Georgetown, Guyana – (October 6, 2015) Fifty-two outstanding Guyanese citizens (two posthumously) and one local organisation were conferred with the insignia of various national awards by President David Granger at an investiture ceremony held earlier today at the National Cultural Centre (NCC).
Aptly described by President Granger as “an institution”, National Awards were last given out in 2011. It is a national recognition conferred on persons in various fields, who have made sterling contributions to the country’s development.
Delivering remarks at today’s ceremony, President Granger said that national awards are a symbol of nationhood and are the greatest gift that a nation can offer to its citizens.
“National Awards, like our National Anthem, like our National Flag, like our National Monuments, are ordained by our Constitution – our supreme law. This parchment must not be devalued. This congregation must not be disparaged. This ceremony must not be disregarded or belittled. These awards must not be conferred capriciously or irregularly,” The Head of State said.
The President said that the awards, the Order of Excellence, Order of Roraima, Cacique’s Crown of Honour, Golden Arrow of Achievement, Medal of Service, Discipline Services Medal for Meritorious Service, Military Service Star and the Military Service Medal, constitute an important institution of the state.
He explained that though receiving an award is a prestigious national honour, it is merely a token that cannot measure the magnitude of selflessness and dedicated service that citizens have given to their country.
“It is our Constitutional obligation, unfailingly, to discharge this duty to our deserving citizens. We vow to come here to this national centre every year to pay respect to those to whom respect is due. We are the trustees of the traditions, which sustain society… We know that you have toiled in obscurity, sometimes with great exertion and at personal expense, usually without reward and, in most cases, over a long period of time,” President Granger said.
Speaking directly to the awardees, the President said that, “Guyana commends you for the outstanding service that you have rendered and which has been recognised. Your commitment to the public good deserves requital. Your dedication to the improvement of your professional calling, your community and your country is appreciated and has been acknowledged.”
Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Orders of Guyana, Justice Carl Singh said that these awards are the most tangible recognition of merit that citizens can receive from their country for the exceptional service they have given for the advancement of the public wheel and the national ethos.
At its inception, there were only two Orders; the Order of Excellence (highest award) and the Order of Service. However, in 1976, the Constitution of Orders was amended to create the Order of Roraima, which ranks next to the Order of Excellence. Additionally, there is the Order of Service which is made up of special awards including the Cacique’s Crown of Honour, the Golden Arrow of Achievement, the Medal of Service, the Cacique Crown of Valour, the Golden Arrow of Courage, the President’s Commendation for Brave Conduct, the Military Service Star and the Disciplined Services Star.
“Every Guyanese should strive to emulate the contributions of today’s awardees to the good of our country,” Justice Singh urged.
The awardees were pleased to be conferred with these national honours, which many contended is not only a recognition, but also an impetus to continue to render their service to Guyana. Director of the Guyana Prison Service, Welton Trotz, who was conferred with the Disciplined Services Medal for Meritorious Service, said that, “one can get no greater honour than receiving an award from one’s country.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips, who said that he is proud to receive the Military Service Star at a time when he is completing his second year as head of the army. Meanwhile, Jean La Rose, who received the Golden Arrow of Achievement, said that it signifies the Government’s acknowledgement of the challenges and contributions of Guyana’s indigenous peoples.
Speaking on behalf of the Anna Catherina Islamic Complex, the only local organisation to receive an award, Hakim Khan said that this recognition is a great motivation for the religious body, which has been working to address social issues particularly in communities in West Demerara.