PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, praises Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley during the second National Humanitarian Awards Ceremony at Kensington Oval, yesterday while President of Barbados The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, looks on. (T. Barker/BGIS)

The leadership, vision, and determination of Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been lauded by Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa Faustina Etienne.

The plaudits came yesterday, following Dr. Etienne’s acceptance of the island’s highest Humanitarian Award, the Honorary Freedom of Barbados Award, at the second National Humanitarian Awards Ceremony, held at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown.

President The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, presented the award at the event that also recognised the yeoman service given by a wide cross-section of front-line workers during the pandemic.

Dr. Etienne, whose award was for her leadership team and friendship to Barbados during “the darkest days of the pandemic”, said to PM Mottley: “I applaud your leadership, your vision and your determination. The caliber of your leadership was fully evident during the pandemic as you so ably steered your country and so skillfully shepherded CARICOM and CARICOM heads during the early dark days of COVID 19.

“You repeatedly sought the advice of our experts and acted boldly while respecting the science and international norms and standards. I was so proud of you as I do hope that your people are, that it became a singular pleasure to provide technical cooperation to you and Barbados through those challenging times. Yes, we became midnight friends in an unprecedented battle.”

Humanitarian Awards Ceremony - November 2022 (1)

Frontline workers and support staff across all sectors were also reminded by the PAHO Director that they were heroes who had served admirably “in one of the worst periods in the history of public health”.

“We celebrate you today, we celebrate your resolve, your commitment to serve others and your sheer determination to get the job done no matter what!” the PAHO Director stated.

Noting that her expression of gratitude was not only for the award and recognition but also for the opportunity to have served the island, she called on Barbadians ‘to search deeply within”.

She declared: “All of us have been touched and we will never be the same again. We must harness the diligence and determination, this strength, this humanity, to rebuild our families, our communities, and our nations. Grateful, also to her organisation,

Dr. Etienne added: “I describe myself as a servant leader, and at PAHO I have been blessed with a staff whose dedication and commitment is second to no other. I humbly receive this award with them in mind and reiterate my sincere gratitude to the national authority and people of Barbados.”

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