By RON FANFAIR
The Trinidad & Tobago Consul General Diaspora awards for excellence will be presented to the winners early next year without the twin-island republic’s top diplomat in Toronto who demits office next week.
Last Monday, the consulate cancelled the ceremony slated for tomorrow night at its Willowdale headquarters.
Outgoing Consul General Michael Lashley said the event was aborted because of extraordinary and unusual circumstances. He did not elaborate.
Share has learned that the T & T government pulled the plug on the awards show and “A Taste of Trinbago Style Christmas” event planned for later tomorrow night at the same venue.
Ken Jeffers, the chair of the Consul General’s advisory committee that oversees the awards and the annual Independence Day celebration at Queen’s Park, expressed disappointment that the awards show and Christmas event were called off.
“I can however assure you that we will work to ensure that the awards are presented next year to the recipients and we hope we will get the support of the Consulate and a corporate sponsor to support the event,” said Jeffers.
“It’s disappointing to the winners who were named and were expecting to be honoured for their accomplishments on Friday. We will make it happen with the support of the community and hopefully the Consulate.”
These awards recognize individuals and groups who have been of great service to others and who have demonstrated excellence in the level of social responsibility they have assumed.
This year’s winners are Ian Jones, Ram Ramchaitar and the late Dr. Alfred Waddell.
Waddell came to Canada via New York in 1928 to study medicine at Dalhousie University. After graduating, he settled in Halifax and became an equity advocate.
Ramchaitar has been the Parkdale Breakfast Club coordinator since 1989 while Jones, who came to Canada 45 years ago, was the band arranger for the Queen’s University Steelpan Orchestra which was launched in 1964.
After graduating with a Masters in Economics, he started the steelpan program at the Harriet Tubman Centre for young people in 1975 and designed curriculum and instructed steel pan credit courses at Georges Vanier Secondary School. He also founded the Pan Alive Steel Orchestra and has served as the musical director for several pan and theatre productions.
“It’s quite unfortunate that an event like this has been cancelled at the last minute,” said Jones. “I hope there is a good reason.”
Lashley steps down after serving as Consul General for seven years and dean of the CARICOM Consular Corps.
“This has been the best professional experience of my life,” said Lashley who turns 60 shortly. The compulsory retirement age of T & T public servants is 60.
Consul Kathy Radoo will act as Consul General until a replacement has been named.
A farewell reception was held last Monday in Brooklyn for outgoing T & T Consul General for New York and Miami, Dr. Harold Robertson, who graduated from Dalhousie University with a Masters in History in 1975 and a doctorate three years later. He has held the diplomatic post for the past eight years.