Three bright stars from the Caribbean are among those recognised in the Queen’s 2020 New Year Honours. Despite their archaic titles, the Honours remain a valid way of paying tribute to people who have excelled in sport, the arts, politics and science or who have contributed to society through charitable or voluntary work.
Children’s champion Floella Benjamin, born in Pointe-à-Pierre, Trinidad, is officially a Dame! To be precise, Floella Karen Yunies Benjamin, aka Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham, has been appointed a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Dame Floella’s career on TV, on stage and in film saw her in programmes and shows as varied as Hair, Bergerac and Roland Rat, but she’s best known for her educational work with children. She is involved with several charities and, as chair of the Windrush Memorial Committee she provoked controversy by announcing that the memorial would be placed at Waterloo station rather than Brixton.
Guyana-born cricketing great Clive Lloyd can now be called Sir Clive, after being made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB). He became West Indies captain in 1974 and was the first Windies player to achieve 100 international caps.
Sir Clive (75) commented: “I have a CBE and an Order of Australia along with honours from the West Indies, but this tops it all… to be recognised by the Government and the Queen makes it very special.” Twitter comments on Sir Clive’s CB were unanimous: “Long overdue!”
Rudolph Walker, originally from San Juan, Trinidad, has now gained the letters CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) to add to the OBE he gained in 2006.
Walker made his UK television debut in 1965 and went on to appear in iconic TV series such as Love Thy Neighbour, On the Buses, Mr Bean and Doctor Who, although it is as Patrick Trueman, in EastEnders, that he is probably best known. Theatre work has included roles in Shakespeare’s Othello and The Tempest, and Mustapha Matura’s Play Mas. However, no mention of Walker’s career could ignore his seminal role in lending his voice to the US version of Teletubbies!
Also in receipt of an MBE for services to music is soul singer and Trinidadian Billy Ocean (Leslie Sebastian Charles).