GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday February 5, 2020 – Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been conferred the Order of Roraima, Guyana’s second-highest national award, for her dedication and demonstrated commitment and contribution towards the strengthening of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The national honour was presented by Guyana’s President David Granger at a courtesy call during a visit to the country which she made primarily to meet the staff at the headquarters of CARICOM, of which she became Chairman last month.
“The Government and people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana recognize your unflinching efforts in representing the interest of the Caribbean region as it pursues socio-economic development and your advocacy for the furtherance of the Caribbean Community’s Single Market and Economy,” Granger said in presenting the award at the brief ceremony.
He said the national honour was not just a “legalistic formality”, but a clear recognition of the excellent fraternal relations that have existed for many years between Barbados and Guyana.
Granger noted that Barbados and Guyana worked together for the formation of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1965, prior to independence from Britain which they both attained in 1966; they established a joint high commission in London soon after independence; and the founding fathers of the two countries, Errol Barrow and Forbes Burnham, were among the four leaders who signed the treaty establishing CARICOM in 1973.
“Prime Minister Mottley, you have distinguished yourself as an ardent advocate for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy,” President Granger added.
“You have combined your almost 30 years of political activism with your personal enthusiasm and your country’s legendary leadership in regional integration. We applaud your leadership. We applaud your stewardship. We applaud your willingness to partner with the Caribbean states. We commend you on your assumption of office as Chairman of…the Caribbean Community.”
In accepting the award, Prime Minister Mottley said she did so humbly, on behalf of all Barbadians, recognizing that the relationship between the two nations long predates her, with linkages that have contributed immensely to the development of both countries.
She recalled that as recently as 2007, official figures showed there were more than 32,000 Guyanese living in Barbados. While that number has declined considerably, she explained, the strong links between the two countries remain.
“The path of our two countries is inseparable and I look forward to our being able to build, Mr President, on that relationship,” Mottley said.
She is the second Barbadian leader to receive the Order of Roraima, and the third foreign leader to be given a national award by the CARICOM nation. In 2016, President Granger conferred Mottley’s predecessor, Freundel Stuart, with the Order of Roraima for his support for the rights of Small Island and Low Coastal Developing States, his advocacy for CARICOM’s demand for reparations for the citizens of the Caribbean region and his contribution to the reduction of the impact of climate change in the region.
And last year, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo was conferred with Guyana’s highest national award, The Order of Excellence, for his “unflinching” support for the rights of developing states.