Tribute to Honor Belizean Patriots


A ceremony to honor twenty-two Belizean patriots was held at the Bliss Center for Performing the Arts of Thursday, September 12, 2019. It is integrated as part of the country’s Independence celebrations to recognize those persons who have tirelessly made positive impacts in Belize over the course of time, regardless of their walk in life. In the Tribute to Belizean Patriots’ Proclamation, they are regarded as persons who have “labored diligently on behalf of the improvement of and to the benefit of our country, Belize and its people” having “contributed their time, energy and intelligence, often at great sacrifice to themselves, to making Belize a better place for all our people.”
Governor General of Belize Sir Colville Young presided over the event and gave the nineteen men and women the distinct honor of receiving Meritorious Service awards while the remaining three were given the Order of Distinction. In the Governor General’s Statement, it says “the nation bestows honors and awards to exceptional men and women who have been selected, not only for their outstanding personal accomplishments, but more for their deliberate and consistent commitments to unselfish service to others.” It continues, “These honorees are our heroes and heroines – our patriots, who through their exemplary life and hard work went beyond the call of duty to improve and enrich the lives of all who they came in contact with.”
Prime Minister of Belize the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow shared some words on the theme for this year’s September celebration. “From Maya Grandeur to Modern Glory, Together Let’s Shape the Belizean Story”, he says, acknowledges both past developments and contemporary challenges. It recognizes the Maya people, indigenous to Belize, and the modern glory of the nation’s heroes. “It reminds us of the duty we now have to work together to continue to shape the Belizean Story.”
The late Dr. Calvin Harrington was given The Order of Distinction for his works in education, being a founding member of the Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC). Also awarded The Order of Distinction was Ambassador Henry Harry Lawrence for his contributions in journalism. The last person to be bestowed the Order of Distinction was the Hon. Laura Tucker-Longsworth for her work in healthcare, being a lifelong member of the Nurses Association of Belize.
The following persons all received the Meritorious Service Award.
Elma Arzu for Community and Education; Alginold Bennett for Arts and Culture; Phyllis Cayetano, M.B.E., C.S.C., for Culture and Education; Leonel Cordova for Arts; Dawn Flowers for Community; Raymond Garbutt, C.S.C. for Sports and Business; Keith Gardiner Sr. for Sports; Alvan Gentle Jr. for Religion and Community; Gweneth Gillett for Community and Culture; Mavis Grant for Nursing; Brent Hamilton for Community; Brenda Johnson-Gabourel for Sports; Albert Jones for Music; Ludwig Lightburn for Sports; Vilma Ramclam for Community; Jean Reyes for Community; Gertrude Velasquez for Community; Harald Wallen III for Community; and Brian Young for Conservation and Business.