The Nomination Process for the 2024 National Honours Awards Officially Starts

The content originally appeared on: ZNS BAHAMAS News
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Honours Committee, the Hon. Frederick Mitchell (centre) announced that nominations for the 2024 National Honours Awards are now open to the general public. Also pictured from left are: Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shanendon Cartwright and Representative for the Central Bahamas, Francis Carey. (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Honours Committee, the Hon. Frederick Mitchell announced that the nomination process for the 2024 National Honours Awards is now open to the general public.  March 29, 2024 will be the deadline to turn in nomination forms.

These awards recognize persons who have achieved excellence in designated categories while contributing to national development.

“I would especially encourage Members of Parliament, Senators and leading public officials who know of people in their communities who have made a contribution either to their local community or the national community to nominate them for these awards,” Minister Mitchell said during a press conference at the Ministry on Monday, February 12, 2024.

“It is one of the most moving experiences in my opinion as a public official to see the response of citizens of the country when these awards are conferred, because it says to the country at large that there is a recognition of people who have made a contribution to the common life of The Bahamas.”

Other committee members attending the press conference were: Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shanendon Cartwright; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Dellareece Ferguson; Representative of the Central Bahamas, Francis Carey; and First Assistant Secretary, Cabinet Office, Maxine Duncombe.  

The forms can be found on the Bahamas Government’s website:  

Completed forms can be submitted electronically or hand delivered to the Cabinet Office in Nassau, or to local Administrators’ Offices in the Family Islands.

There are several categories of National Awards.  

First on the list is the National Hero Award, which is a rather limited category.

Minister Mitchell explained that there are six National Heroes: the Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Milo Butler, Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield, Sir Roland Symonette, Sir Randol Fawkes, and Dame Doris Johnson.

To become a National Hero:

One must be a Bahamian to qualify or would have become a Bahamian as of 1973.

One must have made a seminal contribution to The Bahamas and that contribution when made, altered the course of the history of The Bahamas in a positive way,

One must give service to The Bahamas.  The service must be visionary, demonstrate pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and attainment of the highest excellence,

The service must be inspirational and bring honour to The Bahamas.

The award can be given to a living person or posthumously.

Order of the Nation is given automatically to those who served as Prime Minister or Governor General.  There are three Prime Ministers including the current Prime Minister who have not agreed to accept the award.

The Order of The Bahamas carries the title of Rt. Hon.

The Order of Excellence can be given to non-nationals who live in The Bahamas or made some contribution to the country.  Examples of honourees in this category include His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, and U. S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The Order of Distinction

The Order of Merit

The Order of Lignum Vitae

Any other honour constituted by the Governor General by Order.

Distinguished Service Medals in honour of exceptional service by Bahamians serving in:

            (a)        Public service

            (b)       Military Services

            (c)        Police, fire and prison services and

            (d)        Uniformed services

There are also medals for Acts of Bravery.

By LLONELLA GILBERT/Bahamas Information Services