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Awardees of the 32nd anniversary celebration of the City of San Fernando from left Dawad Phillip, Rana Mohip, Lionel Jagessar, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Joan Austin for her husband (Milton Austin), Steve “Ras Kommanda” Pascall and Junior Bisnath. Back row centre is San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello and council members at the Susamachar Church, Harris Promenade, San Fernando.

Although unpleasant news mires 2020, it is turning out to be a year of accolades for famed panman Len “Boogsie” Sharpe who will be conferred honorary citizenship to the City of San Fernando.

The announcement comes days after the University of the West Indies (UWI) named Sharpe among 14 people across the region who will receive honorary degrees at its 2020 graduation ceremonies scheduled to take place from January 11–16.

UWI will honour Sharpe with a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) for steelpan arrangement, composition, and performance.

UWI will also honour another cultural icon Paul Keens-Douglas for his work in culture and the arts.

In a service at the Susamacher Presbyterian Church yesterday to kick off San Fernando City Week, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said 2020/21 would be the “Year of the Arts.”

Regrello said the San Fernando City Corporation would pay homage to icons who helped shape the City’s cultural landscape.

“As we embark on this initiative, I am pleased to announce that we will be bestowing a special award on one of our living legends, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe by making him an honorary citizen of the City of San Fernando. As one of our nation most gifted musicians, composers and arrangers, he stands as a titan of artistic and cultural prominence of his generation. He has composed several original pieces, such as “In the Rainforest” which was the tune of choice at the World Steelband Music Festival in 2000 and Echoes of War at Maddison Square Garden in New York in 2005,” Regrello said.

The Mayor mourned the loss of several of the City’s cultural icons this year.

They include songstress Joyce Caesar; James Leewah, the City’s father of theatre and founding member of the San Fernando Arts Council and Dennis Hall, soubriquet Sprangalang, who brought laughter and vibrancy to everyday life.

The City will also honour other outstanding citizens, including Junior Bisnath—a trainer and artist who led moko jumbies to represent and support T&T in the Fifa World Cup in Germany back in 2006; Milton “Wire” Austin- pan player and leader of Fonclaire Steel Orchestra; Brandon Mohip- Promoter of East Indian culture; Steve Pascall, sobriquet Ras Komanda- an entertainer and administrator of calypso and soca music; Lionel Jagessar- Designer of authentic Traditional Indian mas and Dawad Phillip- Writer, poet and mas designer.