I read one newspaper today and there is not a word in it about the Sabga award for Excellence given out this year to five persons in the region. The award worth $5 million dollars to each laureate and amounting to a grand total of 2.5 million dollars this year alone and 23.3 million dollars overall since its inception 17 years ago, is something deserving of headline news in both the print or electronic media.
I learnt of it from CNC 3 news Thursday 3rd and thought I will read more about it in the today’s newspaper, but nothing in the one I bought. While the Nobel Prize has an international profile – its prestige comes about in part to its longevity as the first Nobel Prize was awarded back in 1901.
The Dr. Anthony Sabga award for Caribbean Excellence is the great, great, great grandchild of the Nobel and since it is open just for Caribbean people, it might not make the front cover of Time Magazine or the BBC headline news, and which is why our media should treat it as banner headline news for us.
Things like this confirm why we are defined as a definitive Third World banana republic. We have people in the profession who have no idea what deserves coverage and what is just not news… but they hold down editorial positions where they make decisions that affect us.
The award is special for several reasons apart from its monetary value – which is most philanthropic. You see there are lots of corporate businesses and business people who will not spend the proverbial cent to see the world spin. You hear of banks making hundreds of millions in profit every year and they will still pick your pockets if you let them. You know of those who get billion dollar contracts and if you ask them to sponsor a school magazine all they don’t do is run you out of their place at gun point. And then you hear how wealthy this one is and that one is, but you can’t say in what way they have contributed to the uplift of mankind; that they made it is enough for them – although they want the world to know that they made it – but only for themselves – not like Sabga, Alfred Nobel, Andrew Carnegie etc. who put their money where their mouth is.
L. Siddhartha Orie