A group of Kalinagos in Dominica and in the diaspora embarked on an initiative to grant recognition to Kalinagos who have been very influential in the progress of the community during 2020.
The aim of this initiative is to boost the morale of the Kalinago People, motivate them to excel in the field that they are engaged in and to encourage them to work towards the holistic development of the Kalinago People.
Anyone of Kalinago descent was eligible for the four (4) award categories which included Kalinago Man and Woman and Inspiring Youth (Male and Female), provided that the nominees met the criteria created by the Kalinago Association.
In summary, the criteria were as follows: A Kalinago who is committed to and willing to take up more initiatives and accepts more tasks apart from his or her regular job routine. The Kalinago should have maintained positive comportment when handling work responsibilities, customers and colleagues, and should be one who stands as a role model for others. Additionally, he or she must have delivered professional service in daily work and made a notable contribution to the Kalinago People.
The process of nomination was done via email and social media platforms while the selection for the awards was based on popular vote.
Kalinago Woman of The Year 2020 – Gweneth Cyrille Frederick
Mrs. Gweneth Cyrille Frederick, manager of the Kalinago Barana Aute, has been selected as the Kalinago Woman of the Year over three (3) other nominees. At the close of the vote, Mrs. Frederick received a total of eighty- seven (87) votes. Mrs. Frederick lives in the hamlet of Salybia, and has been a very instrumental member in the Kalinago Events committee which hosted a series of activities to commemorate Kalinago Week in September, 2020. The professionalism displayed in her customer service at the Barana Aute and the positive way she when interacting with Kalinagos in the Kalinago Territory were noted by her nominees. The other nominees were Counsellor Debra Phillip, Senator Anette Thomas-Sanford and retired nurse Doreen Ettienne.
Kalinago Man of the Year 2020 – JOEL PARIS
Out of six (6) Kalinago men nominated for the position of Kalinago Man of the year, attorney at law Alwin Paris emerged winner with 96 (ninety- six) votes. The first runner up was Dr Theodore Thomas with 94 (ninety-four) votes followed by Chief Lorenzo Sanford with 51 (fifty-one) votes. The other contenders were former chief Irvince Auguiste, Hotelier Patrick Hill and Honourable Cozier Frederick.
Joel Paris, a young attorney who was called to the bar in 2019, previously studied Political Science and History at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus under the Sir Authur Lewis Scholarship for Indigenous Peoples. Among the initiatives that he undertook in 2020 was the facilitation of the Constitution Rights in collaboration with several community-based organizations on the island. Mr. Paris started the concept of the Jerome Octave Movement for Indigenous Peoples and Property Rights- an initiative named in honor of the Kalinago elder who has been passionate about land titles and how to charter the land issue for the improvement of the Kalingo People. He also started a scholarship programme for a young Kalinago man and is currently in search a Kalinago who is pursuing studies in law to be the first beneficiary of this scholarship. Although female students can be recipients of this education opportunity, the focus will be on male Kalinagos. Mr Paris believes that the survival of a Kalinago Man is crucial to the survival of the Kalinago Tribe. He is also currently a member of the Committee of Concerned Lawyers and an advocate for Indigenous Peoples Rights.
Most Inspiring Kalinago Youth (Female)-Whitney Melinard
Whitney Melinard of Mahaut River, received a total of one hundred and fifty-one (151) votes to secure the position of the most inspiring Youth (female) of 2020. Ms. Melinard’s video in which she advocated for internet access in the Kalinago Territory made waves regionally.
Most Inspiring Kalinago Youth (Male) Devon Cuffy
Primary School teacher at the Sineku Primary School, Mr. Devon Cuffy has been selected as the Most Inspiring Kalinago Youth (Male) of 2020. Mr. Cuffy resides in Mahaut River and has spearheaded a COVID -19 outreach programme geared at distributing packages to the sick and shut-ins in the Kalinago Territory. The Community Outreach Programme was developed by Mr. Cuffy and implemented by Cuffy and three other male members.
The Kalinago Association congratulates all the winners and nominees of the Most Inspiring Men and Women Initiative 2020. This undertaking was non-partisan and the first of its kind. Endorsed by Dr. Theodore Thomas and Mr. Kittian Francis, this event is expected to become an annual highlight. Moving into 2021, the Kalinago Association intends to partner with key institutions such as the Kalinago Council and Division of Kalinago Affairs to ensure that the nomination and voting processes are transparent and to expand the reach of these processes.