Minister of Youth Development and National Service, the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds paid his respects to deceased national icon Singing Sandra at her Memorial Service at Queen’s Hall on Wednesday 3rd February, 2021.
Minister Hinds noted that Singing Sandra always reached out to the young people of Trinidad and Tobago. He added, “As Minister of Youth Development and National Service, I feel indebted to her as she mothered, nurtured, encouraged and set herself up as an exemplar to all of the young Calypsonians, particularly the females.”
Following the commemoration event at Queens Hall, Minister Hinds expressed his appreciation for “the reverence, love, respect and the honour that the calypso community had for Singing Sandra.”
In 1999, Sandra Des Vignes Millington became the second woman to be crowned Calypso Monarch, with her songs Voices from the Ghetto (Crying) and Song for Healing. In 2003, she again won the title, forever etching herself into the history books, becoming the first and only woman to win the title twice.
Singing Sandra was considered a cultural ambassador who connected with the Trinidad and Tobago diaspora. Minister Hinds fondly recalled seeing her perform in London England in the 1990’s when he was a law student. He said “I went to the Hammersmith and there I saw Singing Sandra, Marvellous Marva and the United Sisters singing Whoa Donkey and they properly well mashed down the place. I later learned they flattened Trinidad and Tobago with it.”
She was also very vocal as a community activist. Minster Hinds recalled the active role she played during a Peace March he arranged from Besson Street to the St. Barbs Basketball court around 2005. He noted “On the morning of this Peace March, Singing Sandra showed up. She volunteered and I could see her now as she took the microphone and she sang some her songs, Voices from the Ghetto and others. She preached and lectured to the young men in a way I found very compassionate.” It is because of such displays of kindness and caring Minister Hinds believes she is fully deserving of the title of Cultural Icon.
The Ministry of Youth Development and National Service remains committed to bringing all stakeholders together to promote youth development and encouraging civic-minded citizens to contribute to National Service across Trinidad and Tobago.