It was an occasion today when close family members, friends and associates of 22 leading members of the Barbadian society met at Government House on Government Hill, St Michael, to witness and celebrate the conferring of National Honours on their loved ones by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave.
Taking the top award of Companion Of Honour in the 2015 Independence Honours was long-standing actress and writer Cynthia Valmai Wilson, who was accompanied by her son Dr Marc Wilson.
Wilson, who was born in Lucas Street, St Philip, on June 16, 1934, received her secondary education at Queen’s College and later entered the University of the West Indies, Mona, on a Barbados Government Exhibition where she attained a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma in Education.
It was noted that Wilson’s contribution to the development of the disciplines of the cultural arts over four decades had been “prodigious
The citation further noted that the award of Companion Of Honour was given in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Barbados.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY at the conclusion of the two-hour ceremony, Wilson said: “The limes have fallen for me in pleasant places. I could not say it any better than that.”
Asked if she would encourage the island’s youth to pursue a career in the cultural industry, Wilson said: “Well, I do not know. I am very ambivalent with this cultural industry concept because when I hear industry, I think people feel they are building roads and buildings. People who are getting into culture cannot get into culture because what you live is your culture. So everybody is in it.”
Educator Jeanese Badenock; public servant and diplomat Samuel Chandler; dental educator, lecturer, mentor and leader Dr Victor Eastmond and retired trade unionist Levere Richards all received the Gold Crown Of Merit for their contribution to their respective fields.
Nadine Benn-Greaves, Dr George Callender, Marva Felicia Clarke and Leric Innocent Hunte were awarded the Silver Crown Of Merit for their outstanding contribution to their respective fields of endeavour.
Juliet Benjamin, Matthew Farley, Hyacinth Grimes, Judy Thomas and Ashton Turney were awarded the Barbados Service Star for their contribution to the development of Barbados.
Commenting on his award, educator Farley, in the presence of his wife Alphine, sister Dr Patricia Saul and daughter Maachelle Farley, said: “The receipt of a National Honour always gives you a good feeling and a sense of achievement, knowing that your contribution is recognized by your country. That in itself is an achievement.
“The family structure which includes my wife, my daughter and sister also gave me a sense of support.”
Edmund Bradshaw, Leonard Brome, Harold Chandler, Marcia Graham and Reverend Emeritus Edwin Ifill rceived the Barbados Service Medal for their contribution to the country.
Meanwhile, police constables Omar Griffith, Jamal Ifill and Philip Wiles received Barbados Bravery Medal in recognition of their risking their lives to rescue Margaret Walters who had fallen into a septic tank at her residence on October 14, 2015.
Commenting on his award for bravery, Ifill said: “I feel honoured and humble, and I appreciate it a lot. Constable Wiles is the person who actually descended into the well. We had to make a quick decision at that time and it worked out well, thank God.
“I am happy that we have made the Royal Barbados Police Force proud by our action.”