By Shemuel Fanfair
It was an evening of reflective dance pieces and patriotic songs that mirrored the devotion of the 69 persons who were honoured on Friday evening for their outstanding contributions to service and to the advancement of Guyana over the course of their lives.
Receiving the night’s highest honour from President David Granger was acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who expressed much humility and appreciation for being adorned with the Order of Roraima (OR).
She was honoured for her contributions to law and administration.
Established in 1976, the OR is the second highest possible honour that one can be invested from the nation, and is limited to only 35 living Guyanese persons. Speaking after receiving the honour, Chancellor Cummings-Edwards indicated that moving forward, she would continue to work for, and be of service to, her country.
In a brief address to the gathering, President Granger noted that his Administration would maintain the tradition of bestowing awards yearly, and that the names of the honourees would continue to be announced on May 26, Independence Day. He stressed that a national honour system is about highlighting and rewarding a person’s service, which he noted can increase the country’s wealth in science and technology and can safeguard the nation’s interests.
“Awards are not ornamental; they are not bestowed capriciously, awards celebrate the common good,” he noted.
He stated further that such symbols embody the high values of citizens’ successes, and added that the younger generation can take their example from their older counterparts who were bestowed with the honours.
Of the ceremony’s 69 honourees, 1 received the Order of Roriama; 5, the Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH); 44 the Golden Arrow of Achievement; and 14 the Medal of Service. Additionally, 2 received the Military Service Medal (Lieutenant Colonels Lawrence Fraser and Ramkarran Doodnauth of the Guyana Defence Force), while 3 were honoured with the Disciplined Services Medal for Meritorious Service.
These were Assistant Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie, retired Deputy Chief Fire Officer Winston McGregor, and acting Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels.
Acting Chief Justice Roxanne George and Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque received the CCH. Medal of Service honourees included Denise Dias, for her work in road safety and domestic violence awareness, and veteran journalist George Barclay.
Golden Arrow of Achievement awardees were Environmentalist and aviation businesswoman Annette Arjoon-Martins, journalists Enrico Woolford, Adam Harris and Julia Johnson, and businessmen Hemraj Kissoon, Jose Da Silva and Guyana Revenue Authority Commissioner General Godfrey Statia.