The Office of the President has once again clarified its role in the President's Medal ceremony after the recent dispute over which student topped the 2020 SEA and would receive the President's Medal (Gold) for that placement.
In a statement on Saturday, the office explained President Paula-Mae Weekes confers these awards but neither she nor the office determines who receives the awards.
"The Office of the President simply receives the names of the persons to be awarded from the relevant authority, issues invitations to a presentation ceremony hosted by the President at which she confers (presents the recipients with) the awards.
"The Office of the President has no knowledge of the persons who are selected unless and until we are provided with their names by the deliberating body."
The statement said while these ceremonies are held annually, the President's Office has not been able to do so in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.
"Over the past two years the timing has not been regular and the Office of the President has kept in touch with the relevant authorities to ascertain when we would be supplied with the names of the recipients of the various awards so that we could schedule the presentation ceremonies."
Contention over whether Ameera Beekhoo or Aaron Subero should be awarded the President's Medal (Gold), in the upcoming President's Medal ceremony, started on March 31.
On that day, Beekhoo was invited to attend the ceremony on April 11 to receive the silver medal which is given to the second-place SEA student and Subero was invited to receive the gold medal which is given to the first-place student.
Beekhoo had previously been recognised as the top SEA 2020 student by the Ministry of Education in October 2020.
After days of controversy, the ministry said on Saturday it recognised Beekhoo and Subero as the top scorers in the 2020 exam and said both students would receive the gold medal.
Communications adviser to the President Cheryl Lala on Saturday confirmed the ceremony will take place as originally planned.
On Friday, Lala said the President cannot interfere or adjust the awardees list as provided by the Ministry of Education.
She said the President's Medal awards ceremony is hosted by the Office of the President but is organised by the ministry.
The National Awards and President's Medal Awards are two examples of award ceremonies hosted by the Office of the President.