‘Model citizen’ and yachting industry pioneer Franklin Brathwaite awarded MBE

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Franklin Brathwaite received the honour of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams (Photo by Robert A Emmanuel)
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By Robert A Emmanuel

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President of the Antigua and Barbuda Yachting and Marine Association (ABYMA) Franklin Brathwaite was conferred the honour of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams on Tuesday for his work in economic and community development.

Born in Falmouth, Brathwaite has been an active member of the yachting industry since 1976, as a founding member of the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Association in 1993 and later serving as ABYMA President for six years.

Braithwaite was also the founder of A&F Sails, a company focused on sail repairs and, according to its website, specialising in “custom fabrication of quality marine canvas using excellent craftmanship with the highest quality materials”.

Speaking at an investiture ceremony at Government House on Tuesday, Governor General Sir Rodney Williams described Brathwaite as a model citizen.

“You have quietly but most certainly made a positive difference in the lives of many persons in the St Paul’s constituency and the nation of Antigua and Barbuda as a whole,” the Governor General explained.

“It requires a special commitment to do what you have done and this is precisely the reason that her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II readily agreed to the nomination which the Honourable Prime Minister and myself made on your behalf,” Sir Rodney added.

ABYMA Vice President, Bobby Reis, called Brathwaite a pioneer in the yachting industry.

“In 1982, in the face of much opposition from the expats who controlled much of the yachting industry, he and his partner Adolphus Lewis established A&F sails, a pioneer in sail repair and sail making business for locals,” Reis said.

Additionally, Brathwaite has served as a member of the Antigua Yacht Club and has sailed in various international tournaments, including the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Rhetorically asking why Brathwaite served in so many of these voluntary positions, Reis noted that “the simple answer is that he makes these sacrifices because he is a true national, he understands that a local must be involved at the highest level of the yachting industry”.

Brathwaite also gave remarks, noting his community work was a result of the need to “stand up in the gap for the Antiguans and Barbudans…who either are intimidated or afraid to stand”.

He added, “If we don’t stand up, people will stand up for us and make decisions for us which isn’t us.”

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