President David Granger: Chancellor, Vice President, Ministers of the Government, Members of the National Assembly, Members of the Diplomatic Corps; and most of all the awardees who will receive today, the honour of the Guyanese people.
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana, our motherland to which we pledge our love and our loyalty has endowed you, her most deserving citizens, with her iron pious honours.
National Awards, established 45 years ago when Guyana became a Republic, are a symbol of our nationhood. They are the greatest gift that a grateful nation can offer to its best citizens. They express esteem of our people.
National Awards, like our National Anthem, like our National Flag, like our National Monuments are ordained by our Constitution; our supreme law. The parchment which you will receive 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.
National Awards constitute an important institution of the State. It is our constitutional obligation, unfailingly, to discharge this duty to our deserving citizens. We vow today, to come here to this National Centre every year to pay respect to those who deserve such respect. [Applause.]
We are the trustees of the traditions which sustain society; that is the culture of good government; that is the culture of good society; that is the culture of good life. National Awards however, can be no more than tokens. They cannot calculate the value of your contributions; they cannot measure the magnitude of the selflessness of your service for which you have been recognised.
National Awards are a reflection of the respect and reverence of a grateful nation. We know that you have toiled in obscurity, sometimes with great exertion and at great personal expense, usually without reward, and in most cases, over a long period of time. National Awards indeed, are reserved for those who have distinguished themselves in the service of the nation. We applaud, your accomplishments in your diverse spheres; in academia, in business, in charitable and community work, in engineering, in the economy, in medicine, public service, in religion, in sport, in teaching, in the defence and security services and other fields of enterprise and endeavour.
Guyana commends you for your outstanding service, service which you have rendered and service for which you have been now recognized. Your commitment to the public good deserves requital. Your dedication to the improvement of your professional calling, to the improvement of your community and to the improvement of your country has been appreciated and has been acknowledged.
Guyana congratulates you on your achievement. Let this ceremony be an occasion for national celebration, for commendation and for congratulation. Let this not be an opportunity for boorishness, small mindedness and ill-tempered peevishness. Guyana encourages you to continue through precepts and example, to serve your country.
You have been inducted today into an elite corps of eminent citizens, with the … of admiration, emulation and inspiration to the nation; particularly to young Guyanese.
It is written in the Holy Bible, “Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works”. We have seen your good works. The Republic is proud of you.
May God bless you all.
May God bless Guyana.

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