By Theresa Goodwin
A Knight and a Dame topped the list of twelve persons who were singled out on Sunday for their contributions to Antigua and Barbuda’s development in their respective fields of expertise.
The awardees were recognised following the traditional ceremonial parade that took place Sunday evening at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium. The activities were scaled down and the number of uniformed bodies reduced to observe physical distancing requirements.
Longstanding politician and member of parliament for the St Mary’s North Constituency, Molwyn Joseph, was the first to walk the read carpet after the citations were read by the government’s Director General of Communications, Maurice Merchant.
As was anticipated, Joseph was named Knight Grand Cross, The Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KGCN) for distinguished and outstanding contributions in the field of politics and development.
Sir Molwyn, his new title, told OBSERVER that he is honored and humbled. He also explained that he has embarked on a journey which is far from over.
“I think it is important for people to know what the public service entails. I am only part-way in the journey, the destination has not yet come in sight. I will continue to work in the area of nation building, and with my experience, I can continue to make my contribution,” Joseph.
Supervisor of Elections Lorna Simon, who celebrated 50 years in the public service earlier this year, was also given the new title of Dame after she was named Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (DCN) for distinguished and outstanding contribution to the public service.
Dame Lorna joined the public service as a Junior Clerk in 1969 and has served for over 51 years, rising to the rank of Supervisor of Elections, a position she has held since 2002. Simon was the first female to hold the post.
She told OBSERVER that it was a bittersweet moment for her.
“I am elated; I just wish that some relatives like my parents, my brother, and two very dear cousins were alive to see this day,” Dame Lorna explained.
Other awardees include, Winston Gomes, Grand Officer- the Most Illustrious Order of Merit (GOM) for contributions to the Port and Shipping Industries.
Clancy Mack and Keith Frederick were both recognised for their contributions to the field of sports and were named Officers, The Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage (OH).
The first ever Institutional Award the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage (GOLD) was given to the Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra for outstanding contribution to culture through the development and advancement of steel band and steelpan music.
Six front-line workers were also acknowledged for exemplary performances during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They were named Member, The Most Illustrious Order of Merit (MM) for contributions in their respective fields.
Those names include Anderson Joseph for distinguished and outstanding contribution in the field of Customs and Excise during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Nurse Soria Dupie-Winston for outstanding contribution in the field of health during the pandemic.
“I am elated at receiving this award. However, it does not belong to me alone. I am standing on the shoulders of other giants in the Customs and Excise Division who laid the foundation before me,” Joseph said Sunday.
Nurse Dupie Winston, who is also president of the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association, was equally pleased that nurses are being acknowledge for the service, particularly as 2020 has been dubbed the year for Nurses and Midwives.
“I am feeling good that we are being recognised for the work that we have been doing, especially dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” the medical professional said.
Last month, the Public Health Professional was also named CIBC First Caribbean International’s Unsung Frontline Hero.
Meanwhile, Corporal Timothy Philip Jnr of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, and Lieutenant Carla Patreace Thomas-Browne of the Antigua and Barbuda Fire Brigade also received the same accolade for their efforts on the national security front. Avery Henry, Head of Safety and Security at the VC Bird International Airport, and Wesley Simon of the Immigration Department, rounded out the list with the honour of MM.