The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Trinida­dian film­maker Danielle Di­ef­fen­thaller broke into tears at a mo­ment, re­call­ing her late father, as she ac­cepted her prize on Satur­day night at the San­dals Royal in Bar­ba­dos. Di­ef­fen­thaller and three other win­ners, Ki­mala Ben­nett from Ja­maica, Michael Tay­lor from Ja­maica, and Corey Lane from Bar­ba­dos, were hon­oured by the An­thony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Ex­cel­lence, for their work in sci­ence, art, en­trepreneur­ship, and ac­tivism. Di­ef­fen­thaller also thanked “those who had come be­fore her” as she ac­cepted her prize. The other lau­re­ates were also vis­i­bly moved as they thanked their par­ents, men­tors, and fam­i­lies for the sup­port which had al­lowed them to do the work they had done to be de­serv­ing of the award. Di­ef­fen­thaller is a Trinida­dian film­maker who has pro­duced, most fa­mously, the Trinida­dian TV se­ries West­wood Park; Tay­lor is a world-renowned cli­mate sci­en­tist; Ben­nett is a

me­dia en­tre­pre­neur in Ja­maica, founder of The Lab agency; and Lane is a youth ac­tivist in Bar­ba­dos, founder of the Na­ture Fun Ranch.

Her Ex­cel­lency, Dame San­dra Ma­son, Gov­er­nor Gen­eral of Bar­ba­dos, and the Mia Mot­t­ley, Bar­ba­dian Prime Min­is­ter, were present on Satur­day night to wit­ness the pre­sen­ta­tion, and Bar­ba­dian songstress Al­li­son Hinds gave an un­for­get­table per­for­mance.

The win­ners were pre­sented with cheques for (TT) $500,000, a medal and a citation. These four join 35 other lau­re­ates from through­out the Caribbean who have been hon­oured in the re­gion since 2006, when its in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony was held in Trinidad and Tobago. This was the first time the awards were staged in Bar­ba­dos, but the third year in a row they were held out­side Trinidad & Tobago. In 2017, the cer­e­mony was staged in Guyana, and last year in Ja­maica.

Sir Shri­dath Ram­phal, Chair­man of the awards’ re­gional se­lec­tion panel speak­ing at the event, praised the ANSA McAL Foun­da­tion, which funds the awards. The late Dr An­thony N Sabga, founder of the ANSA McAL GROUP, a re­gional con­glom­er­ate based in Trinidad, cre­ated the pro­gramme. The awards, said Sir Shri­dath, “Ac­knowl­edge the one-ness of our Caribbean so­ci­ety. They lift our sights to lev­els of per­for­mance which we do not be­lieve to be at­tain­able.” Sir Shri­dath also re­vealed that the awards com­mit­tees of var­i­ous is­lands would be em­pow­ered to seek nom­i­na­tions from out­side their ter­ri­tory. There are nom­i­nat­ing com­mit­tees which seek can­di­dates in Ja­maica, Bar­ba­dos, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and the OECS. This new de­vel­op­ment means any nom­i­nat­ing com­mit­tee could reach into ad­ja­cent ter­ri­to­ries, like the Ba­hamas, the Cay­mans, or Belize, which have no lo­cal nom­i­nat­ing com­mit­tee.

Also speak­ing at the event was Dr James Hus­bands, Bar­ba­dos’s first ANSA Caribbean Lau­re­ate (Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, 2008). He said the awards were the “re­gion’s great­est pri­vate sec­tor con­tri­bu­tion” to arts, sci­ence, pub­lic and civic con­tri­bu­tions and en­trepreneur­ship. He also praised the tan­gi­ble fi­nan­cial sup­port given which al­lows lau­re­ates time to think and pro­duce.

Mr A Nor­man Sabga, chair­man of the ANSA McAL Foun­da­tion, and Chair­man and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the ANSA McAL Group, reaf­firmed that “The ANSA McAL Group will con­tinue to sup­port these awards.”

L-R: Corey Lane, Danielle Di­ef­fen­thaller, Ki­mala Ben­nett, and Prof Michael Tay­lor.

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