Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dominican, Dr Carissa Etienne, has been recognized in Barbados for her contribution to the fight against COVID-19.
The Honorary Freedom of Barbados Award was presented to her last weekend at the second Humanitarian Awards, an initiative of government of Barbados that recognizes the sacrifice made by frontline workers on the island during the pandemic.
“I wish sincerely to thank the people and the Government of Barbados for the honour and privilege of being decorated with this prestigious award. I am grateful for the recognition but even more so for the opportunity to have served your Government and you the people of Barbados,” Dr Etienne said while receiving the award.
Dr. Etienne, who received the award “for her leadership team and friendship to Barbados during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic”, lauded health care workers in Barbados, many of whom received awards at the ceremony, held at Kensington Oval.
She described them as 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. “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.”
She also had high praises for the leadership of Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Motley, saying she was proud of her.
“I applaud your leadership, your vision and your determination,” Dr. Etienne said. “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.”
She said she felt a sense of humility in receiving the award.
“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,” Dr Etienne stated. “I humbly receive this award with them in mind and reiterate my sincere gratitude to the national authority and people of Barbados.”
Six thousand people, including frontline workers from the public and private sectors, the media, and charitable organizations, were honored in the following categories:
– The Honourary Freedom of Barbados Award to the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne, for her leadership team and friendship to Barbados during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic;
-Humanitarian Medals conferred on frontline workers in essential services who, at great risk to their personal health and safety, contributed to controlling and managing the local, community and national spread of COVID-19.
-Humanitarian Lapel Pins to persons who worked in supporting roles on the frontline in essential services and who provided support to the national COVID-19 response effort, thereby stemming local, community and national spread.
-Humanitarian Plaques in appreciation of the generous donations of countries and organisations to the Government and People of Barbados to combat the spread of COVID-19.