Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was pressed into action to present awards to recipients of the 2016 National Honours and Awards today after Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave had to seek medical attention.
It was clear that something was amiss when the three top awardees, surgeon Dame Selma Jackman, businessman Sir Geoffrey Cave and attorney-at-law Sir John Andrew Connell received their awards inside the Governor General’s residence instead of under a tent on the lawns of Government House as has been the practice over the years.
A statement issued by the Barbados Government Information Service this evening stated that Sir Elliott was “temporarily indisposed”, but “was able to resume his duties following medical treatment”.
He conferred the accolade of Knight of St Andrew on Sir Geoffrey and Sir John for their outstanding contributions to business and to law and the protection of the environment, respectively. Dame Selma was awarded the accolade of Dame of St Andrew for her outstanding contribution to the medical profession.
“When you can give service to the community, enjoy it, and still turn around and get an honour for it, that is delightful because I certainly did not expect it,” said Sir Geoffrey. “I enjoyed giving service to the community, I have had great fun and now I have passed the test. For me, I think it is a very remarkable event.”
Among those who received their insignia from Prime Minister Stuart were: publisher of the Barbados Advocate, Anthony Bryan, who was awarded the Companion of Honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution to publishing, broadcasting and business; Dr Henrick Ellis who received the Companion of Honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of Barbados in the area of public health, specifically in the fight against HIV/AIDS; and former senior civil servant Martin Cox and retired senior civil servant Frederick Forde, who were both awarded the Gold Crown of Merit in recognition of their contribution to the public service.
A wide cross section of persons who played significant roles in many areas of public life also received Barbados Jubilee Honours.
Among them were calypsonians Anthony Mighty Gabby Carter, Stedson RPB Wiltshire, and Poser Grazette, along with former Barbados and West Indies opening batsman Cammie Smith. Veteran trade unionists Patrick Frost, Orlando Gabby Scott and Cleveland Mayers also received awards. Businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams was also recognized for his contribution to the economic development of the country.
Commenting on his Barbados Jubilee Award, cardiologist Dr Richard Ishmael, who was responsible for setting up the Department of Cardio-Vascular services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “I feel wonderful that I received one of the 50 Barbados Jubilee Awards. It is always great to be recognized for the work that you do. You do not work to get recognized, you do the work because it is what you love and what you want to do and make a contribution to your country, but it is nice to be recognized and I do appreciate it.”
Meanwhile, longstanding psychiatrist Dr George Mahy said he felt “very happy” about the recognition of his work and felt fortunate that he was still able to contribute.