The Sunshine Awards hosted by Gil Figaro and Nikki Crosby, dedicated their 24th Annual Awards show held in New York City to the Anniversary of the Independence of Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. The black tie gala celebrated the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean, South America, Central America and Africa, and rejoiced over the progress recorded over the last 50 years.
This year, the Sunshine Awards Organization established an award in honor of Dr Basil Matthews, the erudite Trinidadian-born Benedictine monk (1911-1999) and Founder of St. Benedicts College, who ought to be a fixture in the minds of Trinbagonians everywhere. His legacy tends to be invoked primarily in connection with the meteoric rise of Dr Eric E. Williams, former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
Eight awards were presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of education, sports and humanity. Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago received the Sportsman Award for winning a Gold Medal in the men’s javelin at the 2012 Summer Olympic Game. Although Monty Alexander, a Jazz musician, from Jamaica, was unable to be present, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for fifty years of contribution to the performing arts.
Dr. Prince Ramsey and Rawdon Edwards of Antigua also collected an award for their involvement in and support of the performing arts. Professor Brinsley Samaroo, a historian, author, teacher and researcher from Trinidad and Tobago, collected the prestigious Dr. Basil Matthews Sunshine Award for his significant contribution to education in Trinidad and Tobago and beyond. Gina Faustino of Haiti also received an award for her contribution to the performing arts and Haitian culture, and finally, the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble of the United States energetically entertained spectators and walked away with an award for their dedication to African dance.
Dr. Hollis “Chaldust” Liverpool and Dr. Harold Robertson inducted a few accomplished individuals into the 2012 Sunshine Awards Hall of Fame. They include Malcolm Corrica (Lord Canary) of Guyana for his contribution to calypso music; Merle Albino-De Coteau of Trinidad and Tobago for her contributions to the performing arts; The Regeneration Duo of Trinidad and Tobago for their involvement in calypso music; Bert Innis (deceased) of Trinidad and Tobago for his gifts to Caribbean music and Randolph “Baba” St. Louis of Trinidad and Tobago for his contributions to steelband music.