November 2017

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Originally from Rio Claro, Mr. Andrew Marcano made his calypso debut at the Victory tent in Port of Spain. As the “Boy Wonder” he shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business: Spoiler, Spitfire, Cypher, Pretender, Lord Blakie and Lord Melody. The year was 1954 and he was just 16 years old – the youngest calypsonian to perform locally. He was an advocate for calypso through action and in song. At the age of 19 he helped to organize a boycott of the 1957 Calypso King Competition. His calypso Brass Crown outlined the main points of contention: the racial and class discrimination that saw the Calypso King receive just $40, while the Jaycees (Junior Chamber) Carnival Queen winner received significantly more. The following year, the Calypso King’s prize was $1,000.

Lord Superior was the first calypsonian to protest against the practice of radio stations and the society of refraining from playing and singing calypso during the Lenten season.

In 2004, Lord Superior was honored by UNESCO for his 50 years in calypso and the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization’s (TUCO) counted him among the Top 50 Calypsonians of all time. In 2012 he was honoured by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and by the Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association’s for his role in the liberalization of local broadcasting in Trinidad and Tobago. He was awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) in 2015.

Mr. Devine grew up in Morne Diablo in South Trinidad where he played the steelpan with his cousin’s band and learned the basics of reading and writing music notation. Apart from that however, he is a self-taught musician. He attended the Morne Diablo R.C. School, then the San Fernando Technical College. In his mid-twenties he moved to Port of Spain where he continued to play pan and began to write songs.

Mr. Devine would write his songs and pass them to artistes who came to him if he thought it was a good fit. He read widely from different genres and has always had a keen interest in current affairs: class issues, environmental destruction, history, culture, and politics.

He gave himself the sobriquet “Joker” because he originally intended to sing his songs himself. He recorded a few; the prophetic Progress, was originally written for himself but eventually he passed it on to King Austin and the rest is history. That masterpiece continues to resonate with audiences decades later and was hailed by the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) as the song of the last millennium.

Although ill health prevents Mr. Devine from writing as much as he used to, in 2016 he shared his talents with young songwriters as part of the Culture Division’s Mentoring by the Masters programme. He received the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) in 1998 for his contributions to music and the arts.

Ms. Brown’s activism began in Diego Martin in the late 1960s, when she formed a neighbourhood group. Curiosity led her to join the Housewives Association of Trinidad and Tobago (HATT), which educated consumers and advocated for their rights. She became a founding member of the Telephone Users Group, which represented consumers at the hearings for telephone rates in 1971. She took part in similar hearings on electricity rates, bringing about changes to the rate structures for both utilities.

Ms Brown was a founding member of the Network of NGOs of Trinidad & Tobago for the Advancement of Women. The Network was created in 1985 to coordinate a national position for the End of Decade Conference in Nairobi. Thirty years later, the Network represents more than 100 non-profit groups focused on women’s and family issues.

She is a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth Women’s Network. She co-founded TIBS – The Informative Breastfeeding Society. Her own health challenges led her to form a network of medical, immigration and other officials to help cancer patients in Guyana have access to care in Trinidad. She spearheaded the rejuvenation of the East-Side Plaza in Port of Spain, which provides entrepreneurship opportunities for lower-income women.

Her publications include A Study of Diabetes and Hypertension in Women 25 years and over in Trinidad and Tobago and she co-authored the Role of Working Women in Early Childhood Education in Trinidad and Tobago.

Born at Palmyra Village, Berbice, Guyana, Professor Seecharan attended the Sheet Anchor Anglican School, the Berbice Educational Institute, and Queen’s College. He received his BA (Social Anthropology) and MA (Social Anthropology/History) from McMaster University in Canada, and then taught Caribbean Studies at the University of Guyana. He attained his PhD at the University of Warwick, where he was the first doctoral graduate of the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies. He was the Head of Caribbean Studies at London Metropolitan University from 1993 to 2012 and also lectured on the History of West Indies Cricket. In 2003 he was awarded a Certificate of Distinction by the Guyana High Commission (London). In 2002, he was awarded a Professorship in History at the London Metropolitan University, where he is now Emeritus Professor of History.

Professor Seecharan’s publications include ‘Tiger in the Stars’: The Anatomy of Indian Achievement in British Guiana, 1919-29; Bechu: ‘Bound Coolie’ Radical in British Guiana, 1894-1901; Muscular Learning: Cricket and Education in the Making of the British West Indies at the End of the 19th Century; From Ranji to Rohan: Cricket and Indian Identity in Colonial Guyana, 1890s-1960s; Mother India’s Shadow over El Dorado: Indo-Guyanese Politics and Identity, 1890s-1930s; Finding Myself: Essays on Race, Politics and Culture.

His Sweetening ‘Bitter Sugar’: Jock Campbell, the Booker Reformer in British Guiana, 1934-66, was awarded the prestigious Elsa Goveia Prize by the Association of Caribbean Historians in 2005.