Express Editorial : Daily

In the same way light is emphasised by darkness, so too have points of excellence stood out sharply amid the hardships and challenges of 2020. Over the past few weeks you, our dear readers, have submitted your nominations for those you consider most deserving of our annual awards in recognition of excellence. We thank you and marvel at the consistency of nominations which has made this year’s selections almost unanimous.

It is our greatest pleasure to salute this year’s awardees: Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Akash Parasram as Express Individual of the Year 2020; SewaTT as Express Community Group of the Year 2020; and swimmer Dylan Carter, Youth Personality of the Year 2020.

Put to the test, our awardees scaled the heights of excellence and, in the process, lifted our hearts in a year of dread.

Before March 12, 2020, many if not most of the population did not know the name Dr Roshan Parasram. Today, it wouldn’t be hard to find persons who both know the name and have an opinion about the man he is.

Dr Parasram, 42, will forever be known as the medical professional who guided Trinidad and Tobago through the scary waters of the Covid-19 pandemic with a sure sense of calm, confident knowledge and an unflappable aplomb that have earned him the trust of a grateful nation.

Thrust into the limelight, the inscrutable Dr Parasram epitomised a cool candour grounded in a career spent in the public health system. While the race is not yet won, we salute Chief Medical Officer Dr Parasram for excellence in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2020, community organisations emerged as towers of strength as Covid-19 bit hard. Among these, SewaTT, a non-profit organisation comprised of mainly youths based in Central Trinidad, stood out for the sheer scope of its efforts in mitigating hunger and despair. It delivered thousands of food hampers to persons not captured by the State’s food card system; supplied cooked meals daily to groups of medical staff; ran blood drives and maintained a roster of yoga classes to help people keep fit and de-stress, among other things.

SewaTT’s management capacity and ability to inspire volunteerism make it a worthy recipient of the 2020 award for excellence by a community organisation.

In a year when sports, too, became a casualty of the global ­pandemic, national swim athlete Dylan Carter, 24, summoned the strength of a champion’s heart, breaking national records against the world’s best swimmers. Carter set three national records in the 100m backstroke (49.91), 100m freestyle (46.56) and 100m fly (50.70) in the International Swimming League series.

This week his performance earned him the T&T Olympic Committee’s Sportsman of the Year title and the 2020 Swammy Award as the Central American and Caribbean Male Swimmer of the Year from the swimming news website SwimSwam. For excellence in sports, it is our honour to declare Dylan Carter the Express Youth of the Year 2020.

In saluting this year’s awardees, our hope is that they will continue to excel and to inspire the rest of us towards excellence in everything we do.


Carnival pores now raising up. Driven in part by the regret of pockets not filling, there are calls to do something to mark the spot normally occupied by the Carnival season.

But Sekon Sta (Nesta Boxill) is smarter than all of those who are belatedly rushing into the headlines. In the words of Sparrow, “Ah wish I coulda go and shake he han”. I might invite him to change his name to First Sta, in recognition of being the first to re-jig a Carnival product for pandemic times.

The judgment delivered by Justice Frank Seepersad on Wednesday in favour of this newspaper, its editor-in-chief and publishing company underscores the urgent need for strengthening legislative protection of press freedom and journalistic sources.

Tribalism has dominated the politics of Trinidad and Tobago since self-government, with our two major political parties having their support bases in the two major races in the country.

Last Thursday, in his response to a letter written by 23 Afro-Trinbagonians about the placement of black pupils in our secondary schools, Kamal Persad, coordinator of the Indian Review Committee, responded: “It is clear the under-performance of Afro-children in the education system is still at the top of the black agenda. Accordingly, these 23 persons of African descent adopted an unmistakable black race position.” (Express, January 14).

The urgency with which this nation must address the issues that threaten to throw us back into the Stone Age cannot be over-emphasised.

We were already in deep trouble when Covid-19 struck with pandemic force in early 2020, sending us reeling from blows to the body, the mind, even the spirit. The energy and petrochemicals sectors faced grim circumstances, the availability of natural gas, the key feedstock of the latter’s operations, being of grave concern, and the markets for their products saturated and dampened.

Some say that in our diversification thrust we should choose distribution and sales of products/services made by others, as opposed to manufacturing. The justification for this is that such companies are among the highest earners in the world, and that Trinidad and Tobago is too small to compete globally in manufacturing.