Eighteen Belizeans were honoured last night at the Tribute to Belizean Patriots ceremony, at the Bliss Center.� First, some background. According to The National Honours and Awards Act, there are four National Awards: The Highest Is the National Hero, Followed By The Order Of Belize, The Order of Distinction, and Meritorious Service. Last night, 12 Meritorious Service Awards were given, four Order of Distinction Awards and Two Awards for Order of Belize. The Prime Minister bestowed the awards and before the ceremony he stressed the importance of patriots.

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“All together it is the loyalty to Belize and the selfless service of these Belizean patriots that will in fact inspire and motivate the rest of us. I am particularly pleased that this year’s group includes patriotic citizens who service extend to Belizeans in the diaspora; you know how strongly I feel about our being one individual Belizean whether we live here or abroad, whether we are Belizeans at home or Belizeans in the diaspora.”

Dianne Haylock, NICH President
“Compton Fairweather is being honoured with the Order of Belize tonight for his service to the Belizean community in New York. He once headed the British Honduras Freedom Committee, arranging appearances of Hon. Phillip Goldson at the UN and setting up an information network to keep Belizeans informed. Apart from his involvement in politics, Compton is a musician, a radio personality among many other things.”

“Tonight we honour Dean Russell Lindo for his contribution to the development of party politics in Belize. Mr. Lindo has made an impression in Belizean politics especially during the period 1974 to 1979 when he was leader of the UDP.”

“It is in recognition to his contributions to the National Meteorology Service for Belize and development of meteorology and climatology in the Caribbean that we honour Dr. Kenrick Leslie with the Order of Distinction tonight. He has been instrumental in the development of meteorology in Belize and is now leading the CARICOM Climate Change as the Executive Director of the Caribbean Community’s Climate Change Center in Belmopan.”

“Gregory Gibson is a firm and sound leader with over 22 years of public service. For his bravery and dedication displayed as Comptroller of Customs, taking a stand against the criminal elements and enduring the scare tactics to deter his integrity, we tonight honour Gregory with the Order of Distinction.”

“We honour Michael Lewis with the Meritorious Service Award.”

“Mr. Mesh strongly believes that education is the key to success.”

“Miss Nelly you are an outstanding woman who we are proud to honour with the Meritorious Service Award.”

Other awards went for Order of Distinction went to Dr. Errol Elrington and Captain Monrad Metzgen. Meritorious service awards were given to Cyclists Michael Lewis, Glenville Stuart, Nadia Cattouse, Reverend Linda Moguel and Mr. Pablo Mesh among others.