|photo courtesy newsday|
Tobagonian Pamela Nicholson is proud to have been the recipient of the Chaconia Medal Gold.
Speaking from her Mt Pleasant home yesterday, Nicholson said she could not collect the medal in person due to severe pains in her legs, but her eldest sister, Penelope Williams, received it on her behalf at the ceremony held at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando on Saturday evening.
The 68-year-old expressed happiness at being awarded for her work, while she is still alive. Nicholson has had a lengthly career, both in the educational and political spheres.
Her teaching career spanned from 1964 at the Montgomery Primary School, to Scarborough Secondary in 1981, where she then branched off into politics.
“Sister Pam”, as she is affectionately known, first became a Member of Parliament representing Tobago East in 1981 and continued in that capacity until 2000. She was the first Tobago woman to be appointed as a government minister and the first MP to represent both Tobago East and West.
She expressed thanks to the Office of the President which called her a week ago to receive the award.
She did, however, have some harsh words for the tourism sector and the present Tobago House of Assembly.
On the issue of internal self-governance for Tobago, Nicholson said she was one who had marshalled the call for internal self- government, between 1976-1977, when she was a public servant, she spoke before a Joint Select Committee in Trinidad on the matter.
“I was chosen as the spokesperson for the group. When we reached the Parliament on the stairway to go in, they said I would be the speaker. I told the Joint Select Committee, imagine we are discussing self-government for Tobago, and the Tobagonian has to come to Trinidad to make their case, I heard contempt! I could have been jailed,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson noted that in his Independence Day message to Tobago, THA Chief Secretary Orville London said within a year internal self-governance would come to Tobago. But she said London had not wanted this in the past for Tobago.
With respect to the tourism sector, she said she does not believe the Tourism Division understands its role and function, as standardised prices must be implemented for general tours in Tobago.
“Tourism needs to be a more community-oriented thing. Even today a number of businesses have shut down in Charlotteville because the shops are in need of basic items. I would know, my sister and I have a guest house there. Pirate’s Bay needs to be improved and enhanced, railings needs to be installed,” Nicholson said.
She would also like to see the completion of the Scarborough Library and the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.