Chalkdust awarded T&T’s highest honor

Trinidadian calypsonian Mighty Chalkdust.

Former nine-time Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Monarch, Dr. Hollis Liverpool popularly called “Chalkdust” was awarded the country’s highest national award — the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT) — on Trinidad and Tobago’s 43rd anniversary as a republic on Sept. 24.

The Trinity Cross was the highest national award until it was changed in 2006.

Dr. Liverpool was nominated in the sphere of education, culture and research.

He was among 40 persons who were awarded medals for their services and contributions to Trinidad and Tobago in various fields. The occasion also marked the 50th anniversary of the National Awards ceremony, which was held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain.

Dr. Liverpool has become the second calypsonian to receive Trinidad and Tobago’s highest award in the nation’s history. It is not his first award.

The only other calypsonian to receive the ORTT was McCartha “Calypso Rose” Lewis in 2017.

Last year former, Minister of Finance Wendell Mottley was the only recipient of the nation’s highest award.

In 1976 Chalkdust received the Humming Bird Medal (Silver) for his contribution to calypso.

Chalkdust has been singing calypso since the 1960s and has won the Calypso Monarch titles nine times during his career. He is also a university professor.

He taught at primary and secondary schools for more than 35 years and afterwards, served in the Ministry of Culture as a cultural officer and director of culture from 1993 to 1999 when he retired from public service.

He has recorded more than 300 calypsoes.

Chalkdust has won the Calypso King of the World title in New York twice, the Buy Local competition title nine times, and was the nine-time Caribbean Monarch in the US Virgin Islands.

Commenting on his award Chalkdust said, “after 53 years in the vineyard, I have to say thanks for all that I have done, for recognizing my work, for recognizing my contribution not only for culture and carnival, but also education.”

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