Dabydeen, Arjoon win Sabga awards

Two Guyanese are among the four outstanding Caribbean men and women named as the winners of the 2008 Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence (ANSCAFE).

A media release from the organisation yesterday named Professor David Dabydeen as winner in the Arts & Letters section, while Annette Arjoon was named joint winner with Jamaican Claudette Richardson Pious in the Public & Civic Contributions segment. The prize is a gold medal, a citation and TT$500,000 and as joint winners Arjoon and Pious will share their monetary prize equally.

The other winner is James Husbands of Barbados who won in the Science & Technology segment. The four ANSCAFE laureates will receive their prizes at a gala ceremony set for Trinidad and Tobago on April 12.

Fifty-four-year-old Professor Dabydeen is a noted author of over 20 books of poetry, fiction and academic studies of West Indian literature and history. He won the Commonwealth Prize for Poetry for his first book, Slave Song (1984) and has won the Guyana Prize for Literature on three occasions. He is currently course convenor for the Master of Arts degree in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature in English at Warwick University in the UK.

Arjoon is the founding secretary and project co-ordinator of the Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society and has been instrumental in protecting Shell Beach, a 100-mile ecosystem in Region One where four species of marine turtle nest. She is also the managing director of Shell Beach Adventures, an eco-tourism company.

Husbands is an entrepreneur and director of the Barbadian firm Solar Dynamics, the Caribbean’s largest solar water heating company.

Pious is a former drama teacher who co-founded the non-governmental organisation, Children First in 1997.

The prize was established in 2005 by the ANSA McAL Foundation to seek out and reward excellence in the region. According to the release, candidates are nominated by multi-disciplinary Country Nominating Committees in five territories – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, the OECS and Trinidad and Tobago. The final selections are made by the Regional Eminent Persons Selection panel, chaired in 2007 by Sir Ellis Clarke, Trinidad and Tobago’s first President.

To be selected, laureates had to demonstrate a track record of consistently superior work and the capacity for significant future achievement; while their work must have had, or be likely to have, a positive impact on the Caribbean; and they must be worthy exemplars to people of the region.

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