A 70-year-old woman from Curacao is this year’s CIBC First Caribbean International Bank’s Regional Unsung Hero.
Gerda Suzanna Gosepa was selected in Barbados today by a panel of judges that comprised former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Guyana’s Sir Shridath Ramphal, chairman; Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Barbadian, Sir George Alleyne; Barbados’ first female High Court judge, Lady Marie Simmons; Chairman of the Fair Trading Commission and former President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Sir Neville Nicholls; former Head of the Bahamas Union of Teachers, A. Leonard Archer; renowned Caribbean journalist, Jones P. Madeira of Trinidad and Tobago; and activist for indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, Dominican, Charles Williams.
The heroes are chosen based on criteria that included the level of personal sacrifice made by the nominees, the impact their work had on their community, their length of service and the scope of the projects undertaken.
Director of Corporation Communications for the bank, Debra King told Barbados TODAY that Gosepa spent 36 years contributing to the development of two low income villages in Curacao. He added that the 2012 unsung hero had been organising social, cultural and educational events during that period as well as being an activist for women’s rights.
She noted that this elderly volunteer had served these communities at personal sacrifice.
In addition to receiving US $6,000 for being the unsung hero at the national level, Gosepa will also get US $7,500 for winning the region-wide programme.
This year’s runners up were former drug addict and current anti-drug campaigner, Bonti Liverpool from Dominica, and physically challenged “go-to-guy” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Edward Williams.
Each also won US $6,000 for being selected unsung heroes in their countries, with an additional US $5,000 as regional runners up.
During today’s ceremony at the 3Ws Pavilion at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, a coffee table book was launched in which the work of those honoured as unsung heroes over the years, has been recognised.
The book, which featured the stunning and evocative black and white images of iconic Barbadian photographer Ronnie Carrington, chronicles the work of the heroes in their communities from 2003 to 2011.
It tells the stories of the 24 heroes, those who selflessly continued their good works and those who are no longer alive, but who have left an indelible mark on their respective communities.
Copies of the publication were presented by Carrington to the panel of judges. (EJ)