This was a Gala Dinner and Celebrity Auction in recognition of World Sight Day 2016, presented by The Volunteers For World Sight Day – in Jaffa at the Oval, to close the week of observances .
My dinner companions were Mighty Lingo (Joseph Vatour La Placeliere), Candace John, Raphael Maule and Bhawani Persad – all visually impaired, and Lord Relator. There was ole talk, picong with some mauvais langue thrown in here and there, and continuous laughter throughout the event from the visually impaired individuals, with the exception of Relator.
Dr Desiree Murray, chairperson, and her team of volunteers of Tayab Razac, treasurer, and Del Phillips, secretary, organised an enjoyable evening for the large crowd who supported this most worthy event, one of many meaningful activities co-ordinated by the group founded in 2005, to aid in the global effort to eliminate avoidable blindness. After cocktails and viewing of the auction items, the National Anthem and Our Father in song as the prayer, master of ceremonies, Sen Paul Richards welcomed the guests.
A keynote address by Stephanie Daly, Chairperson of the Board, Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, took the form of a power point presentation which included a Statistical Overview: Disability Cases (May 18, 2015 – October 13, 2016).
To date the Children’s Authority has investigated approximately 2,000 cases of children in need of care and protection. Of these 58 involved children with disabilities.
As usual, Joe Brown executive chef at Jaffa, provided an excellent meal, at the end of which he vacated his usual domain to lead a well-received “simulated blindfold activity”.
Relator, as usual always warmly welcomed, sang a calypso specially written for the occasion, which was donated to the volunteers: The chorus went like this “It is only two That God Gave to You. For that you respect you eyes because it is your duty to protect. Yes! You have to cherish. You have to Nourish. That could only mean You must keep your eyes clean”.
After which together with Lingo they produced most enjoyable extempo songs.
Auctioneer Edward Soon got the Celebrity Auction underway with a pair of silver elephants and large copper jug donated by Elizabeth and Machel Montano – items featured on the set of the movie Bazodee of which the mother/son pair are executive producers.
Dr Michael Anthony, renowned author and historian donated three personally signed books which were sold as a set.
They are The Lamp Lighter (his most recent publication), The Carnivals of Trinidad & Tobago From Inception to Year 2000, and Green Days By The River – a coming of age story being brought to life as a feature film.
Dwayne Bravo, West Indies cricketer and genuine all-rounder autographed a cricket bat and commemorative World Sight Day T-Shirt. Russell Latapy, retired Trinidadian footballer and coach, whose career spanned more than 20 years, donated a signed football.
World Record holder batsman, Brian Charles Lara, donated a specially autographed bat.
Finally Hasely Crawford donated a historic silver trophy. In 1973 Crawford won this magnificent trophy, his first international trophy, at a track meet in the former Yugoslavia in Europe.The trophy measures 26×11 inches and was his to keep after winning the 100 metre event for the third time. This marked the start of his journey to winning the Olympic Gold Medal in the 100 metre event at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.