In a show of gratitude for their service toward the local community, 69 persons were honoured yesterday with national awards, including Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who was bestowed the Order of Roraima, the country’s second highest national award.
President David Granger, in his address to the gathering of awardees, their families and other invitees at the National Cultural Centre, stated that the awards are a reflection of a nation “grateful” to its citizens, and encouraged individuals to pattern the achievements of their elders.
He stated that the awards are “not ornamental or perfunctory,” but, rather, are carefully selected, and given to deserving nominees.
“The national honour system is about service. The largest of the three orders in Guyana is the Order of Service. Service is about improving the lives of citizens and their communities; service is about increasing the country’s wealth and production; service is about innovation in education, science and technology; service is about protecting and representing the country, and safeguarding the national interest,” Granger said.
In addition to Justice Cummings-Edwards, five awardees received the Cacique’s Crown of Honour, 44 received the Golden Arrow of Achievement, 14 the Medal of Service, two the Military Service Medal and three the Disciplined Services Medal.
In an invited comment afterwards, the Chancellor stated that she was honoured and humbled that her services have been recognised by the nation, and committed to continue working hard and giving her best to the country.
Justice Cummings-Edwards, who also holds the post of Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Orders of Guyana, also addressed the audience yesterday and she spoke on the history and value of the awards.
“It is important that recognition and reward be given for valuable service, hard work, patriotism, courage and bravery. Today’s investiture ceremony is proof of the recognition of that sterling contribution and achievement… among the awardees today are religious and community leaders, entrepreneurs, business and legal executives, social workers…teachers, artists, officers of the defence force, the police, prison and fire services as well as other members of the community,” she said.
The Cacique’s Crown of Honour was yesterday awarded to: Chief Justice Roxane George SC, for her commitment to the rule of law and its administration; Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana Professor Ivelaw Griffith, for his excellence in scholarship and his transformational leadership in the field of education; Moeenul Hack of the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana, for his long and outstanding involvement as a religious leader and educator and his social and community work; Secretary General of Caricom Irwin La Rocque, for his commitment to regional integration and his untiring efforts towards its achievement; and Assistant Bishop of the Assemblies of God Church Murtland Raphael Massiah, for his long, dedicated service to the priesthood.
“It’s always a valuable thing for one’s nation to recognise service and I think that the service that I have given—while in Guyana, while out of Guyana, is recognised for what it is—high order, and I appreciate much the bestowal of this honour,” Griffith stated, before adding that the award is a form of motivation and inspiration for young people.
Gladwin Samuels, Director of the Prison Services, voiced his intention to give more of his best moving forward and also expressed gratitude at the recognition of his service to the country after more than a decade of work. He was awarded the Disciplined Services Medal for Meritorious Service.
“The truth is I believe that there is always some form of recognition for hard work. It is critical that we focus on the positive. I think sometimes we try to focus too much on the negative things. So, after giving 17 years of service to the Guyana Prison Service, I would have faced a lot of hurdles along the way, but today I think it is a true reflection of what I have been contributing to the Service over the past 17 years. And I can safely say for the years ahead, I can continue to give of my best to the service for the improvement of the Guyana Prison Service and this country at large,” Samuels stated.
Falling among the awardees that received the Golden Arrow of Achievement, Secretary of the Guyana Red Cross, Dorothy Fraser, dedicated the award to the staff of the society.
“I think it’s just great and I really want to say that the award must go to all of those who work at Red Cross and the humanitarian spirit that they do day after day. They’re the ones that received the award.”
Find the full list of this year’s national awardees here.