Much deserved but long delayed were the words of President David Granger, after presenting 86 exemplary Guyanese with the ultimate recognition of a grateful nation at this year’s National Investiture Ceremony held at the National Cultural Centre on Thursday.
With much pomp and fanfare and in the presence of distinguished members of society and members of the diplomatic corps, this year’s recipients were bestowed with Guyana’s highest national awards; namely the Order of Roraima, the Cacique’s Crown of Honour, the Golden Arrow of Achievement, the Medal of Service, the Military Service Star, the Military Service Medal and the Disciplined Services Medal for Meritorious Service.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Umax Adolphus Scotland was presented with the Order of Roraima for his committed and high standard of service in Guyana’s diplomatic quarters, parliamentary service and in the legal profession.
Senior Counsel Rex Herbert McKay, was also awarded the Order of Roraima for his long, dedicated and outstanding service as a legal practitioner in Guyana for decades.
Those were the two highest awards at the 2016 Investiture Ceremony this year, with the Order of Excellence being Guyana’s highest national Award.
Following the handing out of the 86 awards for the evening, President Granger who is also the Chancellor of the Orders of Guyana was in high praises for the awardees and sought to point out that the national awards were not an ornament but rather the symbols of nationhood.
According to the President, the presentation of the awards was recognition and appreciation to patriotic Guyanese for their selfless service and also serves to promote a sense of nationhood. He urged all to reflect on the aspirations and ambitions of those awardees and that their contribution should serve for others to emulate.
According to the President, for the nation to present its citizens with the awards is an acknowledgement of the contributions of a citizen; male or female, rich or poor, servicemen or civilian. In what could be read as a subtle swipe at preceding administrations, the President was adamant that bestowing such awards on deserving citizens should not be done in a capricious manner or at the whims of anyone, since such a practice could very well be considered unconstitutional. He committed his Administration to ensuring that national awards are bestowed on citizens on a regular basis.
Chancellor of the Judiciary Carl Singh, who also serves as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Orders of Guyana, was equally emotive in his praise of the awardees in the presence of relatives, friends and well-wishers.
Sustained and dedicated service
The first to be accompanied by the smartly and ceremoniously dressed ranks of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) was Senior Superintendent of Police Maxine Graham.
She along with Assistant Police Commissioner and Head of the Presidential Guard, Brian Joseph; retired Divisional Commander of the Guyana Fire Service Bernadete Adman; and retired Senior Superintendent of Prisons Trevor Small; were each presented with the Disciplined Services Medal for Meritorious Service.
The Military Service Medal was presented for distinguished service beyond the normal call of duty to GDF Colonels Paul Anthony Aurthur and Nazrul Hussain.
Newly appointed Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier George Allan Lewis was bestowed with the Military Service Star for service of an exceptionally high quality and for going beyond the call of duty.
Twenty-six Guyanese were conferred with the Medal of Service in recognition for their dedicated service to the country and people in the fields of politics, business, culture, arts, medicine and the care of children among other fields.
The Cacique’s Crown of Honour was presented to Ronald Austin, Robert Corbin, Justice BS Roy, Chris Fernandes, Maureen Messiah and Father Malcolm Rodrigues, among others. There were three posthumous awards bestowed since the persons would have died since the announcement of the awardees earlier this year.
(Photos by Carl Croker)