his mind and by just hearing a song, he could pick up his sticks and begin echoing the music.
Carrington, who is a sitting councillor in the Point Fortin Borough Corporation, was not only honoured for the many trophies and medals to his name but his passion for producing the next crop of Point Fortin legends.
Nicknamed “Hippo” he was an animal on the field playing for the national men’s football team, the Defence Force, Direct TV W Connection, Mitra Kukar in Indonesia and the New York Centaurs in the US.
After retirement, he took up the mantle to not only serve as a councillor but to coach. He is currently giving back, along with others, to mould the next batch of national footballers to come from Point Fortin with a just-concluded community league.
“The most important thing is the platform. If you look at what some of the players who have just come out of the just concluded leagues, you will see a lot of talented players that people won’t believe came out of the area of Point Fortin. So again, we just have to continue to present that platform for them to showcase their skill and their talent and then the wider community, the nation at large and internationally, they will see the ability of persons coming from in and around Point Fortin,” Carrington said.
Carrington was honoured for his contribution to sports along with Maxine McMillan, Andrew Matthews and Anthony Munroe.
The Point Fortin RC Primary School was honoured for its contribution to education while Crisel Bridgeman was honoured for her contribution to medicine. Municipal police officer Kyle Blackman received a special commendation from Point Fortin mayor Abdon Mason.