(GUYANA CHRONICLE) – AS a part of Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary celebrations, President David Granger on Monday conferred the country’s second highest national award, the Order of Roraima, on Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, for her outstanding contribution to the Region.
In brief remarks at the start of the formalities, President Granger said that the conferral of the Order of Roraima on Ms. Mottley exemplifies the historical relations between Guyana and Barbados, two countries that have shared strong ties since gaining their independence in 1966. Speaking at the Ministry of the Presidency to Ministers of Government, heads of the CARICOM Secretariat and a delegation from Barbados, President Granger said that the investiture ceremony was not simply a formality, but was aimed at recognising the lead role Ms. Mottley plays not only in her own country, but in the Caribbean as well.
Noting some of the similarities between our two countries, the president pointed to their spearheading of the founding of the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) in 1965; their unique establishment of a joint High Commission in London following their independence; their being the only two Caribbean countries to erect monuments in memory of the victims of the 1976 Cubana Air Disaster; and the fact that the then Prime Ministers of the two states, Forbes Burnham and Errol Barrow, were among the four ‘Founding Fathers’, who, on July 4, 1973, signed the historic Treaty of Chaguaramas to formally establish the Caribbean Community and Common Market, which later became known as CARICOM.
President Granger noted that Prime Minister Mottley has distinguished herself as an ardent advocate of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and led her country in the commendable perusal of Regional integration. “We applaud your leadership; we applaud your stewardship; we applaud your willingness to partner with Caribbean states,” he said, adding: “We commend you on your assumption of office as Chairman of Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, and for your long-established commitments to Caribbean integration.”
A SPECIAL HONOUR
Also delivering brief remarks at the event was Chairperson of the Advisory Council of the Orders of Guyana, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who said that as Guyana celebrates its Golden Jubilee, it is significant that the country pays special honour to a distinguished citizen of CARICOM who has rendered outstanding and valuable services to the Region. She described the Barbadian Prime Minister as “a distinguished daughter of the Caribbean soil” who has strongly represented the economic interest of the Caribbean.
Among PM Mottley’s list of achievements are: Being the youngest ever Queen’s Counsel in Barbados; one of the youngest Barbadians to be assigned a ministerial portfolio as Minister of Education; first female Attorney-General; Opposition Leader and Party Leader of Barbados and more.
Said Justice Cummings-Edwards: “Honourable Prime Minister, we commend your sterling contribution as you most deservedly join the ranks of illustrious Guyanese and other Caribbean citizens who have been bestowed with the honour of a National Award, more particularly the Order of Roraima. The Caribbean is richer for your service.”
In accepting the honour, Prime Minister Mottley did so on her own behalf and on the behalf of her country. She stated that Guyana and Barbados have shared ties for many years, and, even in her own case, her father’s grandfather was a Guyanese, while her grandmother’s brothers and sisters spent parts of their lives here in Guyana. Mottley pointed out that it was Guyanese who, in the 1950s and 1960s, led the industrialisation of Barbados with the establishment of banking institutions along with a wide array of industries. She said that in 2007, she took note that there were over 32,000 Guyanese living in Barbados and contributing to the country’s economy.
With existential threats such as climate change and non-communicable diseases, the Prime Minister said that countries in the Region do not have the expertise to do it alone, and Barbados looks forward to working with the people of Guyana for a better Region and a better world. “The path of our two countries is inseparable, and I look forward to our being able to build, Mr. President, on that relationship, because it is only in working together on common initiatives that we can achieve [our goals],” she stated.
Mottley, O.R., Q.C., M.P, became Barbados’ eighth and first female Prime Minister on May 25, 2018 after successfully leading the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to a 30-0 victory over the Freundel Stuart led Democratic Labour Party (DLP) on May 24, 2018. She also serves as Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, National Security and the Civil Service. Mottley is an Attorney-at-law by profession, with a degree from the London School of Economics specialising in advocacy.
Also attending the ceremony were Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo; Minster of State Dawn Hastings-Williams; Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Karen Cummings; and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.