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Happy Diamond Jubilee, Trinidad and Tobago!


Bevan Springer, President & CEO, Marketplace Excellence
Illustration by Abdul Wahid, Marketplace Excellence

Happy Diamond Jubilee, Trinidad and Tobago!

This week I am taking time to shine some light on the achievements of the land of my birth on the occasion of 60 years of independence.

While I primarily identify as Bajan, I am in fact a proud Trinidad-born West Indian national with Guyanese roots – born in Trinidad and Tobago to Bajan and Guyanese parents, who perhaps would not have been responsible for my arrival had they not met while studying at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

My family left Trinidad when I was two years old, precipitated by the need for doctors’ visits in my father’s native Barbados, which eventually became home for the next 14 years.

My brother Kevin (also born in Trinidad) and I would visit Trinidad frequently as youngsters, especially during the summer months when we reconnected with our Trini roots. I recall spending the most joyous of vacations with our cousin Richard, his wife Sally and their children in the south of Trinidad. As budding athletes, we would spend our days playing tennis with less enjoyable aspects including having to run home alongside Richard’s car as he, no doubt chuckling along the way, urged us to get fitter. The reward, however, was benefiting from Sally’s culinary prowess as she whipped up sumptuous Trini dishes of both the savory and sweet variety to cap our grueling workout.

I would later return to Trinidad on Barbados national duty for many a tennis tournament, and it was an honor to medal for my new homeland at the 1987 Carifta Games in Port of Spain. My brother later returned to UWI’s St. Augustine campus, the same educational institution that united our parents, to earn a degree in electrical and computer engineering. Later he proudly served national carrier BWIA West Indies as an airline pilot, before moving to the Middle East where he captained Emirates’ fleet of Airbus 380 aircraft.

As I listen to the refrain of Jamaican Eric Donaldson’s “The land of my birth”, I beam with a large degree of personal pride to be a citizen of “The Land of the Hummingbird”.

In a tribute to T & T this week, respected Barbadian broadcaster Vic Fernandes reflected (in his entertaining “Market Vendor” skit) that Trinidad and Tobago produced steelpan, chutney and calypso music; artists the likes of Lord KitchenerThe Mighty SparrowDavid RudderMachel Montano and Patrice Roberts; Miss World Giselle Laronde, and Miss Universe winners Penny Commissiong and Wendy Fitzwilliam; Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and global mas-man Peter Minshall; cricket legend Brian Lara; and food and beverage offerings the likes of pelau, bake and shark, and doubles, which can be seamlessly paired with a Carib Beer. And of course, according to Vic, the greatest mathematical equation – one from 10 equals zero – referring to former Premier Dr. Eric Williams’ theorem that with Jamaica’s departure, the dream of a West Indies Federation was over.

As I share the richness of my Caribbean heritage with global audiences, I often reflect with pride about the multicultural, multiethnic and multireligous experience that constitutes the twin-island republic.

“Here every creed and race find an equal place, and may God bless our nation.”

To my Trini friends and family at home and abroad, may God bless you and may God bless “Sweet T & T”!

Bevan Springer is the President and CEO of Marketplace Excellence, a global public relations, marketing and media company.


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