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In honor of Mr.Harrack Balramsingh
former CBTT President
who died February 13, 2014
  

The President of Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) died on February 13, 2014 after a brief illness. Harrack Balramsingh who has been the President of the group for several years was 65 years old, and leaves to mourn wife Pearl, and children Cindy and Ravesh. He also had three grandchildren.

Balramsingh had honoured several persons for their contribution to the nation during the group’s National Republic Day awards. CBTT has been in existence for over 20 years and has initiated several Republic Day awards to recipients, among them the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin. Last year’s Republic Day Award went to legendary pan man Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed at his home in San Fernando.

CBTT over the years has been outspoken regarding several issues from the environment, child welfare issues, law and culture.

Lennox "Bobby" Mohammed receiving the 2013 Republic Day Award
from CBTT President Harrack Balramsingh

Lennox Bobby Mohammed receives
2013 National Republic Day Award

"Good citizens are those who serve their country with distinction without expecting much in return." These words were echoed by former legendary panman Lennox Bobby Mohammed after receiving the 2013 National Republic Day Award from President of Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) Harrack Balramsingh at his residence located at 21 Lazzari Street in San Fernando this morning. During the brief ceremony in his honour, Mohammed pointed out that thousands of Trinidad and Tobago citizens were deserving of an award for their tireless and unselfish contribution to their country but received none for one reason or the other. "These are the citizens with whom I would like to share this award," the music icon said. The 71-year-old Mohammed was selected for the prestigious award for his long and distinguished contribution to the National Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mohammed who, at the age of 22, became the youngest arranger in Trinidad and Tobago to win a Panorama title with the San Fernando-based band Guinness Cavaliers, said that God had touched his life in such a powerful way that he was able to claw his way from the from the brink of personal despair to one of hope for himself, his family and his country.

Lennox "Bobby" Mohammed who believes that music and God are in his blood and soul, began playing and arranging for the Guinness Gondoliers in 1960. There was a split in the band and Cavaliers was formed in 1961. Guinness chose to sponsor the Cavaliers Band after it defeated Gondoliers in an open air competition for sponsorship. Bobby's father Hilton Zainool Mohammed, a school principal, had managed both the Gondoliers and Cavaliers. The music icon was subsequently appointed leader and arranger of Cavaliers due to his musical ability from very young playing the piano, guitar and later the steelpan. His brothers Selwyn and Lester also played with Cavaliers which changed an era in steelband music in the 1960s, due mainly to Bobby Mohammed's innovations in arranging. In 1965, Guinness Cavaliers went on to become the first steelband in the South to be crowned National Panorama champion. The band repeated the feat in 1967 after finishing second in 1966.

The young arranger introduced the change of the major to the minor key. The Cavaliers introduced big band sound and used a unique style and approach which many bands particularly from the South, emulated. Bobby Mohammed was also one of the first steelband leaders and arrangers to ever compose a classical piece for the steelband in the music festival of 1967, doing "The Revelation from Beyond". Mohammed innovated with tassa music in 1972 and so became the first steelband arranger to introduce tassa to the steelband world.

Apart from arranging for the Gondoliers and the Cavaliers, Lennox Bobby Mohammed also arranged for the National Steelband of Trinidad and Tobago (1961 - 1972), Ramoutarsingh Olympians Steel Orchestra (1975 - 1978) and Moruga Sun Valley(1993). Mohammed, who was born at Siparia Old Road before moving to San Fernando, attended Siparia Road CM School, Mon Repos R.C. and Presentation College where he became well-known for his musical ability playing the piano and guitar. He was honoured with the Humming Bird Medal Gold in 1992 for his sterling contribution to the Development and Shaping of the destiny of the steelpan. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in New York for the Sunshine Award and is also the holder of the Carifta Award.

Mohammed continues to play and teach his music at many Churches. Balramsingh told the small gathering that "Bobby" Mohammed was a true and selfish patriot who wanted to ensure that many young people became interested in our National Instrument. "And he is succeeding by leaps and bounds," the CBTT president stated.

The former pan arranger also said that he would like to dedicate his Republic Day Award to his late father Hilton Zainool Mohammed, his late mother Enid, brothers Selwyn and Lester who both played for the Guinness Cavaliers, as well as his sister Lynette and his grandparents, all of whom supported his love for the steelpan. Lennox Mohammed pointed out that he was very proud to be part of the rise of the steelpan "which is not only our National Instrument but is today recognised all over the world."

In his contribution, he described himself as an innovator and trendsetter in that he was the first person of East Indian descent to succeed at the highest level as a steelpan arranger. He stated that in his days, steelbands were dominated mainly by Afro-Trinidadians from Port-of-Spain, so it was a surprise and shock to many when his relatively unknown South band- the Guinness Cavaliers -won the Panorama title in the 1960s. He made special mention of two Cavaliers members Zaid "Tosca" Mohammed known as "Tonky Boy" and Terry Lakatoo, both of whom have always kept in touch with him. He also praised all the other Cavaliers members for their loyalty to him.


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CBTT

a vision!

CBTT, which was formed on August 1, 1993, is a non-governmental organization specializing in attacking issues that hurt our communities. The very purpose for the existence of CBTT is to stop drug abuse, violence, rape, incest, child abuse, racism and victimization. It brings about positive changes to the lives of individuals by spotlighting attention on the issues threatening their safety and unity. Along with teaching problem techniques, CBTT also teaches self-love, community pride and respect for others. Over the years, CBTT has been there to quietly console the families of murdered victims, and has educated troubled communities about the ills of violence. It is the spirit of these victims, which drives us to continue fighting to stop the senseless killings in our society.

For further details, read on!

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  • YOUR VIEWPOINT PAGE A Page on current affairs and a view from another point [*Updated Monthly]

  • THE GROUP'S INFO PAGE Information about how we got started.

  • REPUBLIC DAY AWARDS Here you will find information of previous Republic Day Awards.

  • AN ARCHIVE NEWS PAGE Get information on what we have done.

  • THE COURTNEY WALSH PAGE Info on West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh who is the first bowler to reach 500 wickets in the history of test cricket. He finished his Test career in April 2001, playing his final test match against South Africa, with a total of 519 wickets.

  • SPECIAL ARTICLES/RELEASES Articles and or Releases from people here at home and abroad.

  • A LINKS PAGE Visit some really interesting places of interest to Caribbean residents.

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    Revised: February 03, 2012
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