http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,165132.htmlCASH, LAND FOR LALONDE
By Yohanseh Asukile and Karl Cupid Wednesday, August 22 2012
A Sports Development Fund of $1 million for Tobago sportsmen and sportswomen has been set up in the name of double bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA). The THA will open the fund with $1 million and will match contributions dollar for dollar made by corporate organisations, said THA chief secretary Orville London.
Gordon, 23, the first Tobagonian to win a medal at the Olympics, was also honoured on Monday night with $100,000 in cash, $200,000 worth of units from the Unit Trust Corporation and will be the first to own a plot of land next year when development begins at the Courland Estate.
London also announced the award to Gordon of a first day cover of postage stamps on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence; and a $50,000 reimbursement was given to the Gordon family who went to the Olympics in London, England to see the athlete in competition.
On Monday, Gordon was the only Tobago athlete on the island and was also an honouree on a motorcade organised by Government and headed by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, for all the athletes who represented TT at the Olympics including gold medallist Keshorn Walcott. The motorcade began at the ANR Robinson International Airport in Crown Point at about 10 am, and made its way across Tobago, entering Charlottleville at about 9 pm.
Gordon could not make it to the THA function at Cafe Coco, Crown Point, even though it was pushed back to a later start time, and his grandmother Yvonne Gordon accepted the awards on his behalf. Gordon was a determined grandchild, she said.
“What he wants he always goes for it and said he will get gold the next time,” she predicted. Gordon won two bronze medals at the London Olympics, in the 400 metres men’s race and the 4x400 metres relay.
London also announced that Olympic finalists Kelly-Ann Baptiste (women’s 100 metres) and Semoy Hackett (200 metres) will each received $75,000 in units and $75,000 in cash and that Renny Quow (400 metre-runner) and Josanne Lucas (400-metre hurdler), who were injured while preparing for the Olympic Games, will each receive $50,000 in cash.
The THA has committed itself to providing financial support for the rehabilitation of Quow and Lucas, London said. Quow and Lucas are undergoing medical treatment in the United States which is expected to last six months. Baptiste and Hackett have stayed overseas to compete at the Diamond League track and field competition in Sweden.
Addressing the parents and relatives of the Tobago Olympians, London told them, “We as Tobagonians must be extremely proud. Tobago won two bronze medals and we had three finalists. We must celebrate and we must be inspired,” London said. Referring to Gordon specially, he said, “To those who have achieved much, much more is expected. His journey has entered a new phase and he must be steadfast. Lalonde has got to understand that he is the third fastest in the 400 metres in the world.”
London also said the THA was to decide on naming streets and recreation grounds after the athletes in honour of their accomplishments.
“The Assembly will give consideration to the association of the names of these individuals to streets, playgrounds, buildings, as we deem relevant and appropriate after discussions with the various communities, individuals, and entities involved,” he said.
“We are not rushing into this, these are young people, they have careers ahead and we will determine, after consultation, when and what because that is something you have to look after very, very carefully when you name things after people, but we have no problems doing it,” he said.
While London announced the various awards to Gordon and the other Tobago athletes by the THA, the Prime Minister (PM) is yet to say what gifts would be bestowed by Government.
Following a 13-hour “Olympic Caravan” motorcade in Tobago on Monday, it was widely expected that Persad-Bissesaar would say how Government would honour Gordon.
On his return from the Olympics after winning gold in the men’s javelin, Keshorn Walcott, of Toco, was rewarded with $1 million, a $2.5 million townhouse at Federation Park, a full scholarship to UTT and had several landmarks including the Toco lighthouse and a plane named after him. Walcott was part of the Olympic Caravan.
At an unscheduled stop at Old Market (Tambrin) Square, in front of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) headquarters, uptown Scarborough, more than two hours after the motorcade departed the ANR Robinson International Airport at Crown Point, members of the media were told by Government officials the PM would address the crowd there.
But that was not to be, and reporters were then advised Persad-Bissessar would give the address at Charlotteville. However, when the caravan rolled into the little seaside village on Tobago’s far north-east end at 9 pm, some ten hours after leaving the airport, the PM assisted in distributing tokens and 50th Independence Anniversary commemorative cups bearing her image and those of past prime ministers and presidents, but gave no address.
Instead at Charlotteville, the last stop for the motorcade, it was a “blocko” type atmosphere on the greens of the recreation ground and along the streets of the fishing village as young and not-so-young residents, by far the largest village gathering throughout the motorcade, danced and cavorted to the pulsating vibes from two music trucks. The caravan departed Charlotteville just before 10 pm and made its way back to Scarborough along the Windward Road from which it had come, with participants breaking away along the route, and then along the Claude Noel Highway back to Crown Point where the athletes returned to their hotel. Contrary to an announcement at Charlotteville, the motorcade did not visit Castara, Parlatuvier, Moriah, Mason Hall, and other districts along the Northside Road.
Newsday was told participants were left “wondering” as there was no official announcement as to the change in route, and vehicles left the motorcade when this became obvious. In addition, earlier, there was no stop at the Cyd Gray Sporting Complex, at Roxborough, east Tobago, as had been advertised in a media release from the Ministry of National Security.
The celebrations finally came to an end at about midnight.