– described as ‘Caribbean man’ by President Ali

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves has been conferred with Guyana’s second highest national award, the Order of Roraima by President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

The simple ceremony took place on Tuesday evening at State House in Georgetown.

Established in 1976, the Order of Roraima is awarded to any citizen of Guyana who has given outstanding service to the nation. Citizens of foreign nations, who are deemed eligible may also be appointed as honorary members of the order.

Dr Gonsalves was awarded in recognition of his dedicated and sustained leadership and commitment to regional development.

Describing him as a ‘Caribbean man’, President Ali in his remarks noted that, “he [Dr Gonsalves] has laboured on the issue of regionalism recognising that our Caribbean civilisation would remain stronger when we speak with one voice and act collectively. I congratulate Dr Gonsalves on this induction into the orders of Guyana. I thank him for his steadfast leadership and wise counsel.”

The president also applauded Dr Gonsalves for his commitment to democracy, peace, security and the development of the Caribbean.

The Guyanese leader noted that the most important attribute of any state, is its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

“All leaders and people of influence who participate in a process to upkeep and uphold democracy, must and should be recognised,” the head of state asserted.

While noting that many persons may argue that it does not take much to stand up for democracy and freedom, President Ali affirmed that, “it takes a lot because it takes a person of character, a person of integrity, a person who is selfless to stand up, sometimes against odds and to call a wrong, when a wrong should be called.”

In this vein, he noted that Dr Gonsalves has demonstrated character and integrity and thanked him for ensuring that democracy and peace were upheld in Guyana. He expressed hope that the younger generation in the region will take an example from PM Gonsalves’ boldness in standing up for democracy.

Dr Gonsalves expressed his appreciation upon receiving the award, “I came this evening, not expecting this, but I am truly humbled and honoured by this.”

He also reflected on his long friendship with Guyana and engagements with late President, Dr Cheddi Jagan.

Meanwhile, President Ali also disclosed that several persons, both locally and internationally, who have independently stood up for democracy in Guyana will be recognised later this year.

Dr Gonsalves is here on a four-day official visit. Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, former president Donald Ramotar, ministers Hugh Todd, Oneidge Walrond, Nigel Dharamlall, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud and other officials were also in attendance at the ceremony. (Department of Public Information)



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