Today, Friday 5 November 2010, is, for me a very
special and truly humbling experience. Allow me
therefore to make the following brief remarks.
To have been bestowed with the Award of Knight
Commander (ad honorem) of the Most Distinguished
Order of the Nation (KCN), and moreso by such an
esteemed personage as the Governor General of
Antigua and Barbuda, Her Excellency Dame Louise
Lake-Tack, makes this ceremony for me, an occasion
of historic proportions.
I would therefore like at the very outset, to
thank Her Excellency the Governor General, the Prime
Minister, the Hon. Baldwin Spencer, the other
members of the Government and indeed all the people
of Antigua and Barbuda, for investing me with this
signal and distinguished honour.
Antigua and Barbuda has, from the very beginning,
been central to my service to the Region. I well
recall my very first mission as Secretary General of
CARICOM - it was to this country. On that occasion I
received the wise and stern advice, from the then
Prime Minister, the Rt. Honourable Sir Vere Cornwall
Bird. That advice, on relevance, focus and hard
work, has served in many ways to guide me throughout
my career as Secretary General of the Caribbean
It is also here in Antigua and Barbuda that our
Founding Fathers signed the historic founding
instrument of regional integration – the Dickenson
Bay Agreement, in 1965, from which sprung the
Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA), the precursor
I have been conferred with this honour thanks to
the kind consideration of the Hon. Prime Minister
and the Government and People of Antigua and
Barbuda. I accept it with all humility.
This honour has been awarded to me as a
consequence of my decades of dedicated service to
the Member States of the Caribbean Community, in the
ACP Group of States and in the Caribbean Community,
both as diplomat and international public servant.
However, I doubt very much that I would have been as
successful, had I not, along the way, received
significant help, much of it from Antigua and
Barbuda itself. Its leadership, its Ministers, its
diplomats and others have all contributed in no
small measure, to such success as I have achieved.
It has therefore been very much their success as
well. I remain committed and available to lending
such assistance as I may be capable of, to their
worthy causes. Today’s ceremony is all the more
inspiring and memorable because of their presence.
Of course they were not the only ones to have
contributed. Many others, especially my staff, made
yeoman [and even yeowoman] contributions to my
achievements; my thanks go out to them all on this
It is in that spirit of contribution by many to
that success that I am also particularly touched
that my dear wife Patricia could join me today, to
receive this accolade and to share in the joy of
this moment. For, those many years of service to the
people of the Region, have not come without
tremendous sacrifice by Pat and the other members of
the family. Throughout it all, they have been an
indefatigable pillar of support.
[Salutations] In closing, my heartfelt thanks and
gratitude, on behalf of my wife - or should I now
say Lady Patricia – and I, go out once more to the
Government and People of Antigua and Barbuda for
this tremendous honour, for which I will be forever
grateful and seek to be worthy thereof always.
I thank you.