The Order of Roraima, Guyana’s second highest National Award, was Tuesday bestowed upon the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Guyana’s Head of State President Dr. Irfaan Ali conferred the award upon the Vincentian Prime Minister at a simple ceremony held at the State House in Georgetown.
“The conferral of Guyana’s Order of Roraima is in deserved recognition of the tireless commitment of unflinching contribution which Dr. Gonsalves has made to the cause of regionalism and regional integration,” President Ali said moments after he conferred the award.
Dr. Gonsalves was also recognised for his commitment to preserving democracy and the rule of law in Guyana.
Altogether, President Ali posited that Dr. Gonsalves has proven that he is a “Caribbean man” who has provided “steadfast leadership” and “wise counsel” as an elder statesman in the region.
This award is given to any citizen who has given outstanding service to Guyana. Citizens of foreign nations who are deemed eligible may also be honoured.
Prime Minister Gonsalves is currently on a four-day official visit to Guyana.
During his time in Guyana, he is expected to engage in several talks with President Ali and his government as well as with members of the private sector.
In brief remarks after he received the award, Prime Minister Gonsalves emphasised that Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have long shared good relations, as part of his focus on a more unified Caribbean.
On a more personal note, over his 50 years as a politician, he said he always remained a “friend of Guyana” and a friend of the country’s nationalist movement- reflecting fondly on engagements with former President Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
He, however, did not expect the award.
“I came this evening not expecting this but I am truly humbled,” the Prime Minister said.