How is it possible to decide that one from among many is more equal than the rest; it is the question that inspired the phrase primus inter pares – which means first among equals and which, because it is subjective by nature, is often the cause for disagreement, discussion, debate and queries. Why was Lloyd made captain when he was not an automatic member of the West Indies team? However, subjectivity sometimes comes with a prescience that transcends rationale as in this case as Lloyd went on to become one of the greatest captains in cricket history.
The Naipaul list of Indo-Trini awardees is so jam-packed with a Who’s Who of stars of one kind or another that to cherry pick one from among them to be given the “genius” prize has to be an act of flirting with trouble to say the least; as this is a society of Indo-Trini persons who are the very embodiment of excellence and who have the right to feel offended, outraged, that the genius epithet was given to someone else when they were someone eminently qualified for that status. However, when you see who is the chosen one, agreement and acceptance would be unanimous.
Every year at the Academy Awards, lots of persons are nominated for best actor, best actress, best picture etc. but the Oscar goes to, oops, not one you felt should have got it. It’s the way of the world and somebody has to get that kiss on the cheek as who is to be crucified?
To reiterate, here is the list of awardees:
Badru Deen; Kamalo Deen; Chandradath Singh; Azim Bassarath; Keenan Singh; Dr. Aneesa Ahamad; Prof. Ken Ramchand; Jwala Rambarran; Dr.Vaalmikki Arjoon; Kevin Ramnarine; Sham G Ali; Michael Salickram; Prof.Ramesh Deosaran; Prof. Prakask Persad; Susan Mohip; Prof. Anantanand Rambhachan; Sankhya Television; Silvereen Mongru; Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie; Larry Lalla; Raymond Ramnarine; Ira Mathur; Kama Maharaj; Neval Chatelal; and Desha Rambhajan-Malli.
And now with the drums rolling, trumpets blaring and confetti blowing in the wind, it is with honour we welcome our primus inter pares, Justice Frank Seepersad as the inaugural “genius” prize winner of the Naipaul Award for excellence 2023.
The mere fact that Justice Seepersad was given the prestigious Indian award, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2023 is great recognition coming from his ancestral land inspired by his many bold and intellectual decisions made here by him on behalf of citizens’ fundamental rights and is enough reason why he stands tall and belongs at the front of the line when awards are given out in this country. We know the biblical proverb that a prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his own relatives and in his own home and so it would be a damning indictment against us to not recognise this esteemed judge and citizen of ours while India has already done so.
Indo-Trinis have an exemplar par excellence in Justice Seepersad and it is our bounden duty to celebrate him if only for his daring to champion our cause against all odds.
This undertaking was supposed to coincide with this holy period of Divali and in releasing the names of all the recipients at this time fulfills that original objective. I did say that an actual ceremony will take place where medals will be handed out in pursuance of endowing the awards with a sense of longevity. Please know that promise is still very much in the assembly line and is soon to happen.
Thus, in the spirit of this season, this project has blessedly come to pass and shall blessedly continue in the eternal spirit of the light of Divali. Shubh Divali 2023.
L. Siddhartha Orie (author).