National Awards were first granted in 1969, seven years after Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from Britain. These awards are presented to commemorate the Anniversary of our Independence.
Prior to our own local National Awards system, Trinidad and Tobago was involved in the system of Commonwealth Awards which was conferred by Her Majesty the Queen of England. These Commonwealth Awards comprised the Peerage and Baronestage, Privy Counsellors and various Orders of Knighthood, Decorations and Medals, in Civil and Military Divisions in some cases.
Upon gaining independence from Britain in 1962, it was decided that Trinidad and Tobago should have its own National Awards.
Although Cabinet had decided on 21st December 1967 that there should be seven (7) categories and fourteen (14) classes of National Awards, it subsequently amended these numbers to four (4) categories and ten (10) classes of National Awards.
The existing National Awards are The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, The Chaconia Medal in Gold, Silver and Bronze, The Hummingbird Medal in Gold, Silver and Bronze, and the Public Service Medal of Merit in Gold, Silver and Bronze.
The name of the Society to replace the Order of the Trinity is The Distinguished Society of Trinidad and Tobago and the initial O.R.T.T. is to be used by future holders of this award, after their names.
NATIONAL AWARDS NOMINEES
Nominations for National Awards are done annually. There is a National Awards Committee to oversee the procedure. In order that fair consideration be given to nominees, the National Awards Committee asks that the submission of nominees be made early, giving full detailed information, thereby building a solid and convincing case. This includes the nominee's name and activities, including how long he/she has done the work for which the person nominating him/her thinks he/she deserves the award.
The members of the National Awards Committee will then carry out a proper investigation of the nominees' activities in the field, after which, the Committee then considers all the recommendations submitted. Then the Committee forwards a shortened list to the Prime Minister for his consideration.
According to the 1969 Constitution of the Order of the Trinity, the Prime Minister has the right to accept, reject, or add to the list. The Prime Minister in turn advises the President who made the award, with the consent of the nominee.
WHERE TO GET NOMINATION FORMS
Nomination for a National Award forms and more information about nomination submission can be obtained at The Office of The Prime Minister, Tobago House of Assembly and City and Town Halls.
ORDER OF THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was installed as Trinidad and Tobago’s new highest national award 2008, replacing the Trinity Cross for Distinguished and Outstanding Service to Trinidad and Tobago.
The design of the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago acknowledges the contribution of the first inhabitants of Trinidad and Tobago embodied in the crest surmounting the medallion. The waves and constellation tell the story that Trinidad and Tobago consist of people from all over the world and their descendants, bringing social and cultural attributes to produce a special, talented people with a great potential.
The award is 18 carat yellow gold and hangs from a short length striped gros-grain ribbon in the national colours, red, white and black. On the front of the award, there are three circles each encompassing a feature of the National Symbols of Trinidad and Tobago, with a crest at the top. Within the crest is a feathered headdress of an Amerindian chief which represents the Aboriginal culture of the twin island.
The centre of the design features a disc upon which familiar national of the Scarlet Ibis standing on the south western peninsula of Trinidad and the Mot Mot perched on the image of Tobago both imposed in bas-leaf. At the top of the circle is the Chaconia Flower, the National flower of Trinidad and Tobago. In the middle circle there is a display of twelve outer notes of a tenor pan, upon the notes are a pair of pan sticks. The steel pan is placed on the award as it is the National instrument of the twin island republic. Within the third and outer circle are images which represent the sea and sky. Waves at the bottom represent the sea whilst the sky is represented via clusters of star shapes and fine granulation.
On the back of the award, the words “Order of the Republic” are engraved.
THE TRINITY CROSS
The Trinity Cross was the highest National Award in the twin island Republic. On June 5, 2008 the Trinity Cross was replaced by the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The Trinity Cross was granted to nationals and non-nationals of Trinidad and Tobago who portrayed distinguished and outstanding service to Trinidad and Tobago. It is also awarded for gallantry in the face of the enemy, or for gallant conduct. The identifying colour on the Borders of Ribbons for this medal is gold.
The recipients of the first Trinity Cross Gold were:
- Dr. Rudranath Capildeo for his contribution in the sphere of Science.
- Ellis Clarke (Sir) - C.M.G., Q.C. who drafted the Constitution of Independent Trinidad and Tobago
- Solomon Hochoy (His Excellency Sir) - G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., O.B.E. The then Governor General and Ex-Officio of Trinidad and Tobago
- Finbar Ryan (His Excellency Count) - O.P. in the sphere of religion as he was the then Archbishop of Port of Spain.
- Hugh Wooding (The Right Honourable Sir) - P.C., C.B.E., Q.C. For his contribution to Justice as he was the then Chief Justice
THE CHACONIA MEDAL
The Chaconia Medal - Gold, Silver and Bronze - is limited to ten (10) recipients each year, though the number may be less. It is awarded to persons for work in the social field, to community workers in all organizations which promote community spirit and national welfare, for long and meritorious service to the country or the community in their respective organizations.
The identifying colour on the borders of ribbons for this medal is light green.
THE HUMMINGBIRD MEDAL
The Hummingbird Medal - gold, silver and bronze - is limited to fifteen (15) recipients each year, though the number may be less. It is awarded to persons in the private or public sector, who have rendered loyal and devoted service in their respective fields, for the benefit or prestige of the community, or Trinidad and Tobago. It is also awarded for gallantry or other outstanding humane action.
The identifying colour on the borders of ribbon for this medal is Royal Blue.
THE PUBLIC SERVICE MEDAL OF MERIT
The Public Service Medal of Merit in gold, silver and bronze, is awarded to members of the Civil Service and Protective Services, including the Defence and Cadet Forces, members of Statutory Boards and Committees of other quasi Public Services.
The Gold Medal is awarded for outstanding and meritorious service, while the Silver Medal is awarded for long and meritorious service. The Bronze Medal is awarded for good conduct and long service of 12 years, while the Bronze Medal with one hexalphas, is awarded for service of 18 years.
The identifying colours of the Borders of Ribbon are as follows:
Gold Medal - Purple
Silver Medal - Light Blue
Bronze Medal - Silver