On National Awards

June 5, 2011 | By | Filed Under Letters 

Dear Editor,
Now that the President has finally chosen to announce National Awardees, I feel compelled to say something given that I have been on a crusade for the past six years to have the Convention restored.
Whilst I was taken aback by some of the names I saw, leading me to think that this was a “friends and family” plan at work, I am nevertheless satisfied that a national tradition has been restored. I thank all those patriotic Guyanese who agitated to ensure a return to commonsense, and a spirit of nationhood, and I congratulate those who made this year’s list of awardees.
It is extremely important that we subscribe to a peerage system, where children and adults alike, can look towards “heroes and heroines” in our society; using them as gauges as it were,  to see what being “Guyanese” is all about. The system is obviously not perfect, given some of the unusual names that made it on the list, and likewise, the exclusion of many other deserving persons, but I believe that Guyana scored a victory in seeing the restoration of an important landmark.
No President should have the right to decide whether Awards should be given or withheld and I trust that whoever emerges victorious after the upcoming elections, will not only ensure the annual investiture ceremony, but also the overhaul of the system to ensure transparency and fairness in the awards. It is not the President’s awards, but the National Awards, with the President being just the Chancellor of the Orders of Guyana. Presidents are custodians of the people’s power and must remember that.
In closing, I recommend for future use, the methodology on Jamaica and South Africa commend themselves as possible models to be adapted an adopted.
Congratulations to all the awardees; hopefully you will not rest, but struggle to ensure not only continuity, but justice, fair play and equality.
Raphael Trotman

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