The Caribbean Tourism Organization will honour
distinguished sons and daughters of the Caribbean during the
annual fundraising event for the CTO Foundation at the Governments of the Caribbean
State Ball at the Waldorf Astoria.Among the honorees will be a senior public
servant, a carnival organizer, a filmmaker and a Caribbean band.
Headlining the honors will be the presentation of the CTO Lifetime Achievement Award
to The Honourable Dame Billie Antoinette Miller, in recognition of her outstanding
service to her native country Barbados and her dedication to the Caribbean region,
and in particular, for helping the Caribbean grow stronger through her service and
The Honourable Dame Billie Antoinette Miller has been a praiseworthy and illustrious
public servant contributing to her homeland, Barbados, for 30 years. Her
distinguished political career began in 1976 when she was elected Member of
Parliament for the City of Bridgetown. From 1986 to 1999, Dame Billie Miller held
many offices, including Minister of Education and Culture, Leader of the Opposition,
and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business.
In 1994, she was named Deputy Prime Minister and in 1995 added Tourism and
International Transport to her portfolio. In 1999, she was re-elected as Member of
Parliament and re-appointed Deputy Prime Minister with the portfolios of Foreign
Affairs and Foreign Trade.
Previously, Dame Billie Miller has also devoted her time to the CTO, becoming the
first woman Chairman of the organization from 1997 to 1998. In 1998, she was
President of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States Council of Ministers. She
also served as Chairperson of the Association of Caribbean States’ Ministerial
Council from 2000-2001.
Also being honored:
Carlos Lezama, Carnival Organizer
The CTO Award of Excellence is being presented to Carlos Lezama, long time president
of the Carnival Association and Chairman Emeritus of the West Indian American Day
Carnival Association, for taking his love of Carnival and transporting it to Eastern
Parkway, Brooklyn so all the world could experience the Caribbean.
As president of the Carnival Association for 34 years Carlos Lezama has always has a
strong appreciation for the cultural significance, exuberant style and colors of
Carnival beginning during his years spent in Trinidad, where he played Mas, learned
the steelpan and played the cello, eventually earning the nickname “Celloman.”
His zeal and leadership has made the Carnival on Labor Day the largest parade in the
United States. The parade attracts more than 3.5 million revelers to Eastern
Parkway in Brooklyn and has initiated over 39 Carnivals throughout the United States
and Canada, including Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, Toronto, and Montreal.
In 2001, the Carnival route—Eastern Parkway—was renamed Carlos Lezama Parkway
for the season.
Tanny & the Boys, Musicians
The CTO Award of Excellence is being presented to Tanny & the Boys of St. Martin/St.
Maarten: Nathaniel ‘Tanny’ Davis, Maxine Emeal Reed, Edward ‘Eddie’ Emanuel
Violenus, George Bernard Violenus and James Roosevelt Samuel, for providing rhythm
in our lives with more than 50 years of joyous music that uplifted the Caribbean
with song and dance.
Known to provide party-goers and revelers with the infectious rhythms and sounds of
traditional St. Martin music, Tanny & the Boys has been the premier string band of
the country and much of the Northern Caribbean for over half of the 20th century.
Encompassing a mixture of merengue, calypso, tumba, bolero, waltz, pop, blues, polka
and mazurka, the musicians each bring with them countless years of experience and a
genuine love for the music they play.
Bandleader Nathaniel “Tanny” Davis comes from a musical family and has been playing
music for 45 years. In the 1960s, he formed the now defunct string band, Beach
Island Stars. In addition to the banjo, he plays the “quarto,” a small
Apart from playing at “house concerts,” “casa dances,” anniversaries, birthday
parties, “public dances,” and formal receptions, Tanny & the Boys has performed for
Queen Beatrix of the Dutch Kingdom, St. Martin’s lieutenant governors and mayors,
and a host of other dignitaries, personalities and visitors to the island, including
Euzhan Palcy, Filmmaker
The CTO Award of Excellence is being presented to Euzhan Palcy for her contribution
to the film industry. She thrilled us, made us laugh and cry and made a difference
with her films.
Euzhan Palcy is an award-winning filmmaker who holds the distinction of being the
first black female director produced by a major Hollywood studio. Born in
Martinique, Palcy grew up attending many films. Over the years, Palcy’s
contribution to the film industry has included works in a wide variety of genres -
thriller, animation, comedy and action. She not only uses her craft to make a
difference but her films are balanced with moving storylines and outstanding