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Ten nation builders honoured

Ten nation builders honoured

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Ten nation builders have been honoured here for outstanding contribution to the society.
The ten persons honoured Saturday evening by Unity Youths an arm of the ruling Unity Labour Party include Leopold Anthony, Frederick Gonsalves, Sarah Baptiste, Frank O Mason, Millicent Iton, Dr. Earle Kirby, Germaine Rose, Norman Williams and the late Thomas Saunders and Sylvester DeFreitas. {{more}}
This honouring ceremony held at the Tropic Breeze Hotel at Queen’s Drive, was the culmination of a process began when the Unity Youths published a series of articles detailing the achievements and contributions of the ten under the captions Nation Builders.
Leopold Anthony 82, was recognized for his contribution to music and culture. Anthony who was born on September 15, 1921 was described as a “true musician who started his musical life with a violin. He moved to the bamboo flute on which he specialized though he dominated a host of other musical instruments including the saxophone, clarinet, flute, guitar, drum and most recently the piano.
Anthony the father of eleven has also conducted choirs as well as been heavily involved in the Methodist Church where he preaches and is recognized as a community leader in Troumaca.
His book “Learn to play the Bamboo flute in two weeks” was printed in 1997 but suffered the unfortunate recall of the book, which never saw an official launching.
At Saturday’s honouring ceremony, Unity Youth promised to pursue the publishing of this book.
Frederick Gonsalves is best known as a winemaker but is also recognized as a carpenter and businessman. He is perhaps best known as the creator of the popular Gonsalves Black Wine, a staple of Vincy Christmas for making black cake. In fact the Unity Youth citation reads “there is never a Vincy black cake or Vincy Christmas without Gonsalves Black Wine.”
Uncle Freddie is also described as a regular caller to specific talk shows where he invariably gives free advice to the nation and to hosts of the programme.
Sarah Baptiste: Nurse Sarah Baptiste or Mother Sarah was born of Carib parents on the Campden Park Estate. According to the Unity Youth citation, she “unwillingly married to someone who was chosen for her. That union produced one daughter. She was honoured for her “hard work, dedication and commit -ment in the field of midwifery and nursing.”
She was recognized for her feat in never having any of the mothers whose babies she delivered die in childbirth. A real feat when one considers the conditions under which she operated back then.
Frank O Mason was born July 1926 in Barrouallie but was raised in Georgetown. FO as he is known was a keen sports man participating in athletics, football, table tennis, basketball, lawn tennis and boxing though he made his name at the highest levels of the game of cricket.
He was considered one of the fastest bowlers in the West Indies though he suffered the fate of many so-called small islanders of the era was was never called up to do duty for the West Indies squad. Perhaps the highlights of his cricketing years was when he bowled the famous Frank Worrell for a duck.
Millicent Iton, born in 1928 has distinguished herself in the area of social work and early childhood education. She has designed programmes in child care and development guidelines for child care professionals throughout the Caribbean. She has been the backone of the former Cansave and Vinsave institutions.
Dr. Earle Kirby was described as a man whose work became his hobby and viewed both man and animals as being created by one maker and connected to the cycle of life. Dr. Kirby is a trained veterinarian who also taught environmental education and helped to preserve historical artefacts. He is presently bedridden after suffering a fall, which damaged his hips.
Germaine Rose was born 75 years ago in Kingstown. She became a teacher at an early age and is a pioneer of early childhood education who started her own school downstairs her parents’ house.
She remains a faithful member of the YWCA and is Director of that institution’s Pre-school which is awaiting the move to their new headquarters built to make space for the government’s national library complex on Murray’s Road.
The mother of six was married to the late Reynold Rose but continues to care for many children, her passion.
Norman Williams herbalist is also known as Pointer Peters within the Spiritual Baptist movement. He lives in the community of Chuffler just outside Questelles and talks of many persons having been cured by his practices. His citation says that “he was the product of a rape and is convinced that he is special for having been conceived that way. All part of his destiny and spirituality it is told.
Pointer Peters claims to have the cure for all ailments from the common cold to AIDS.
Thomas Saunders was honoured for contribution to the Credit Union Movement of which he is recognized as the founder in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The citation said that Tommy Saunders first learnt about the credit union movement and its workings in 1957 in Guyana. Upon his return home he began to build the movement which has grown to the state where today it rivals the established banking sector as a lifesaver for many persons.
Tommy Saunders is survived by his wife Theo and children Chesley who received the award, Camille and Adrian.
Sylvester Gonsalves DeFreitas was born in Trinidad and married a Vincentian Leila Allen. Syl, Papa and Live Wire according to the citation dominated the contruction and entertainment industries here and developed many housing areas and nightclubs including Harbour Club in Kingstown and Coronation Club at Indian Bay and the Aquatic Club.
He was also remembered for establishing a horseracing track located at the present site of the ET Joshua Airport.
An anecdote told at the awards ceremony was that Syl who may have fathered fifty-two children once contested the Grenadines seat which he won until it was discovered that he had not been registered.
He built a number of boats including the Sea Queen, Sea Wolf, the Sea Gull and the Sea Horse which is remembered for bringing home a shipment of rice during the Second World War.
Six years before his death this man erected his tomb in the form of a cross on a bare rock at Indian Bay fifty yards from the shore, sat in front of the tomb and took a photograph. He requested that he be buried in an upright position and this wish was granted.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves addressed the ceremony and reminded the gathering of the importance of “redefining ourselves through the prism of your own eyes” and to see ourselves as an authentic and unique civilization. He urged the Unity Youth to look for other persons within their communities to be honoured and respected.
The simple ceremony also heard renditions in song by Sevon Prince who sang “Wind beneath my wings” in tribute to the honourees and Coramie Davis who performed, also acapella “I turn to you.”

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