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Six Vincentians make the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List

Six Vincentians make the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List


SIX Vincentians from a wide range of fields have been recognized for their outstanding achievement and service.{{more}}

On Friday, December 31, 2010, when the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for 2011 was announced, veteran politician and lawyer Rene Baptiste was awarded the Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG), for her service in the fields of law, international finance, culture and politics. She is the second Vincentian female to receive the award. Dame Monica Dacon was the first to be awarded the prestigious honour.

Pastor Dermoth Baptiste, Coordinator of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Region of Seventh Day Adventists, was awarded Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.), for his service to the Christian fellowship and community work.

Bernard Morgan, former Chief Personnel Officer, was also recognized with the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.), for his contribution to public administration.

Robert Sandy, Germaine Rose and Winston Bacchus were each awarded Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.). Sandy for his service to the Police Force, the maintenance of law, and consumer affairs; Rose for her contribution to early childhood education and community service, and Bacchus for his contribution to teaching and education.

When contacted on Sunday afternoon, Baptiste told SEARCHLIGHT that she is delighted to have received the award for her years of service in various areas.

Of her experience in the Offshore Finance Sector, Baptiste noted that she had the privilege of starting it with the Trust Authority. She said in 1996, when the decision was taken to upgrade the Trust Authority to the Offshore Finance Authority, she was given the task as the first Offshore Finance Inspector to work on the upgraded legislation.

She also reflected on her life as a politician, which started as early as 1975, when she joined the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party.

Baptiste also made her mark as Minister of Tourism, as well as Minister of Culture. Regionally, she has been called a champion for change in culture. SHE magazine has also identified Baptiste as one of the top 10 most powerful women in the Caribbean.

“In looking back, when I was packing up my things [from the Ministry of Culture], I said well thank God I did do something for the people in the constituency [West Kingstown], especially those children,” Baptiste said, noting that she adopted them as her own, to get them through secondary school.

She said that she is always ecstatic when she receives news from them about their performance at various universities which they attend.

“To me it’s not Rene Baptiste; it’s St.Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Baptiste, noting that while she feels proud to be the trophy holder, St.Vincent and the Grenadines should receive all the praises.

After two terms as a Government Minister, Baptiste, this month, returns to her law practice. She disclosed that local and regional organizations have already contacted her to work in Governance and Culture, but the public will hear more of these soon.

Pastor Baptiste, when contacted, said he humbly accepts the award. He has been doing pastoral work for the past 30 years, both locally and regionally. This includes community service and projects, evangelism, teaching and the building of schools. Baptiste heads the Seventh Day Adventist denomination in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, and also had the distinction of serving as the Secretary of the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh Day Adventists.

“I feel very humbled by the honour. I wasn’t really looking to it, but if the state feels so fit to bestow it upon me, I accept it with deepest humility, on behalf of all those individuals whose lives I would have touched in one way or the other during my tenure,” said Pastor Baptiste.

Morgan, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, expressed thanks to the Government for bestowing the honour on him.

“This is a tribute to all those wonderful people who have worked so hard with me to deliver to Vincentians all over, not only in St.Vincent, but in the Diaspora,” said Morgan.

Sandy said he is elated to have received the award. He said he had expected to receive the award before, having worked with the Government for 34 years and working with statutory boards.

Rose said briefly whatever she does, it is done from the bottom of her heart.

She said that it was always her dream to be a teacher, and at age 14, she entered the teaching profession and has continued to the present.

Deep appreciation for the award was expressed by Bacchus as recognition for his 40 years of public service, particularly in the field of education.

“I have touched the lives of hundreds of persons over the years and I feel proud today that one of my former primary school pupils is the Hon. Girlyn Miguel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education. Also, one of my former college students is the Rev. Stilson Cato, Superintendent Minister of the Methodist Church in the Georgetown/Mt. Coke circuit,” said Bacchus.

He said that in all his endeavours over the years, his aim was to help in the development of the nation of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

“The question of honours was not on my agenda. However, I am pleased with the recognition and I also hope that very soon St.Vincent and the Grenadines will have its own National Awards,” said Bacchus. (HN)