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Posted: Wednesday 12 November, 2008 at 2:31 PM
Press Release

                                       2008 First Caribbean Regional Unsung Heroes named

    The regional judges pose with members of FirstCaribbean just before getting down to the business of choosing the Unsung Heroes for 2008.From left standing: Michael Mansoor, Chairman of FirstCaribbean; Jones P. Madeira; Charles Williams; A. Leonard Archer; Henry Reid, Managing Director HR & Communications; Debra King, Head of Corporate and Internal Communications. Sitting from left: Ms Marie MacCormack Q.C; Sir George Alleyne and Dame Olga Lopes Seale.
    BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS, November 12, 2008. Volunteer workers from St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Barbados, Dominica and Antigua have emerged as the most heroic in FirstCaribbean International Bank’s region-wide Unsung Heroes programme for 2008


    When the distinguished panel of regional judges met in October to make their final selections from 25 regional finalists, Mrs. Veolant Cupid of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a community volunteer credited with touching many lives, was chosen the top Unsung Hero for 2008.


    On this occasion, runner-up positions went to prison outreach volunteer, Mr. Thomas Watts of Barbados, and Mrs. Patsy Thomas, noted for her work assisting the poor in the Carib Territory of Dominica. Also for 2008, a special commendation award for her work with orphaned children will go to finalist, Ms. Gwendolyn E.M. Chambers, a retired educator of St. John’s, Antigua.


    The judging panel included Sir George Alleyne, the Chancellor of the University of the West Indies; Sir Neville Nicholls – retired President of the Caribbean Development Bank; A. Leonard Archer, the former Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM; Mr. Charles Williams, the Carib Chief from Dominica; Mr. Jones P. Madeira - Manager of the Information and Protocol Division of the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago; Ms Marie MacCormack Q.C, retired High Court Justice; and Dame Olga Lopes Seale, renowned Barbadian social worker.


    The four champion Unsung Heroes will be honoured early next year at a ceremony in Barbados, which will simultaneously launch the 2009 Unsung Heroes programme. Having, as local finalists, already received award donations of US $6,000 each towards the development of their benevolent work, the regional runners-up will now receive an additional $US 5,000 each, while the overall hero will receive a further US $7,500.


    Chairman of FirstCaribbean International Bank, Michael Mansoor, issued heartiest congratulations to all the regional finalists, but particularly singled out the final four overall heroes for having had the courage and determination to take action and make a significant difference in their communities. Mr. Mansoor said the FirstCaribbean Unsung Heroes programme is a credit not just to FirstCaribbean, but to the benevolent spirit and community-mindedness of the people of the region.  ~~Adz:Right~~


    “We could not have been more impressed with the quality of submissions both at the local and regional levels for this programme; and looking at the outstanding persons nominated from around the region, we would not have wanted to be on the panel of judges, as their task certainly could not have been an easy one,” Mansoor said.


    Inaugurated in 2003, the Unsung Heroes regional programme is FirstCaribbean’s flagship corporate social responsibility initiative which has contributed millions of dollars in funding for worthwhile community projects over the years, and continues to be of great assistance to persons, within the region, who quietly go about doing good.


    2008 Unsung Hero, Mrs. Veolant Cupid, 61, has been for many people a tower of strength in the rural community of Lauders, St. Vincent. She has established outreach programmes for orphans, the elderly, adult education, poverty assistance, and even recognition of police officers, nurses and teachers.


    Runner-up, 79-year-old Thomas Watts, the lone male among the four regional winners, has been doing volunteer work helping to successfully reintegrate former prison inmates back into society for nearly three decades. There are many success stories from his programme which has had impact both locally and regionally, has been self-funded, and has with its success attracted other volunteers to offer their assistance.


    Mrs. Patsy Thomas, 47, the second regional runner-up for 2008, has worked in Dominica’s Carib Territory in the areas of poverty assistance and children’s education. She has earned the great respect of the people of the Carib Territory.


    The recipient of the Special Commendation for 2008, 78-year-old retired Antiguan educator Gwendolyn E.M. Chambers, and best known there as Auntie Gwen, is being honoured for her work with orphans and less fortunate children in the community.


    The Unsung Heroes programme started with a pilot programme in four countries in 2003 and has grown to encompass all 17 countries in which FirstCaribbean operates within the region.


    About FirstCaribbean International Bank


    FirstCaribbean is a major Caribbean bank offering a full range of market-leading financial services in Corporate Banking, Retail Banking, Wealth Management, Credit Cards, Treasury and Capital Markets.  Formed in 2002, it is a member of the CIBC Group and is the largest, regionally-listed bank in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean, with assets of over US$12 billion and market capitalization of US$3 billion.  The Bank has over 3,500 staff; over 100 branches, banking centres, and offices in 17 regional markets, and serves 800,000 active accounts. 


    Every year from 2004 to 2007, FirstCaribbean was named “Best Emerging Market Bank” by Global Finance magazine of New York. Since inception, the bank has also received several industry awards for excellence from, Euromoney Magazine, Latin Finance Magazine, and The Banker magazine.


    Through the FirstCaribbean International Comtrust Foundation, FirstCaribbean dedicates 1% of its annual prior year profits (pre-tax) to Community Partnership in the countries where it operates.


    More information about FirstCaribbean can be found at:




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