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Sunday, April 9, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Do not mess with young Jeromy Rod-
riguez. He will unleash his powerful an-
ti-bullying message on you—B-Be your
brother’s keeper; U-Uplift and support
each other; L-Love and respect one an-
other; L-Lean on his/her/my shoulder;
and Y-Yes, we can do it together.
The 15 year old is the founder and head of
the anti-bullying crusade Abatt (Anti-Bul-
lying Association of T&T) which he started
in 2013 using monies from his winnings af-
ter being crowned the National Junior Soca
Monarch of T&T. The ongoing bullying of
his sister, which he had witnessed, sparked
the desire in young Rodriguez to make a
Some excerpts from Rodriguez’s bio read:
songwriter, plays the double tenor pan and
piano, sings, founder and president of the
Anti-Bullying Association of T&T; Express
Youth of the Year 2014; recipient of the
National Youth Award—Ministry of Gen-
der & Youth Affairs; Minister’s Award for
his anti-bullying community project 2015;
two-time winner of the National Junior Soca
Monarch competition—2013 and 2014; win-
ner of the International Soca Awards 2014
for Best New Artiste; National Youth Action
Committee Award 2014 for outstanding con-
tribution to soca music.
He became a rising soca star since 2011
when he won two calypso monarch titles:
Moruga Carnival Committee title and Princes
Town Regional Corporation title. That year,
Machel Montano took interest in Rodriguez
and invited him to feature on his remake song
I Love My Country
His latest thrust in the anti-bullying cam-
paign is called Love Somebody school tour,
scheduled to kick off in September once all
regulations, permissions and approval are
in place. The theme surrounds promoting
peace, showing empathy and respect for
others and mostly, to ensure that his an-
ti-bullying pledge is taught.
Q: Tell us about your early years
(including where born and
A: I was born on September 9, 2001,
in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA, and
grew up in the humble close-knit
community of Moruga. From as early as three
years old, I was dubbed the birthday singer
as I liked singing the happy birthday song
to anyone who was having a birthday and
mostly because I like to see smiling faces.
Which primary school did you attend
and which secondary school are you
currently attending? Which are your
I am a proud past student of the St Mary’s
Government Primary School in Moruga.
Thankfully, I passed for my first choice which
is Cowen Hamilton Secondary School and
my favourite subjects are music, maths and
Spanish in that order.
How would you describe yourself?
What is an interesting aspect of Jero-
my Rodriguez’s personality that most
people do not know?
I would describe myself as a leader,
self-starter and motivator. One aspect that
many people don’t know about me is that I
am a great listener and I am very empathetic
Who/what has influenced/inspired
you/keeps you motivated the most, with
regard to the formation and continuing
The bullying situation that my older sis-
ter was facing at her school was what really
moved me to embark on this initiative. My
biggest motivators are my peers who support
me and continually congratulate me, and the
impacting change I see in some bullying cases
show me that our generation has hope.
What motivates you to continue to be
so passionately involved with the An-
ti-Bullying Association of T&T?
The world needs healing. We need to get
back in touch with our natural human senses
and emotions like empathy. It is therefore
critical that I continue my involvement with
the Abatt as the need to bring anti-bullying
awareness and education is imperative.
What is the biggest opportunity aris-
ing in championing this cause?
The biggest opportunity was being invit-
ed to the 29th Annual General Meeting and
Conference of the Association of Caribbean
Commissioners of Police held in May 2014
and being acknowledged and awarded by
these heads for my anti-crime initiative as
a young citizen.
What is the most valuable piece of ad-
vice or information you would give to
those afflicted or affected by bullying?
Don’t allow the opinions and actions of
people to define you or change the only “you”
that you are.
What is the biggest need/priority at
the Anti-Bullying Association of T&T?
The Abatt definitely needs a place to call
home, a permanent office space where we
can work in a comfortable setting.
What is the slogan of Abatt?
“Break that trend...Bring bullying to an
How can the public assist your
The public can assist by volunteer-
ing some hours a week, sharing their
skills and expertise in the field that
we deal with and participate in our
What other information
about Abatt would you like to
share with our readers...con-
tact info, social media, etc.
We are on Facebook: An-
ti-Bullying Association of
T&T, Email: antibullyingas-
What are the upcoming
plans of Abatt?
The Abatt is working fe-
verishly on a Love Some-
body school tour which we
know will create an impact on
students nationwide. We have
submitted a copy of our pro-
posal to the Ministry of Education
seeking the relevant permissions
and sharing the proposed material
content of the shows.
What is your recipe for success
and what inspires you?
Success comes with hard work,
consistency, determination and dedi-
cation but these four factors won’t work
if you allow detractors and distractions
to throw you off course. Staying focused
is the secret.
Of all your accolades, accom-
plishments, prizes and awards,
which do you rate as extremely
special, be it in the field of soca/
calypso, Abatt, or otherwise?
My extremely special accolade is
the National Youth Award—Min-
ister’s Award for my anti-bullying
What advice would you give to
the young people of T&T?
Be the change you want to see. Let
our generation show that we too can
be good examples.
Which of your calypsoes would
you like a first-time audience to
listen to/see you perform? Is it on
YouTube, if so what is the link?
It would be Doh Take me and it’s
What is the best ad-
vice you have ever
The best advice:
“Live and Let Live.”
...anti-bullying crusader says be your brother’s keeper
Don’t mess with
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