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32 Years… Still no proper National Honours System!


Fri, Nov 4. 2011


Congratulations to the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the 32nd anniversary of the country’s reclamation of its independence. Undoubtedly, we have made steady and significant progress over the past 32 years. The various government administrations and the Vincentian people must be credited for such progress.{{more}}

There is, however, quite a lot yet to be done. Going forward requires our collective wisdom and endeavours. Those in leadership must always seek to mobilize and inspire the people to contribute meaningfully to the continued developmental thrust of this lovely country. Our people must respond positively and utilize all the opportunities to enhance themselves and the country.

One strategy that can be employed to mobilize and inspire our people is a proper system of National Honours. We commenced the process in 2002 when we cleared the path (by way of an Act of Parliament) for the award of National Heroes and Heroines to deserving Vincentians. We must now move further. I listened attentively to the Prime Minister’s Independence address and not once did he mention such a system of National Honours. Moreover, we continue to give recognition only to the few political leaders who had the honour of serving as Heads of Government. Certainly, they are not the only ones responsible for our progress and many achievements.

There are many Vincentians home and abroad from ‘all walks of life’ that have made and are making outstanding contributions to the enhancement of our country and people. Our Independence celebrations provide us with the opportunity to give recognition and show appreciation to these outstanding sons and daughters of the soil. How wonderful it would be to have these persons receive their honours and insignia before our people at the grand Independence ceremony at the Victoria Park! I, therefore, reiterate the call made by many Vincentians for the introduction of a proper system of National Honours.

This system of National Honours must navigate away from the old Colonial (British) Awards. It must also steer clear of the reach of partisan politics. The system must be designed to honour DESERVING VINCENTIANS of whatever creed, race or politics. I call on the Minister of Culture to put the mechanism in place to have such a system introduced. The first group of nominees should receive their awards on the occasion of our country’s 33rd Anniversary of the reclamation of its INDEPENDENCE.

It has been too long in the making! We can do it! We must do it! Let’s get the ball rolling now!

Curtis M King