Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland and Senior Counsel Rex McKay were yesterday bestowed with the Order of Roraima, Guyana’s second highest national award, while 84 other national awardees received honours in a ceremony held at the National Cultural Centre.
According to a press release from the Ministry of the Presidency, other honourees included Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier George Lewis, who received the Military Service Star; educator Ingrid Fung, Bissoondai Beniprashad Rayman and Samiran Bera who received the Golden Arrow of Achievement and Inderjeet Beharry and Ambassador Bayney Karran, who received the Cacique’s Crown of Honour.
The release said that President David Granger, in an address after awarding four persons with the Disciplined Services Medal for Meritorious Service, two with the Military Service Medal, one with the Military Service Star, 25 with the Medal of Service, 31 with the Golden Arrow of Achievement, 21 with the Cacique’s Crown of Honour and two with the Order of Roraima, said that Guyana is a grateful nation and this appreciation can be seen through the conferral of the national honours.
National awards, the President said, promote a sense of national identity by proclaiming the values for which we stand and reflect our ambitions and aspirations to improve our quality of life and to encourage emulation. Prior to the Investiture Ceremony held in 2015 after the current administration took office, these awards had last been issued in 2011, the release noted. Referencing this, the President said the capricious conferral of national awards must never happen again.
He was quoted as saying, “It is a national recognition conferred on persons in various fields, who have made sterling contributions to the country’s development. We must never again neglect of these honours, or their conferral, on the basis of caprice. Such neglect is contempt for our Constitution and a denial of nationhood. Guyana will pay homage to its deserving citizens by respecting this institution of national honours and by appointing persons to the orders with regularity and consistency. Guyana celebrates the awardees’ achievements and consecrates their record of sterling service. The service they have rendered will not be ignored or disparaged.”
Meanwhile, according to the release, Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Orders of Guyana, Justice Carl Singh told the awardees that the Investiture Ceremony is a recognition of their contributions to the growth and development of the country and that their service should be emulated by all Guyanese.
He was quoted as saying, “These Awards constitute lasting mementos of achievement and the men and women of our country, whose love and loyalty to their country, their patriotism, their discipline, and their dedication to duty has earned the recognition, which brings them to today’s ceremony. All Guyanese should seek to, in their own way, to contribute to Guyana, as today’s awardees have done. We should each determine for ourselves those qualities, which are best suited to unify our country rather than divide it, to heal the wounds of our nation, rather than aggravate its injuries and to secure for generations to come, the peace, happiness and prosperity of Guyana.”
Human rights’ activist and co-founder of the Red Thread Organisation Vanda Radzik, who received the Golden Arrow of Achievement for the work done in her field, said it was an honour to be recognised for the efforts and hard work, which she has committed her life to for the improvement of the lives of her fellow citizens over the years, the release said.
Tony Rodney James, former Toshao of Aishalton in Region Nine and Indigenous Peoples Rights’ advocate, said after more than two decades of selfless service to his people, it is undoubtedly a proud moment to be a recipient of the Golden Arrow of Achievement, the release said.
Religious leader Pastor John Oswald Smith, who received the Cacique’s Crown of Honour, said that he was surprised to be bestowed with the honour. The release quoted him as saying, “… I want to urge others to serve people, serve your nation and even if you do not get an award, have a satisfaction in your heart that you have done your best to serve someone.”