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FILE: Swimmer Dylan Carter receives the Hummingbird Medal - Silver from President Paula Mae-Weekes at the National Awards Ceremony on Republic Day, 2018.

Khamal Georges

No citizens will receive a National Award this year for outstanding service because there will no National Awards Ceremony for the second year running.

Last year, no official reason was given, but it was expected that the ceremony would have been put off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the Office of the President has received no list of awardees from the Office of the Prime Minister which would trigger the planning process.

In response to questions from Guardian Media, the Office of the President said, “To date, the Office of the President has received no list of national award recipients for either 2020 or 2021. If, and when we do, the health regulations in force at that time will inform what type of ceremony, if any, will be held.” There was no further clarification about why no list was received.

According to the Office of the President’s website, “there is a National Awards Committee, headed by the Chief Justice, which oversees the nomination process and investigates the nominees before making its recommendations to the Prime Minister.” Any person or organization may submit a nomination to the National Awards Committee, of a citizen for a National Award. An advertisement is usually placed in all the daily newspapers and on other platforms inviting citizens to submit nominations which was done this year. The committee evaluates the nominees and submits a list to the Prime Minister.

According to the website, “the President confers the awards, on the advice of the Prime Minister given after consideration of the recommendation of the Advisory Committee.” Because of the time Guardian Media received the information, it was difficult to get responses from the Office of the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister about this and last year’s nominees.