Neil Guiseppi interacts with President Paula-Mae Weekes and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley after receiving the Humming Bird Medal (Gold) at yesterday's National Awards Ceremony at President's House, St Ann's.

Jesse Ramdeo

Dr Wayne Frederick, the 2020 recipient of Trinidad and Tobago’s highest honour, the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, said yesterday he was humbled by the award.

After two consecutive years without any National Awards ceremony, deserving recipients returned to President’s House, St Ann’s, yesterday, where Dr Frederick received the highest honour as he and other awardees were recognised and awarded across five categories.

Dr Frederick was the lone recipient of the ORTT, a title bestowed on a national or non-national who has rendered distinguished and outstanding service to the country.

Speaking with members of the media after being presented with the award, he said the moment was an emotional one for him.

“It’s a very humbling honour, a bit bittersweet, my stepfather passed away earlier today so that was certainly trying, he was a public servant just like my mother but certainly very humbling. I think what this country poured into me to be so honoured by my own exploits is very humbling.”

Dr Frederick is currently serving as the distinguished Charles R. Drew Endowed Chair of Surgery at the Howard University College of Medicine. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, abstracts, and editorials, and is a widely recognised expert on disparities in healthcare and medical education. In April 2020, he become the first-ever recipient of the Educator Award from the Lowell F. Hawthorne Foundation Incorporated.

The ORTT was awarded in the field of medicine/education and according to Dr Frederick, it is critically important to continue his volunteerism here at home.

“We’ve held recruiting trips here in schools like in Laventille. I think it is important to provide an opportunity for other young people to see a model, somebody who benefited from the public system both in education and health, I have sickle cell so the health system was very germane to my own development,” he said.

Dr Frederick urged the nation’s youth to persevere and rise above the challenges that have stemmed from growth and development for many.

“As I studied Social Studies in particular and thought about heroes that went before me, it was always something I aspired to and always felt that this country gave to us in terms of opportunity, removing barriers, so I hope any young people looking on would be inspired to go after their dream.”

Four current and former media personalities, former Guardian Media stalwarts Dominic Kalipersad and Neil Guiseppi, as well as Debbie Jacob and Reeanna Harrilal were honoured with Chaconia and Hummingbird Medals for their contributions to society.

Veteran calypsonian Edwin “Crazy” Ayoung, deceased calypsonian Clifton “Mighty Bomber” Ryan and deceased pan arranger/ musician Ken “Professor” Philmore also received Chaconia and Hummingbird Medals.

The scaled-down gala event kicked off at 5 pm with President Paula-Mae Weekes, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Chief Justice Ivor Archie on hand to congratulate the awardees.

National Awards 2020

ORDER OF THE REPUBLIC OF T&T (Distinguished and Outstanding Service to T&T)

• ↓Dr Wayne Frederick, Chair of Surgery, In the spheres of Medicine/Education

CHACONIA MEDAL (Long and Meritorious Service/tending to promote national welfare/strengthen community spirit)


• Justice Rolston Nelson (Retired Judge) – Spheres of Law and Business

• Professor Stephan Gift (Pro Vice-Chancellor) – Spheres of Electrical Graduate Studies and Engineering and Research

• Orville London (Former High Commissioner/THA Chief Secretary) – Spheres of Education and Public Service

• Dr Emanuel Hosein (Medical Practitioner) – Sphere of Empowerment of Disabled Persons

• Errol Ince (Senior lecturer/composer) – Spheres of Music and Culture

• Debbie Jacob (Librarian-journalist) – Sphere of Humanitarian Work

• Dr Lakshmi Seeterram-Persaud (Author) – Spheres of Literature, Education and Culture

• Pundit Hari Prasad (Hindu Priest-Pundit – Posthumously) – Spheres of Religion, Culture and Social Service


• Maureen Clement (Retired Educator/Musician) – Spheres of Community Service and Prison Reform

• Edgar Vidale (Former T&T football coach) – Spheres of Sport and community Service

• Ken “Professor” Philmore Composer, Arranger, Musician – Posthumously) – Spheres of Steelband Music and Culture

• Asgar Ali (Chairman Welfab Barbados Limited) – Sphere of Business

HUMMING BIRD MEDAL (Loyal and Devoted Service/ in any field of human endeavour/for gallantry/other humane action)


• Dr Lester Goetz (Urologist) – Sphere of Medicine

• Gillian Bishop (Jeweller/Designer) – Spheres of Arts and Culture

• Dominic Kalipersad (Journalist) – Sphere of Journalism

• Reeanna Harrilal (Former broadcast journalist) – Spheres of Community Service/Education and Empowerment

• Neil Guiseppi (Managing Director – Retired) – Spheres of Media and Culture

• Professor Kari Polanyi Levitt (Professor Emerita – Retired) – Spheres of Economics and Education

• Ainsley Mark (Accountant – Posthumously) – Sphere of Community Service


• Dr. Indrawatee-Haraksingh (University Lecturer) – Sphere of Education

• Gregory Medina (Artist/Designer) – Spheres of Arts/Costume Design

• Oliver Chapman (Music Composer, producer, singer) – Spheres of Music and Culture

• Christopher Santos (Artist/Designer) Spheres of Art/Costume Design

• Sister Kawalee Narinesingh (Community Service Provider) – Spheres of Community Service-Rehabilitation of Inmates

• Edwin “Crazy” Ayoung (Artiste) – Spheres of Music and Culture

• Clifton “Mighty Bomber” Ryan (Calypsonian/songwriter – Posthumously) – Spheres of Music and Culture



• Charles Mitchell (Superintendent of Police – Retired) – Sphere of Gallantry

PUBLIC SERVICE MEDAL OF MERIT (Awarded for Outstanding and Meritorious Service to T&T)


• Herwald Elder (Principal/lecturer) Sphere of Education

• Carlisle Harris (Visual Artist) – Spheres of Culture/Education

• Girdharry Seerattansingh (Principal – Retired) – Sphere of Education

• Dr Verleen Bobb-Lewis (School Supervisor – Retired) – Sphere of Education

• Wilma Collins (Radiographer/lecturer) – Spheres of Radiology and Health Sciences

• Sister Marie-Therese Rétout (Religious Sister/Nun) – Spheres of Public Service, Communications and Child Development

• Elton Nelson (Principal – Posthumously) – Sphere of Education

Medal for the Development of Women (Awarded for Outstanding Contribution/ to the development of/Women’s Rights and Issues)


• Terry Ince (Development Consultant) – Sphere of Development of Women’s Rights