Former President Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has been honoured with the first Marcus Garvey award for his contribution to Diaspora Relationship Development.
In a citation accompanying the award, was a commendation for his critical role in the establishment of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and innovations such as PANAFEST and Emancipation Day.
Receiving the award, Flt Lt Rawlings said: “If you don’t have the spirit to defy what is wrong then you won’t be able to defend freedom and justice.”
Commending Marcus Garvey for his vision of emancipation and unity of the black race, Flt Lt Rawlings said the fact that the Banquet and Ball were held under the umbrella of economic emancipation reflected the core essence of Garvey’s work.
He said Garvey demonstrated a huge marriage between social responsibility, commercial and economic development adding that corruption and greed will never bring Africa any good fortune.
The former President called for a concerted national effort to protect the country’s trees and forests, taking a swipe at some world leaders who were dismissive of the threat of global warming.
He called for an urgent effort to address re-afforestation, saying that it used to be a part of the national culture, championed by school children, churches, and civil society.
The former President also described as baffling how the so-called ‘educated powers’ were dismissive of global warming saying, as the debate raged on with insistent cautions about the damage to the environment, others have found reasons and ways to argue the opposite.
Flt Lt Rawlings commended the government for launching the Youth in Afforestation Programme aimed at re-afforestation, forest rehabilitation, and forest protection.
He said: “This vision can however not be achieved without the passionate commitment that our country had paid to such activity in the past as a collective.
“I personally entreat all to embrace this as a national project for our own future, survival and as our duty to the earth.”
The former President also criticised the situation in Yemen where for the past few years Saudi Arabia had taken sides in a civil conflict in the country with regular airstrikes which had resulted in death of innocent men, women and children.
He said it was a crying shame that for years, thousands had died a wicked and terrible death, with children living in extreme hunger, thirst, and torture of extreme deprivation.
The former President urged the United Nations (UN) to take actions saying: “It is a terrible indictment that the UN and its allies have allowed this humanitarian disaster to last for so long. “