Guyana’s President David Granger has lauded Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart for supporting the rights of Small Island and Low Coastal Development states, his advocacy for the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) demand for reparations for Caribbean citizens and his contribution to the reduction of the impact of climate change in the region.
Granger, who is Chancellor of the Orders of Guyana, on Thursday conferred Stuart with the insignia of the Order of Roraima, Guyana’s second highest national award, at an investiture ceremony at the President’s official residence.
As Guyana today marked its 50th anniversary of political independence from Britain, Granger said Stuart had also distinguished himself as, “a doughty defender of the territorial integrity of Guyana and Belize and the maritime space of all Caribbean states”.
He noted that both Guyana and Barbados gained their Independence from Britain in 1966.
Both countries also pioneered the founding of the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) in 1965, even before they became independent and established a joint High Commission in London soon after Independence. Additionally, their founding fathers – Forbes Burnham and Errol Barrow – were among the four who signed the Treaty establishing the Caribbean Community in Chaguaramas, Trinidad in 1973.
Today, Stuart said that he received the honour with much gratitude and humility.
“It is an important moment for me. I have been a follower of Guyana for many, many years. I’ve been influenced quite a lot by what is happening in Guyana over the years. I was a great admirer of the late President of Guyana, Forbes Burnham and therefore to have been the recipient of this award this morning is a real humbling but delightful experience,” he said.
Speaking about the bilateral and trade relations between the two countries, the Prime Minister said concerted efforts were being made to improve and strengthen the Guyana-Barbados Joint Commission.
He said both countries could learn much from each other, while stating that Barbados as a leader in tourism in the region stood ready to assist Guyana in the further development of its own tourism industry.
Also present at the investiture ceremony, were Prime Minister Moses Nagmootoo, Cabinet members, Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland, Advisor on the Council of Ministers of Suriname ambassador Harvey Narendorff and other members of the diplomatic corps.
On Wednesday evening at the 50th independence anniversary flag raising ceremony held at the D’urban Park the Government announced the list of outstanding Guyanese to be conferred with National Awards this year. The event was however marred by a walk out of Opposition legislators, who complained about their seating arrangements.