kissoon, managing director, TPCL
the Honourable Hazel Manning, Minister of Education, Chairman
Emeritus of the Ansa McAl Group, Dr. Anthony Sabga, chairman
of the board of Trinidad Publishing, Dennis Gurley, chief
assessor, Dr Anna Mahase, our very special guests Wendy
Fitzwilliam, Ato Boldon and Michael Phillips, representatives
of our corporate co-sponsors, principals, parents, students.
On behalf of the Trinidad Publishing Co Ltd, and our valued
corporate co-sponsors, I would like to extend a warm welcome
to all of you to this our 15th Guardian-in-Education prize
presentation function, and the launch of our 2005 project.
I am particularly delighted that the Minister has taken
time off her busy schedule to join with us today. This clearly
demonstrates her recognition of the value of this project,
and her commitment and support, for which we are grateful.
The Guardian in Education project commenced in 2000.
Dr Anthony Sabga, who is here with us today, always expressed
a passionate interest in having young people write in the
paper. It was out of his suggestion that the project was
Since its inception in 2000, we have awarded over $370,000
in scholarship assistance to 58 students from schools across
Trinidad and Tobago. Thirty -five students have also won
computers and printers valued at over $380,000, and many
of these students are either currently at university, or
have completed undergraduate programmes in several disciplines.
We at Trinidad Publishing Co Ltd and our corporate co-sponsors
are proud to have made a difference to their lives.
In 2005 we propose to deepen this effort by incorporating
a most valuable dimension to the mechanics of the project.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, we propose
to facilitate a motivational intervention in our secondary
schools by five of our most distinguished young exemplars,
Three of them are here with us today, Ato Boldon, Wendy
Fitzwilliam and Michael Phillips.
Brian Lara and George Bovell have also given their commitment
to this initiative.
These celebrities will be visiting secondary schools, year-round,
throughout Trinidad and Tobago, and will be speaking to
students about their own challenges, struggles, hardships,
disappointments and the values, principles and guiding philosophy
which helped them to achieve success and fame.
We hope that through this intervention students will be
inspired to pursue noble dreams, and to reshape their values,
and encourage their peers so to do.
To foster the broadest national interest in the project,
we will not only be publishing the speeches of these national
heroes in the Guardian newspaper for the benefit of all
readers, but students will also be required to write essays
on the messages of our distinguished achievers, and to relate
how the intervention would have impacted them in terms of
inspiration, motivation, and changes in their personal philosophy
and values, and the best of these will also be published
and prominently placed.
Students adjudged to have written the winning essays would
continue to receive valuable prizes each term in the form
of scholarship assistance, computers and printers, and the
winners schools will also continue to benefit from
cash contributions to the schools fund.
The project will be extensively advertised using all media
newspaper, radio and TV. We will also continue to
provide 5,000 newspapers each school day to secondary schools
across Trinidad and Tobago.
Part of the huge cost of this project which encompasses
prizes, newspapers, and extensive media advertising will
be met by contributions from five socially-minded corporate
This years sponsors are RBTT Bank, BG Trinidad &
Tobago, Guardian Holdings, YARA (Trinidad), and the National
Gas Co of Trinidad & Tobago.
I would like to express our gratitude to these socially-minded
corporations. co-sponsors of the last term project were:
RBTT Bank, Guardian Holdings, BG Trinidad & Tobago Ltd,
and the National Gas Co of Trinidad & Tobago. Prize
support has Hilton Trinidad, Tidco, Amco, and BWIA.
Again, I would like to express our special thanks to RBTT
Bank and the National Gas Co of Trinidad & Tobago for
continuous support of the project since its inception in
The change in the philosophy of the project in 2005 has
been influenced by the prevailing situation in the country.
When you look at the new criminal menaces of kidnapping,
execution-style killings, electronic fraud, rampant robberies,
mindless rapes, widespread corruption, and school violence,
they point starkedly to a society in moral and spiritual
We as corporate citizens and you as leaders and followers
in the education system have choices. We may continue to
accept the status quo and adjust to the new discomforting
and frightening realities, or we may choose to do something
about it. We at the corporate level have joined hands with
the Ministry of Education and our distinguished national
heroes to embark upon a programme that we are confident
will make a difference.
We are convinced that the society can only be improved if
our future leaders and adults, who are todays students,
can see legitimacy in a new set of values, family life,
honesty, hard work, mutual respect, tolerance, and love,
and who can be inspired to see hardships as challenges,
and frustrations as opportunities. Only then can we begin
to build and nurture a progressive and I daresay, truly
When we broached the project idea to our five national heroes,
their immediate response was an overwhelming, passionate
yes. They will tell you more about this. I should also like
to add that they have all agreed to participate without
payment, as they consider the cause worthy of their time
I want to say to them, on behalf of our company, our corporate
co-sponsors, and the Ministry of Education, how much we
appreciate and admire their response to this call to help
our children and our country.
Your patriotism and selflessness are truly admirable.