The Turks and Caicos Islands Human Rights Commission bestowed the 2021/2022 Humanitarian of the Year Award on longstanding hotelier Stan Hartling and Arean Louis.
The event took place at the Shore Club Resort in Long Bay, Providenciales on Saturday, December 11.
The event was attended by the government’s highest echelons, including Governor His Excellency Nigel Dakin and Deputy Premier Hon. E.Jay Saunders.
The award was presented to Hartling for his charitable work through the Hartling Group.
The Commission stated that Hartling has invested in supporting the local culture and bringing the country’s history alive in his support of the search for the Trouvadore shipwreck.
“He has made an enormous impact on the lives of seriously ill individuals in Providenciales with the contribution of a dialysis machine. He has helped reduce both the stigma attached to and the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Turks and Caicos Islands as an honorary Board Member and financial supporter of the Turks & Caicos AIDS Awareness Foundation and he has helped nurture our youth with the founding of, and the financial support he provides to, the Provo Hockey League and his scholarship scheme,” Green said.
She added: “These are contributions to the Turks and Caicos Islands that improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents and provide a significant boost to the development of our society into one where we eliminate poverty and provide security and opportunity for all whilst still honouring our history and staying true to our culture.”
Louis had been nominated for the Junior Award every year since its inception, for his work to help the community of South Caicos. He has arranged fundraisers for children, orchestrated an island clean-up, organized an Easter Fair and arranged a gala event to honour past and present teachers in South Caicos. He also has an annual Christmas fair to help the community celebrate the season.
Green told the packed ballroom that after celebrating pandemic heroes in 2020, the Commission realised that some of those nominees had gone above and beyond the call of duty in their communities over many years.
She pointed out that two persons from each island were awarded honorary certificates and, an overall community star was selected by a panel on the night of the event.
The Community Stars from around the TCI were Franklyn Missick and Palm Grove in Action for Grand Turk; Gladys Kennedy and Anthonet Talbot for Salt Cay; Sharon Minnot and Maria Clare for South Caicos; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Jacobs for Middle Caicos; Kadra Been-Handfield and Quincy Thomas for North Caicos; and Katherine Forbes and Jeffery Nicolas and the Rotaract Club were the Community Stars for Providenciales.
Franklin Missick was selected as the overall winner of the newly named Hon. Cheryl Astwood-Tull Community Star Award for his outstanding contributions on the island of Grand Turk.
Astwood-Tull, a former government minister, was the Chair of the Commission at the time the awards were created and is said to remain an avid supporter and friend of the Commission.
At his time at the lectern, Governor Dakin spoke of the difficulty balancing human rights with public safety throughout 2020/2021, revealing that over 80% of residents in the Turks and Caicos Islands were now double vaccinated.
Minister Saunders, for his part, spoke of the importance of equality, while praising “the ordinary people”, who he said have been doing so much to help their communities in times of crisis.
Dakin and Saunders both praised the Director for the Human Rights Commission, Sabrina Green for her management of the Commission and the articles she dispatched to the media explaining human rights in the context of current affairs.
In the meantime, Green stated that the event would not have been possible without the hard work of her team and the support from her Board of Commissioners.
She also highlighted what she deemed as the outstanding contributions from corporate TCI.
Among them were Caicos Express, Building Materials – Do It Center, Other People’s Affairs, Royal Bank of Canada, Beaches Turks and Caicos, Pioneer Cleaners, Flow TCI, Fortis TCI, and Kia Motors who were the Platinum Sponsors for the event.
“A huge thank you to the Hon. Galmo Willams and Mrs. Williams and the Wine Cellar for their continued support to the awards. Special thanks to the Hartling Group who have been outstanding sponsors to the Commission and the awards since my arrival.
“Special mention and thank you to Miss Karen Whitt for her support, guidance and hands on contribution in making this year’s awards one for the books. Other sponsors were Provo Water, Grace Bay Car Rental, Blu Security, True Blue VIP Transportation, Flawless Finish, Le Boucheon, Grace Bay Club, Wymara, Business Solutions, Just Jais, Island Bargains, Air and Sea Agency and Royal Jewels,” Green said.
The awards showcased a star-studded line-up of TCI’s very best, headliners included Robyn Hinds-Forbes, Julian Garland, Tess Charles, and surprise guest performer Wayne Higgs brought the house down. All performers were backed by TCI’s newest sensation ‘Heat Wave.’
The talented Huntley Forbes Jr. (Super P) emceed the event.
“Now, the team at the Human Rights Commission will turn their attention towards the tasks of the coming year and will continue to address the key areas of inequality that exist within the Turks and Caicos Islands through media releases, outreach programs and reports and recommendations made to government.
“The Commission’s primary focus will be on the standard of living in the Turks and Caicos Islands and will include areas such as housing inequality, minimum wage, facilities for the elderly and disabled persons, special needs education and school placement,” Green said.