An octogenarian has received Barbados’ second highest honour in this year’s Independence Day Awards.
Cynthia Valmai Wilson was awarded the Companion of Honour – given for distinguished national achievement and merit – for her contribution to the cultural life of Barbados.
The 81-year-old author and actress has spent over four decades in the cultural arts industry, and has been appropriately described as one of Barbados’ “grand dames of the cultural arts”.
It is perhaps in the discipline of theatre arts that Wilson might have made her most memorable contribution, where she has excelled in several capacities as performer, producer, administrator and activist.
She is the recipient of several other awards including the the Barbados Service Star (1992), the Humanities Scholar Award (1998), presented by the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Arts in Barbados and the wider Caribbean; the Distinguished Graduate Award from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus (1999); the Earl Warner Trust Lifetime Achievement Award (2001); the Cacique Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) presented by the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago; the Hall of Fame Award for Excellence, presented by the CARICOM Caribbean Development for the Arts Foundation (2003); and in 2003, the award of the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from the University of the West Indies, in recognition of her signal contribution to the development of the creative arts in the Caribbean.
One of Wilson’s most lasting legacies will be her role in the conceptualisation and realisation of the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) in 1973. She was one of the moving spirits behind the establishment of NIFCA, serving as a member of the initial organising committee under the chairmanship of Jean Holder, as secretary and producer from 1973-1975, director from 1975-1976 and producer from 1987-1989.
She also served as the first chairperson of the Association of Caribbean Theatre Artists which was formed in Jamaica in the late 1980s. In 1997 she was appointed by the CARICOM Secretariat as one of the founding Directors of the CARICOM Foundation for Art and Culture.
She has produced innumerable shows at the national level at the request of Government, and virtually all cultural presentations for visiting Heads of State, between 1975 and 1995, including presentations in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her visits to Barbados in 1975 and 1989.
Wilson is the author of five books with the sixth set to be launched in May 2016.
Here is a full list of this year’s Independence Day Awards.
Companion of Honour – awarded for distinguished national achievement and merit.
1. Cynthia Valmai Wilson for her contribution to the cultural life of Barbados.
Gold Crown of Merit – awarded for highly meritorious service or achievement in science, the arts, literature, sports, civic duties or any other endeavor worthy of national recognition.
1. Jeanese Elaine Badenock – For her contribution to the teaching profession as well as christian education.
2. Mr. Samuel Jefferson Chandler – In recognition of his meritorious public service.
3. Dr. Victor Haskell Eastmond – For his outstanding meritorious service and achievements in Barbados and the Caribbean as a dental surgeon, forensic orthodontist, dental educator, lecturer, mentor and leader.
4. Erskine LeVere Richards – For his contribution to the trade union movement.
Silver Crown of Merit – awarded for meritorious service or achievement in science, the arts, literature, sports, civic duties or any other endeavor worthy of national recognition.
1. Nadine Ruthlyn Benn-Greaves – For her contribution as a food scientist.
2. Dr. George Callender – In recognition of his contribution to technical and vocational education in Barbados.
3. Marva Clarke – For her contribution to the legal profession.
4. Leric Innocent Hunte – For his contribution to civil aviation.
Barbados Service Star – awarded for meritorious work in the civil, fire, military, police, prison or other protective services or any other similar field of endeavor.
1. Juliet Benjamin – For her contribution to the nursing profession.
2. Matthew Farley – For his contribution to education.
3. Hyacinth Fredrica Grimes – For her contribution to nursing and, in particular, palliative care.
4. Judy Thomas – In recognition of her contribution to disaster preparedness and management.
5. Ashton DaCosta Turney – For his contribution to the credit union movement.
Barbados Bravery Medal – awarded for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.
1. Constable 1994 Omar Griffith – For risking his life to rescue Margaret Walters, who had fallen into a septic tank at her residence.
2. Constable 2065 Jamal Ifill – For risking his life to rescue Margaret Walters, who had fallen into a septic tank at her residence.
3. Constable 1975 Phillip Wiles – For risking his life to rescue Margaret Walters, who had fallen into a septic tank at her residence.
Barbados Service Medal – awarded for meritorious work in the civil, fire, military, police, prison or other protective services or any other similar field of endeavor.
1. Edmond Bradshaw – For his contribution to the Barbados Red Cross Society.
2. Leonard Broome – For his contribution to the Royal Barbados Police Force.
3. Harold Randolph Chandler – For his contribution to radio communications, in particular, his contribution to the Barbados Citizens Band Radio Association.
4. Marcia Graham – In recognition of her contribution to parent education.
5. Rev Emeritus Edwin V. Ifill – For his outstanding work as a public servant and his dedicated service to the Church of the Nazarene in Barbados.
AWARD OF THE SERVICES MEDAL OF HONOUR AND CLASPS – Under the provision of the Services Medal of Honour Regulations, 1980 as contained in the Schedule to the Letters Patent of July 25, 1980, His Excellency the Governor-General has made the following awards to the persons indicated, to take effect from November 30, 2015:
Barbados Defence Force Services Medal of Honour – Sergeant Dawn Victoria Sealy, Sergeant Shon Jefferson Best, Sergeant Dexter Leroy Hope, Sergeant McAndrew Alexander Junior Ottley, Corporal Hilroy St Aubron Stoute, Corporal Troy Andre Bridgeman, Corporal Shane Lamar Collins, Corporal Alphonsa Alexander Dixon, Corporal Elvis DaCosta Lovell, Corporal Ryan Rio Nathaniel Odle, Lance Corporal Margrita Eurika Rouse, Lance Corporal Cheryl-Ann Elizabeth Codrington, Lance Corporal Omar Sylvester Holligan, Private Chino Alfordel Cupid.
1st Clasp to the Services Medal of Honour
1. Colour Sergeant Adrian Orlando Lopez
2. Sergeant Susan Carolyn Binks
3.Corporal Calvin Bernard Prescott
4.Corporal Junior Lionel Murray
2nd Clasp to the Services Medal of Honour
1. Major Glyne Sinatra Grannum
2. Colour Sergeant Rodney Carl Blackman
3. Lance Corporal Anderson Ruel Phillips
Royal Barbados Police Force Services Medal of Honour; Station Sergeant Dale Crichlow, Station Sergeant Frederick Catwell, Sergeant Orville Lovell, Sergeant Peter Gill, Sergeant Paul Vaughn, Sergeant Jerry Carter, Sergeant Shurland Mayers, Sergeant Wendell Greenidge, Sergeant Joy-Ann Wiltshire, Sergeant Lawrence Collymore, Sergeant Adrian Boyce, Sergeant Emmerson Sealey, Sergeant Jacqueline Bourne, Sergeant Basil Hinds, Sergeant Crishna Graham, Sergeant Cecil Taylor, Sergeant Sonia Thompson, Sergeant Junior Boyce, Sergeant Dexter Norville, Sergeant Wayne Fortune, Police Constable Llewellyn Pile, Police Constable Adrian Hurley, Police Constable Clarence Holder, Police Constable Peter Husbands, Police Constable Glenda Chandler, Police Constable Alwin Cottle, Police Constable Jerry Holder, Police Constable Trevor Woodroffe, Police Constable Samuel Yarde, Police Constable Davidson Porter, Police Constable Dale Jordan, Police Constable Andrew Springer, Police Constable Rudolph Clarke, Police Constable Clyde Dalrymple, Police Constable Clyde Bailey, Police Constable Trevor Griffith, Police Constable Hadyn Stuart, Police Constable Adrian Jones, Constable Kirk Corbin, Police Constable Keith Brathwaite, Police Constable Crystal Stevenson, Police Constable Lindsay Leacock, Police Constable Andrew Carter, Police Constable Ryan Brathwaite, Police Constable Gennine Julien, Police Constable Richard Spencer, Police Constable Elan Clarke, Police Constable Gladstone Worrell, Police Constable David Breedy, Police Constable Sean Rudder, Police Constable Carson.