Toronto, ON – September 9, 2023
Jean Augustine, the first African-Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons and former parliamentarian celebrated her 86th birthday in Toronto serenaded by hundreds of friends and well wishers who also witnessed the presentation of the inaugural Augustine Award of Excellence.
The evening took off with greetings and proclamations from elected officials highlighting the contributions of Jean Augustine to community, race relations, and women empowerment among many of her achievements.
Jean Augustine also received proclamation from Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham.
The marquee event was the presentation of the first Caribbean Tales International Film Festival Augustine Award of Excellence to Roy Cape, calypso saxophonist from Trinidad and Tobago. The packed theatre watched the screening of Iconography – a documentary that chronicles the six decades career of the living legend Roy Cape.
Presenting the award, Jean Augustine noted the numerous letters and greetings from community organizations and politicians saluting the contribution of Roy Cape to calypso and soca music. She hoped the letters and commendations would serve as reminder that he was in Toronto for the special ceremony. The former parliamentarian said the recognition of Roy Cape by the gathering of musicians, artistes and members of the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA) would show particularly the young ones that the community has a history. “We have a history that must be documented,” said Jean Augustine. She said, “There are times we hear people say we have not done anything, there is many history and this is history.”
On climate, which is the theme of this year’s festival, she said the audience could reflect on various ecological disasters including forest fires, mudslides, rains, floods and earthquakes. She noted that the climate disasters have had an impact on people’s lives across the world.
Roy Cape said, “ I am very happy to come here tonight and spend the time with you” in his acceptance speech. The accomplished musician said, “I have been around a long-time.” He has indeed played calypso saxophone and featured on stage with many bands across the world since the 60s. According to his bio on Wikipedia.org, Roy Cape “has toured and recorded with calypso groups including the Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener, The Mighty Chalkdust, Denyse Plummer, and Black Stalin.”
“You have talents in your country, in your community and you can do things to help the younger people. In all generations there are problems but efforts must be made to get tools to help upcoming musicians,” said the highly acclaimed artiste. He said he too had a tough childhood growing up adding that his focus on music helped him to become who he is today.
Roy Cape Foundation according to postings on facebook “is committed to developing music education programmes in at-risk communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago as well as in other countries in the Caribbean Region. He said he would show all the certificates given to him to younger people to remind them if they do things they would be compensated.
The foundation hopes to use music to combat crime epidemic among the youth and prepare them for music career.
Caribbean Tales International Film Festival is in its 18th year of celebrating talents of established and emerging film makers of Caribbean and African Heritage. The theme of CTFF 2023 is Eco-Survivors.
The event was co-presented with the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA).