Two knights among Independence Awardees

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Noted Businessman George Ryan and Economist Martin Franklin received the top national honour during Thursday’s Independence commemoration and Ceremonial Parade at the Antigua Recreations Ground (ARG) yesterday.
Franklin received the Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KGCN) for service in the field of economic development, heritage restoration, business and community service, while Ryan was accorded the honour of Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (KCN) for his contribution to national development particularly in the field of business and community service.
The men will become Sir George and Sir Martin when they are formally knighted and receive their official insignia from Governor General Sir Rodney Williams at a ceremony at Government House at a later date.
Franklin is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mariposa Capital, a Miami based family investment firm focused on long-term value creation across various industries. Throughout the years, Franklin, who has had a deep connection with Antigua and Barbuda since childhood, has funded and continues to fund academic scholarships, and places significant emphasis on empowering the youth, through education. 
Ryan, who relocated to Antigua and Barbuda from Montserrat at 16 years of age, got his first exposure to construction when he worked along with Reverend Piper to build the first Pentecostal Church in Antigua on Bishopgate Street. 
He was also involved in several government-commissioned projects to include building seating stands for the first ever test match at the Antigua Recreation Ground, refurbishing the Antigua Girls High School, the St. John’s Police Station as well as major renovation and construction at the Antigua State College for a period of 15 years.   Ryan is the builder and owner of the Antigua Plumbing and Hardware Centre, Antigua Motors Limited, City View Hotel, and Ryan’s Place
The noted businessman told OBSERVER media that he was quite happy that the committee saw it fit to acknowledge his contribution in a significant way.
“Antigua is my favourite home and I will do anything to uplift the name Antigua and Barbuda,” said a teary-eyed Ryan.
He also encouraged prominent businessmen and women in the country to do what they can to assist the government and the wider community.
“The government needs help. Years ago, I carried the Antigua State College for 15 years on my shoulders, I also carried the Police Station and Sports Complexes, with my business I was able to come forward to purchase fencing and a number of other items,” Ryan said.
Hotelier Robert “Rob” Barrett was the third individual to be included on the list, he is now Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (CN), for contribution in the field of tourism and community service.
Barrett began his hospitality and tourism career in the United States Virgin Islands in the 1960s.  He spent the next 20 years learning all aspects of the industry.  Through his leadership, Antigua and Barbuda has benefited from investment and employment in the
Pineapple Beach Resort, Royal Antiguan, St. James’ Club, Galley Bay Resort, Verandah Resort, Grand Pineapple Resort and also his timely intervention and rescue of the Jolly Beach Resort. 
Educator and Principal of the Princess Margaret Secondary School Dr. Colin Greene, Chief Medical Officer for Antigua and Barbuda Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas and Gynecologist Dr. Dane Abbott, were accorded the honour of Officer of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit (OM) for contributions in their respective fields.
An elated Dr. Abbott was pleased and very appreciative of his other colleagues in the medical field who would have played a role in nominating him for such an honour.
“I accept this award humbly on their behalf,” Dr Abbott said.
Lornette King-Francis of the Girl’s Brigade and educator of over 40 years, Claudette Monica Isaacs also received the same honour.
Also, receiving national honours were, Janet Oliver Bachelor-Francis and Eileen Vanessa Francis, they were named Officer of the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage (OH).
Thursday’s military parade featured troops from the Police and Defence Forces, as well as various uniformed bodies, including Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Seventh Day Adventist Pathfinders, the Crusaders, Students from the Antigua and Barbuda School of Nursing and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross.

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