Former mayor humbled by national award

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Ashton Ford –

ASHTON Ford, who will receive the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) at Sunday’s national awards at President’s House, is a history-maker in his own right.

At the time he became mayor of Arima, in 1979, at the age of 29, Ford was the youngest person in the Caribbean to sit in a mayoral chair.

That reputation, he claims, still stands.

“I am still the youngest mayor in the Caribbean at this point. Nobody has broken that record,” he told Sunday Newsday, adding former Arima mayor Edward Metivier and others came close at age of 30.

During his years as mayor, he presided over the expansion of the borough from one square mile to four, prompting significant changes which contributed to the development of Arima.

Awarded for his contribution in the sphere of culture, community development and education, Ford has enjoyed a 55-year career in public life, dating back to years as a teenager in the PNM Youth League.

Apart from Arima mayor, he was a local government councillor, Member of Parliament and parliamentary secretary in the former Ministry of Works, Infrastructure and Drainage, under Hugh Francis and later, in the Ministry of Public Utilities and Transport.

For almost seven years, he was also a former public affairs, culture and tourism attaché to the TT High Commission in London.

The father of four last served a PNM general secretary. He resigned in 2017.

Ford said he still assists the PNM with party matters when called upon.

“I have served the party in many capacities and worked with four PNM prime ministers, Eric Williams, George Chambers, Patrick Manning and Dr Keith Rowley,” he told Sunday Newsday.

Ford recalled he and Chambers had secured the largest number of votes for the party in a general election

A former chairman of the Arima Sport and Carnival Committee, Ford was also a journalist, who worked with several media houses, including the Guardian, Bomb and Catholic News.

Ford said he is humbled by the acknowledgement.

“When the approach was made, I was taken aback because I said I am not in that category.”

He said over the years he had got accustomed to recommending people for national awards.

“But my wife, four children and grandchildren are very happy.”