Govt to change Trinity Cross

By Ria Taitt,

After High Court ruling Govt to change Trinity Cross

GOVERNMENT intends to change the Trinity Cross, the country’s highest honour. Government has made its decision in light of a ruling by Justice Peter Jamadar that the nation’s highest award amounts to discrimination against Hindus and Muslims.

Cabinet yesterday adjudicated on the issue. However, when asked about the matter at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference, Trade Minister Ken Valley would only confirm that the issue was discussed. “Yes it was discussed. But you know I can’t (say what decision was taken). I still have a Prime Minister. At the appropriate time the Prime Minister will address the issue.”

Sources however confirmed Government would change the name but had not yet decided what the name Trinity Cross would be replaced with. There was also some doubt as to whether the name change could happen in time for this year’s National Awards on August 31, Independence Day.

There was speculation that some sort of statement would be made at today’s sitting of the House of Representatives.

It would prempt a petition which Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is to present asking Government to consider the recommendations of the De la Bastide report, which includes the renaming of the Trinity Cross to the Order of Trinidad and Tobago.

Government’s decision would satisfy those who have been clamouring for change of the award for some time. In the forefront of this movement for change were the Maha Sabha and the Islamic Relief Centre who jointly took the issue to court contending that the Trinity Cross bore a Christian symbol. Jamadar said while the Trinity Cross was discriminatory, the court could not invalidate it.

Changing the Trinity Cross would involve bringing a new bill to the Parliament. But as a political analyst said yesterday, Government can be assured of Opposition support. He stated that it would be a very good political move because the Opposition could not vote against it, having called for the change.

According to reliable sources Manning has undergone a sea change with respect to the Trinity Cross.

Yesterday in a letter to the Editor, Wilhelmina McDowell Benjamin, who was instrumental in designing the cross, said “Christianity or religion never entered my mind” when she did the design. “If it did I never would have made a cross like that. Therefore discrimination was in no way a consideration. I thought anyone would feel proud to wear a medal like that,” she said.

Benjamin, who was a former Librarian with the Central Library Services at the time the Trinity Cross was designed in the early 1960s stated that she researched the matter thoroughly “mindful of the words ‘every creed and race find an equal place’.

“When it came to the ‘cross’, I checked the definition and discovered there were very many meanings. One meaning stood out, that of ‘an ornament in some form of a cross worn for as a distinction by knights of various orders and by persons honoured for exceptional merit or bravery’. This was the definition in my mind when I did the design,” Mc Dowell Benjamin said.,38427.html

5 thoughts on “Govt to change Trinity Cross”

  1. This is a bad precedent, now that the avowed racists like the people who brought this action have been given ammunition to move forward with their rabid racist agendas, it will be open season on all things Trini which do not specifically represent their religion/race.

    I expect now that they will want the name Trinidad changed because the name represents the Trinity and somehow in their racist, warped, twisted little minds, they will tie this to christianity also.

    There are so many more important bread and butter pressing issues to be dealt with in Trinidad viz. crime, poverty, homelessness, corruption, high food prices etc. and yet these people are haggling over a silly name for a national award.

    One Love,


  2. One again Patrick Manning has shown that he has the savy and turn this issue into apolitical triumph. He has done away with the Trinity Cross ( and ask us to accept it) in keeping with a promise he made with the Maha Sabha and has appointed a committee of reputable professionals to look at what else can be discriminatory in the society. This is what I see in this issue, to me it is no longer about the Trinity Cross but about gaining polityical momentum. Well done Patrick Manning.

  3. I believe that if the name of the TRINITY CROSS is changed then the Hindus and Muslims should be asked to do the same. The TC identifies who we are and where we came from. No one opposes any other group to change their beliefs. Why is it necessary that all over the world the Christians are asked to their culture. Trinidad and Tobago is supposed to be an equal opportunity environment and everyone is allowed his/her religious customs.
    It is therefore my opinion that the Trinity Cross remains just that the Trinity Cross with an amendment to include that ethnicity.

  4. I revisited this issue based on a comment someone made to me during the weekend, about our national awards. Does anyone notie how they continue to be steeped in controversy. now, its the venue that is being challenged, with people urging recipients notto attend at “The Prime Minister’s House- even though the President’s office issued a statement pointing out that it was at the Diplomatic Center, and not in Mr. MAnning’s kitchen as it were.

    I had said before, that some people would not be satisfied until they are standing in triumph on the ruins of what was once a viable multi-ethnic society.Calls for boycotting the awards belong to such people. No matter where it is held, no matter who is recognized for outstanding service to Trinidad and Tobago, some will never be satisfied. They are happier with the mayhem and madness, apparently, that scream from the headlines of the daily papers. Talk about turningt he PM’s official residence into a homeless shelter and other such rubbish belong on the dungheap of political garbling.

    Sensible people reacognize various aspects of progress, decent housing for the de facto as well as the titular heads of state are a requirement. Netiher merits a lepay and plaster house, with a stand pipe nearby for bathing.

  5. Now that Kamla is the PM is she and the Hindu possee going to change Trinidad to somehing more likeable to please the Hindus.

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