Prime Minister heads list of National Awardees
-‘Sash’ Sawh, Desiree Fox posthumously honoured
By Leonard Gildarie
Long-serving Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, led a list of 131 citizens and groups receiving National Awards yesterday. Murdered former Minister of Agriculture, Satyadeow ‘Sash’ Sawh, and Dr. Desrey Fox, Amerindian Affairs Minister, who died in a car accident late 2009, were honoured posthumously.
Retired boxing champions, Malcolm Parris and Andrew ‘Sixhead’ Lewis, cricketing star Ramnaresh Sarwan and world-rated squash player, Nicolette Fernandes, were among the sports personalities honoured.
The list also included goldminers, teachers, nurses and veteran army pilot, Michael ‘Mike’ Charles.
During the investiture ceremony at the National Cultural Centre, the first since 2002, President Bharrat Jagdeo called on the recipients to continue playing their role in the country’s development.
All told, there were one Order of Excellence (OE) which went to the Prime Minister; 14 Cacique’s Crown of Honour (CCH); 21 Golden Arrowhead of Achievement; 64 Medal of Service (Individuals) and 12 Medal of Service (Groups).
For the Guyana Defense Force, Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best was the recipient of the highest award for his category- the Military Service Star (MSS).
The Military Service Medal (MSM) went to nine high-ranking army and Coast Guard officers.
Commissioner of Police, Henry Greene, was conferred the Disciplined Services Star (DSS) while the Disciplined Services Medal for Meritorious Service went to six persons including four Assistant Commissioners of Police; Fire Chief Marlon Gentle and Colin Howard, Senior Superintendent of the Guyana Prison Service.
For outstanding contributions to the country through their service and selfless work a total of 64 persons received the Medal of Service.
Medal of Service
In the latter category, US-based Guyanese philantrophist, George Subraj, who has led countless medical teams to Guyana, was among the awardees.
Included also in this category were university lecturer, Al Creighton; child-care worker, Ann Greene; designer Don Gomes; writer and playwright, Dr. Paloma Mohamed; Amerindian leader and activist, Yvonne Pearson; karate coach, Frank Woon-a-Tai; world-renowned body-building champion, Hugh Ross; veteran teacher, Wilfred Success; veteran education personality, Jean Persico and Yvonne Hinds- wife of the Prime Minister whose work in the Guyana Relief Council has been brought help to scores of fire and other disaster victims.
Former Amerindian Affairs Minister, Vibert DeSouza, and Bishop Juan Edghill were recognized also in this category for their works.
In the Medal of Service Group awards, Food For The Poor (Guyana) Inc; Guyana Relief Council; Help and Shelter; Kashif and Shanghai; Mothers In Black; Sisters of Mercy and the Phoenix Recovery Project were among the 12 bodies that were honoured for their contributions.
Golden Arrow of Achievement
Goldminers/businessmenn Alfro Alphonso; Chunilall Baboolall; Shawn Hopkinson and Brian Tiwari were recognized for their contributions to the mining industry and were conferred with the Golden Arrowhead of Achievement.
Included also in this category were Lindener, Dunstan Barrow; construction giant, Courtney Benn; writer/poet Dr. David Dabydeen; trade unionist Carvil Duncan; veteran pilot/businessman Captain Gerry Gouveia, and Ambassador/diplomat, Elisabeth Harper.
Businessmen, Edmund ‘Eddie’ Vieira and Glen Khan were recognized also in this category for contributions to the fishing and commerce sectors, respectively.
Receiving the CCH awards were Statistician, Lennox Benjamin; former acting Director of Public Prosecutions and now Chief Justice (ag), Ian Chang; artist Philip Moore; tax chief Khurshid Sattaur and Bank of Guyana boss, Lawrence Williams.
Receiving the Order of Roraima were Attorney General Charles Ramson and acting Chancellor Justice Carl Singh.
Receiving the posthumous award for Minister Sawh was his wife, Sattie Sawh while for Minister Fox was her son, Terrence Fox.
Addressing a packed gathering at the National Cultural Centre, the President while admitting that it has been a while now since the awards ceremony was held, it is important that Guyana continue to recognize the contributions of its citizens.
The awards, he noted, would have covered areas from rice, sugar, bauxite, culture and almost every aspect of the Guyanese lives.
The awardees have all played an important role in building the country’s ‘foundations’.
He challenged them not to sit back but continue to play their role in ensuring that the next generation benefits.
He noted the awards were but a token of the country’s appreciation.
The ceremony would be the last of its kind for Jagdeo who is due to step down, after the November 28 General and Regional Elections, after serving two consecutive terms as President .
According to the President yesterday, he has no problems with Guyanese excelling or accumulating wealth, once it is done honestly.
In a parting message on the upcoming elections, the official hoped that it would serve as a uniting force for the country with Guyanese not losing sight of who they are as a people.
National Awards were last held in 2002.
The first appointments to the Orders of Guyana were made in 1970.
The highest national award is the Order of Excellence of Guyana, which is limited to six living citizens of Guyana.
The Order of Roraima of Guyana, the second highest national award, is limited to thirty-five living citizens of Guyana.
After then, several other persons received national awards individually, including posthumously, President Cheddi Jagan, for whom a special award, namely the Order of Liberation, was declared.