Ver­non Lam­bert, 93,

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Than­deka Per­ci­val

the re­cip­i­ent of the Medal of Ser­vice and the el­dest of the lat­est batch of na­tional awardees, at the Na­tional Cul­tural Cen­tre last evening.

In recog­ni­tion of the ser­vice they have pro­vided to Guyana over their life­times, the lat­est na­tional award re­cip­i­ents were hon­oured yes­ter­day.

Pres­i­dent David Granger told those gathered at the In­vesti­ture Cer­e­mony, which was held at the Na­tional Cul­tural Cen­tre, that the awards were a “pub­lic man­i­fes­ta­tion of ap­pre­ci­a­tion.”

Granger ex­plained that they were con­ferred to ex­press es­teem and to en­cour­age oth­ers, in­clud­ing the young, to repli­cate the achieve­ments of the re­cip­i­ents.

“Our na­tion has an obli­ga­tion to pay homage to those sons and daugh­ters who have pro­vided out­stand­ing ser­vice to their com­mu­ni­ties. Our na­tion hon­ours them out of re­spect for the val­ues they ex­em­plify and con­tri­bu­tions which they have made and con­tinue to make,” Granger stressed, be­fore adding that the in­vesti­ture is not a cer­e­mo­nial or cos­metic rit­ual but an es­sen­tial cul­tural con­ven­tion in a civilised so­ci­ety used to ex­press ap­pre­ci­a­tion to those who serve self­lessly.

His sen­ti­ment was echoed by act­ing Chan­cel­lor Jus­tice Yon­nette Cum­mings-Ed­wards, who also holds the post of Chair­per­son of the Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil of the Or­ders of Guyana. Ac­cord­ing to Jus­tice Cum­mings-Ed­wards, “a na­tional award is a spe­cial hon­our which the state be­stows on those who have ren­dered out­stand­ing ser­vice to this coun­try. It’s a badge of hon­our, it’s a badge of dis­tinc­tion, and it car­ries with it the pride of a na­tion in ap­pre­ci­a­tion for ex­cep­tional and ded­i­cated ser­vice.”

The act­ing Chan­cel­lor noted that this year’s re­cip­i­ents rep­re­sent an ex­cel­lent ad­mix­ture of per­sons from var­i­ous vo­ca­tions, dis­ci­plines and sec­tions of life.

Doc­tors, nurses, en­gi­neers, sci­en­tists, busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, so­cial work­ers, teach­ers, com­mu­nity lead­ers, me­dia op­er­a­tives, and of­fi­cers of the Fire Ser­vice as well as the Po­lice Force and De­fence Force are all rep­re­sented among the 49 women and 48 men who com­prise this year’s list of awardees.

The Cacique’s Crown of Hon­our was awarded to Jus­tice Oslen Small, Pro­fes­sor Alvin Thomp­son and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of De­mer­ara Dis­tillers Lim­ited Ko­mal Sa­ma­roo. Sa­ma­roo was awarded for, among other things, his ag­gres­sive pur­suit of Guyana’s pen­e­tra­tion of for­eign mar­kets. Newly-ap­pointed Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Les­lie James was awarded the Dis­ci­plined Ser­vices Star, while Deputy Com­mis­sioner Paul Williams and Re­tired Di­vi­sional Fire Of­fi­cer Pa­trick Carmichael both re­ceived the Dis­ci­plined Ser­vices Medal.

There were four re­cip­i­ents of the Mil­i­tary Ser­vice Medal and 46 re­cip­i­ents of the Medal of Ser­vice.

The el­dest of the re­cip­i­ents was 93year-old Ver­non Lam­bert, who in 1959 at the age of 33 suf­fered in­juries while at­tempt­ing to pre­vent a jail­break at the Camp Street Prison. He told Sun­day Stabroek that he was very happy to have been awarded for his ser­vice as a Prison Of­fi­cer and very happy to have made it to 93 in rea­son­able health.

“I was con­grat­u­lated by the pres­i­dent all for mak­ing it this far,” he re­marked, while not­ing that the pris­on­ers who es­caped in 1959 “nearly kill me.”

“They kill the of­fi­cer in­side. He tek a sweet talk from them and he open them and the pris­on­ers killed him and try to kill me but I bear me chaff, tek the cuff and the lash,” he re­lated. Lam­bert, who was nom­i­nated by the Ex-Prison Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion for the Medal of Ser­vice, ad­vised cur­rent Prison Ser­vice of­fi­cers to think of their col­leagues any­time they are tempted to smug­gle con­tra­band to pris­on­ers.

“They mightn’t kill you with the con­tra­band but they might kill an­other of­fi­cer. That’s what hap­pened in 59. The other of­fi­cer he dis­obeyed the or­der to ex­er­cise one [pris­oner] at a time and let them sweet talk he. He lost his life and I al­most lost mine. I get a good buss head that tek 10 stitches,” he ex­plained.

Also in­cluded in the Medal of Ser­vice re­cip­i­ents were jour­nal­ists Wendy Her­mon­s­tine and Julie Lewis, and car­toon­ist Paul Har­ris.

Among the 41 re­cip­i­ents of the Golden Ar­row of Achieve­ment were Stabroek Busi­ness Ed­i­tor Arnon Adams, vet­eran jour­nal­ist Bert Wilkin­son, com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist Rovin Deo­dat and STEM Guyana founder Karen Abrams.

Abrams told Stabroek News in an in­vited com­ment that she was hon­oured to be part of the list of ta­lented awardees. She ex­pressed grat­i­tude to those who nom­i­nated her for the award and com­mit­ted to con­tribut­ing more to the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try. “I en­cour­age other peo­ple to step for­ward and help as much as they can,” she said.

(Photo by Ter­rence Thomp­son)

(Photo by Ter­rence Thomp­son)

Re­cip­i­ent the Medal of Ser­vice Henry Clenkian (sec­ond, from left). Clenkian was part of a group led by the late Adrian Thomp­son which planted the na­tional flag on the sum­mit of Mount Ayan­ganna on May 26, 1966. He told Stabroek News that though he knew he was part of his­tory he never in his wildest dreams imag­ined re­ceiv­ing a Na­tional Award. “It was an ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time,” he said of the climb.

(Photo by Ter­rence Thomp­son)

Re­cently-ap­pointed Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Les­lie James was last evening awarded the Dis­ci­plined Ser­vices Star.

(Photo by Ter­rence Thomp­son)

Stabroek Busi­ness Ed­i­tor Arnon Adams re­ceives the Golden Ar­row of Achieve­ment from Pres­i­dent David Granger.

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