Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 4th 2015 Contents A29
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Disgraced former entertain-
er Rolf Harris has been
stripped of his CBE, according
to an official announcement
in the London Gazette.
Harris, 84, was jailed in July
for five years and nine months
for 12 indecent assaults on four
girls aged from seven or eight
to 19, between 1968 and 1986.
His victims included a young
autograph hunter, two girls in
their early teens and a friend
of his daughter.
He has already lost a Bafta
fellowship and accolades in his
The announcement states:
"The Queen has directed that
the appointment of Rolf Harris
to be a Commander of the Civil
Division of the Most Excellent
Order of the British Empire,
dated 17 June 2006, shall be
cancelled and annulled and that
his name shall be erased from
the Register of the said Order."
Harris received his CBE from
the Queen after he painted the
monarch s portrait the previous
year to mark her 80th birthday.
He had previously been award-
ed an MBE and an OBE. (BBC)
Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris stripped of CBE
M aria Mohammed grew up on Picton Road, Laventille
with her mother and four sisters, and dreams
of being an electrical engineer.
This soft-spoken young woman, who is now 19, recent-
ly gained seven CXC passes after studying at Russell
Latapy Secondary School, and plans to take two more
subjects, Physics and Chemistry, in order to make the
path to her dream a reality.
But dreams aren t enough---education costs money---
so the determined and focused Mohammed is also
working at a regular job this year, as a waitress at
the Hyatt hotel, to help earn some of her own
In a community sometimes stigmatised
for its waves of gang crime, Mohammed
demonstrates that there s an
entirely different side to life
in Laventille, and that
there are youths who
do not fall into the
many good things
about it but some peo-
ple only see the bad side," said
Mohammed is willing to sacrifice
for a better future, and she has a clear
sense of where she wants to go. She
knows it will not happen overnight, and
that a lot of hard work is required. "The key is
patience," she said.
Making it all possible, she said, is the love and support
of her single mother, as well as the close relationship
Mohammed has shared with her four sisters all her life.
She has three older sisters, who are 28, 24 and 21 years
old, and a younger sister who s 16. That special sisterly
bond was the family glue that kept her cheerful and
grounded---even when times were rough.
"My mom is a geriatric nurse. She loves to cook---she
has about 11 chef certificates! She has been a single parent
for 16 years. My mom inspired me the most. I wanted
to make her proud so I pushed myself to the limit, so she
would be proud of me," said Mohammed in an interview
with the T&T Guardian.
"Yes, we went through some tough, hard times. ...But I work hard so that
I know we went through those hard times for a reason," she said.
Living on a budget
Money, for example, was always tight when the girls were growing up.
Her mother would work night shifts and double shifts to earn extra
funds. When her mother was working, her elder sisters Jacquie-Roy and
Joanna would be caregivers, watching out for the
In the early days, Maria remembered the
family would get help from the church---the
Salvation Army---which would donate gro-
ceries and food. "Sunday lunch long-time
was every third Saturday in the month," she
"But now we don t have to ask for anything
like long-time....All my bigger sisters are working
now," she said proudly.
"Don t let any big distraction sway you," is Maria s
advice to youth. "Life has many obstacles and gaps...I
started working at 13 in a store after school. I
bought my own books and bags for school. I
always had a job. I worked at a job almost every
day from Form One to Form Three. It was just
in Form Four that I eased up on the job to
focus on studies for CXC." As a result, she
knows the value of a dollar, and has learned
The lure of bad company
Apart from money, another challenge
was the lifestyle and temptations of
her own peers, some of whom grew
"These days, you have to stay
away from bad company, even in
school. Your mind has to be
strong. Everybody wants a
boyfriend, wants relation-
ships; but I used to keep it
cool and normal, I would
watch and play basket-
ball and whatever...
Success thanks to Mom
Mohammed sets her
sights on engineering
Maria Mohammed is
working to save for her
education, and credits
her mother as the
person who has inspired
her the most to set and
achieve goals, no matter
what the obstacles.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
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