Two women were in the spotlight last night as the CARICOM Heads of Government Conference kicked off.
Neither was a prime minister nor president; but both were leaders in their own right.
Bahamian Marion Bethel was the toast of the evening as CARICOM conferred its prestigious Triennial Award for Women on her, while Dominican songwriter, vocalist and flautist Michele Henderson was awarded for creating the new CARICOM song.
Bethel, an attorney, scholar, poet, filmmaker and creative writer was honoured for her advocacy in promoting gender equality and human rights for almost three decades.
CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said Bethel demonstrated the type of commitment to the region that is a fine example for many to emulate.
One of the highlights of the opening ceremony at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa was Henderson’s debut rendition of Celebrating CARICOM, supported by dancers from the National Dance Theatre of Antigua & Barbuda.
Following a well-received performance that earned her rousing applause, Henderson was presented with US$10,000 and a plaque by Ambassador LaRocque.
The song, which will be used at ceremonial and Community events, was written and produced by Henderson in collaboration with her husband Roland Delsol Jnr, as well as her band and other music colleagues in Dominica.
It was chosen from a total 63 entries in the CARICOM Song Competition that was launched in April 2013.