|Express photo: Peter Minshall, PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Mighty Sparrow|
She was speaking in Penal at the annual Kiddies Carnival Parade and Competition, organised by the Siparia Women’s Association.
Sparrow and mass icon and internationally recognised designer Peter Minshall attended the event. Persad-Bissessar welcomed Sparrow on behalf of all the constituents of Siparia thanked God "for allowing you to be present in our homeland during Carnival 2014".
She added, "I have long admired and enjoyed the impressive work of the Mighty Sparrow whose unparalleled contribution to our music and our culture has been hailed all over the world.
"Your work , Sir, has been studied, analysed, dissected and interpreted by scholars, academics, musicologists, but above all by the multitude of ordinary people not only here in our twin island, and all over the Caribbean, but in so many other parts of the world. Indeed you have justly earned the title - the Calypso King of The World.
"It is therefore fitting, and as Prime Minister, I am pleased to announce today, in your distinguished presence, that the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago, has agreed that I recommend to His Excellency, President Anthony Carmona, to confer on you, Dr Slinger Francisco, the Mighty Sparrow, the prestigious Order of Trinidad and Tobago, the highest national recognition and honour which can be awarded to any citizen. It is a fitting tribute to the contribution you have made to Trinidad and Tobago, and to the World.
"I am extremely pleased that I am able to make this announcement to you personally and in your presence to the rest of the country. I am sure the national community will agree this is a richly deserved honour.
She also announced that the Cabinet has agreed to cover all the medical expenses incurred by Sparrow during his recent illness. Sparrow was critically ill and was in a coma for a while in a New York hospital.
The Prime Minister also welcomed Peter Minshall to Penal and announced that Cabinet has also agreed to grant Minshall the lease to the State property at Federation Park, which he has been occupying for several years.
"This is in keeping with similar grants made to noteworthy citizens, such as our first Olypmic Gold medalist, Mr. Hasely Crawford, who has brought significant acclaim and recognition to Trinidad and Tobago through personal talents and achievements," she said.
"Mr. Minshall’s pioneering contribution to Carnival has left an indelible mark and his breathtaking innovative creations continue to influence and inspire designers of carnival costumes and theatrical presentations.
"In 1989, Mr. Minshall, was given the opportunity to occupy a state residential property. My Cabinet has agreed to make a grant of the property to him."
The Prime Minister leaves for China Thursday on a five-day state visit to that country. She extended best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy Carnival and promised to get back in time for "the greatest show on earth" if possible.