I write as a concerned citizen and former employee of Petrotrin regarding the decision to close the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.
Do not mess with young Jeromy Rodriguez. He will unleash his powerful anti-bullying message on you—B-Be your brother’s keeper; U-Uplift and support each other; L-Love and respect one another; 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-Bullying Association of T&T) which he started in 2013 using monies from his winnings after 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 difference.
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 Gender & 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; winner of the International Soca Awards 2014 for Best New Artiste; National Youth Action Committee Award 2014 for outstanding contribution 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 campaign 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 anti-bullying pledge is taught.
Q: Tell us about your early years (including where born and grew up).
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 favourite subjects?
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 Jeromy 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 towards others.
Who/what has influenced/inspired you/keeps you motivated the most, with regard to the formation and continuing of Abatt?
The bullying situation that my older sister 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 Anti-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 arising in championing this cause?
The biggest opportunity was being invited 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 advice 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 end”
How can the public assist your cause?
The public can assist by volunteering some hours a week, sharing their skills and expertise in the field that we deal with and participate in our fund-raising efforts.
What other information about Abatt would you like to share with our readers…contact info, social media, etc.
We are on Facebook: Anti-Bullying Association of T&T, Email: [email protected] Phone: 656-4526
What are the upcoming plans of Abatt?
The Abatt is working feverishly on a Love Somebody school tour which we know will create an impact on students nationwide. We have submitted a copy of our proposal 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 dedication 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, accomplishments, 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—Minister’s Award for my anti-bullying initiative.
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 on YouTube.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice: “Live and Let Live.”
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