The exhibition titled, “Labour Day in Trinidad and Tobago,” featuring the National Award (the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) bestowed posthumously upon Adrian Cola Rienzi in 2012, was launched at the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago on June 22.
The ANSA McAL Group was instrumental in bringing the medal back to this country after it was offered for sale on eBay. In response to why the company had bid to bring the medal home, Anthony Sabga III, sector head, Beverage and Business Development Executive of the Group who spoke at the launch said, “We recognized and understood the significant value and patriotic pride for such an honour to be bestowed on any citizen. We humbly believe that patriotism should transcend feelings of partisanship and insularity.” He added that “ANSA McAL fought for this, our highest national award, not because of any monetary value, but because it was a chance to restore the values on which the Group was built – dignity, decency, honesty, integrity, and gratitude and humility.”
Also speaking at the launch, Elizabeth Mahadeo, executive director, NALIS, extended thanks to ANSA McAL for their timely intervention in bringing home and for entrusting NALIS to make it available for public viewing.
Mahadeo said that NALIS’ libraries play a critical role in developing our country’s workforce and invited collaboration with unions to develop programmes which engage working families and strengthen the bonds of our democratic society.
Feature Speaker, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie, Minister of Public Administration and Communications, encouraged patrons that upon viewing the display to “reflect on the contributions made by these men and women whose hearts bled for a better and brighter Trinidad and Tobago; and on those whose fists were once clenched in defiance but now remain open to the possibility of even greater dialogue between labour and capital.”
In addition to the medal, the display, curated by the Heritage Library Division, showcases the history of the labour movement in Trinidad and Tobago. It pays tribute to persons who were influential to the movement including George Weekes, Tubal Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler and Elma Francois.
Members of the public are welcome to view the exhibition, which runs until June 30 at the Rotunda of the National Library, Port of Spain.