Georgetown, Guyana (February 3, 2020): President David Granger, this afternoon, conferred the Order of Roraima on the Prime Minister (PM) of Barbados, the Right Honourable Mia Amor Mottley Q.C., M.P, at the Ministry of the Presidency.
President Granger said Guyana is honoured on the auspicious observance of its 50th anniversary of becoming a Republic, to induct the Barbadian Prime Minister into the élite corps of Officers of the Orders of Guyana.
“National Honours are ordained by the Constitution of the Orders of Guyana. The award of national honours is statute-based. The Investiture ceremony today, however, is not a legalistic or ritualistic formality. The conferral of Guyana’s Order of Roraima on Barbados’s Prime Minister exemplifies the essential elements of the historical, fraternal relations between two Caribbean states,” President Granger said.
The Head of State said today’s investiture is “richly symbolic for Guyana, Barbados and the Caribbean” as the two states pioneered the founding of the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) in 1965, prior to their Independence; Guyana and Barbados both gained their Independence from Britain the following year, 1966; the two states, uniquely, established a joint High Commission in London soon after Independence; the two states’ Prime Ministers – Forbes Burnham and Errol Barrow – were among the four ‘founding fathers’ who signed the Treaty establishing the Caribbean Community in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, in 1973; and the two states, lamentably, were to become the only CARCOM countries to erect monuments to the victims of the Cubana de Aviacion terrorist attack of 6th October 1976 when eleven Guyanese were blown out of the sky off the coast of Barbados.
The President said PM Mottley has distinguished herself as an ardent advocate of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
“She combines her almost thirty years of political activism with her personal enthusiasm and her country’s legendary leadership in regional integration. We applaud Prime Minister Mottley’s leadership, stewardship and partnership with Caribbean states. We commend her, on her assumption of the office of Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, for her long-established commitment to Caribbean integration,” President Granger said.
PM Mottley expressed gratitude to President Granger and the people of Guyana for bestowing upon her the Order of Roraima.
“I first simply want to say thank you because I accept this honour not on my own behalf, but on behalf of the people of Barbados. I am conscious that it is the people of our country in Barbados over the course of centuries that have worked with the people of Guyana,” she said.
PM Mottley, who is also the Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) said the blood of Guyanese and Barbadians is comingled not just in the seas but among families. She noted that her father’s grandfather was of Guyanese birth.
“It was Guyanese who in the 1950s and 1960s led the industrialisation of Barbados with banks and the garment industry and across a wide range of industries,” the Barbadian Prime Minister said, adding that there is a large number of Guyanese living in Barbados.
“The path of our two countries is inseparable and I look forward to our being able to build on that relationship because it is only in working together on a common mission that we shall achieve for our people. We are committed to working with you on a bilateral basis apart from our commitment to CARICOM,” PM Mottley said.
PM Mottley said the Region faces a number of existential threats most critical of which is the climate crisis and chronic non-communicable diseases.
“We do not have the population basis alone, we do not have the expertise or capital alone to go on our own and we look forward, therefore, to working with the people of Guyana in making sure that we can make this Region more secure in providing a prosperous and stable future for our people. We thank you for your continuous high regard that you have shown at every stage, to the people of our country and to your commitment to CARICOM. We believe, especially at this stage, the Caribbean needs to know that it has passionate advocates in defence of the legacy we have inherited from our founding fathers,” she said.
PM Mottley became Barbados' eighth and first female Prime Minister on May 25, 2018. She also serves as Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, National Security and the Civil Service.
PM Mottley who is an Attorney-at-law by profession, first entered Barbadian politics in 1991. She was elected to the Parliament of Barbados in September 1994 as part of the new BLP Government and became one of the youngest Barbadians to be assigned a ministerial portfolio after being appointed to the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture.
PM Mottley later served as Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados from 2001 to 2008 and was the first female to hold that position. In 2002, she became a member of the Local Privy Council.
As Prime Minister of Barbados, PM Mottley has responsibility in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet for the CSME and has brought a renewed focus on the CSME and the need for its success.
On January 1, 2020, PM Mottley became the Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM and will lead the Community in this capacity until June 30, 2020.