Last evening, Stephen Campbell together with 18 indigenous men and women from across Guyana were honoured for their contributions to the development of Guyana. The event took place at Umana Yana where the life and works of Stephen Campbell was being celebrated.
Those honored would have served in their field of work for over 25 years. They include six women and twelve men namely; Rita Robeiro, Ignatius Adams, Retired Captain John Flores, Jean La Rose, Lascels Pearson, Ramona Bennett, Winslow Craig, Charles Holmes, Ovid Williams, Clara Boston, Natasha Poone, Leonard Frederick, Kenco Yaimo, Julie Willie, Roy Edwin, Valentine Jose, Elizabeth Abraham and Joseph Abraham. .
Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Sydney Allicock, (Second left) with Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe along with the 18 persons who were honored.
The honourees received a pin in the shape in the map of Guyana which also had nine feathers to represent the nine indigenous tribes in Guyana. They also received a plaque.
Stephen Campbell (deceased), was remembered for his fight for Guyana’s independence and more importantly his fight for the rights of indigenous people. He was Guyana’s first indigenous Member of Parliament.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock, speaking at the ceremony said that Stephen Campbell lived up to what it is meant to be indigenous. The Minister noted that indigenous people are not keen on celebrating and remembering their indigenous heroes. He said this must change. “This is something we must correct. In honouring our heroes we help the world to better understand us and what we represent,” Allicock explained.
The Minister noted that Campbell was a very humble person who was keen on empowering the indigenous people to be an asset in the development of Guyana. He said this quality is needed in today’s society.
“It starts with a commitment, it revolves around a passion, strong conviction, sincere objectives, the belief in justice, love of fellow men and it ends with another generation,” the Minister stated.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, in her remarks said that the part Stephen Campbell played in the lives of indigenous people must never be forgotten.
She pointed to his role in ensuring that indigenous lands remained that of the indigenous people. “He wanted to make sure that our indigenous brothers and sisters were safe in their lands, that their lands were safe in their hands,” the minister said.
Additionally, the Minister thanked those honored for the role they played in empowering their indigenous brothers and sisters and Guyana as a whole. “It is really an honour and privilege for us to recognize you as persons who have contributed to Guyana in so many ways,” she told the honourees.
Last evening’s activity is part of the celebrations of Indigenous Heritage Month which is being observed under the theme “Our Culture, Earth’s Future-Saving the Environment, Live the Indigenous Way.”