Guyana’s 46th Independence Anniversary Celebrations

I am committed to working with those who are interested – President Ramotar
– tells packed National Park at 46th Independence Anniversary

Georgetown, GINA, May 26, 2012

President Donald Ramotar this evening stated that he is committed to working with all those who are interested in moving the country forward; noting that Guyanese would like to see all stakeholders working together, which was a dream at independence and today is a major national aspiration.
He said Guyana can achieve the great potential that is often spoken about with political will and trust, and noted that while the 2011 National elections have created new challenges to all the leaders, it is a time to show maturity and to put the interest of the country and people ahead of narrow self-interests.

President Donald Ramotar inspecting the Guard of Honour during Guyana’s 46th Independence Anniversary Celebration in the National Park

“No matter what side of the political divide we are on, let us remember that 46 years ago we assumed the responsibility for our own development… This great responsibility which we all carry must never be forgotten,” he urged.    
President Ramotar speaking to packed stands at the National Park this evening for the 46th Independence anniversary celebrations, evoked memories of Guyana’s first flag raising ceremony on May 26, 1966.

He recalled the grim struggle and human toll paid along with the sacrifices involved in winning Guyana’s freedom, and reiterated Guyana’s homage to “all of our ancestors who both overtly and covertly made their contributions to the discrediting of the oppressive colonial system. They unreservedly cast their lot in favor of freedom. They fought from liberation from bondage. Tonight we salute their unyielding spirit, their unremitting toil and we embrace their dreams for a better future for their descendants.”

President Donald Ramotar delivering his address on the on the occasion of Guyana’s 46th Independence Anniversary Celebration in the National Park

The President urged Guyanese to be optimistic about the future and confident of the sacrifices of those who laid the foundations for the bright and promising future that lies ahead.
“As we focus on the task ahead, may we never lose sight of the economic and political lessons of the past forty six years,” he urged.

Economy

Pointing out that Guyana is a small developing nation, President Ramotar said while the economy remains susceptible to market volatilities especially to the adverse effects of climate change, there are other countries with similar vulnerabilities. He urged that whilst developing Guyana “we must be able to see the wisdom in protecting and furthering our national interests and in building political and economic resilience through the establishment of good relations with our neighbours and with other friendly states and by deepening and expanding our participation in regional integration at the level of CARICOM and in wider hemispheric groupings.”

President Donald Ramotar and first lady Deolatchmee Ramotar stand at attention alongside members of the Disciplined Forces minutes before the National Flag was hoisted during Guyana’s 46th Independence Anniversary Celebration

The Head of State observed that the right of the people to elect a government of their choice, the enactment of an inclusive constitution and respect for civil liberties “have all brought about improved national cohesion and created the conditions for increased economic growth.”
Guyana’s unprecedented economic growth over recent years has gained attention within the region and its policies are being analyzed for the lessons they can hold for other countries.
The President pointed out that despite challenges, Guyana’s traditional sectors have continued to bring benefits by creating and sustaining employment, earning valuable foreign exchange and boosting output.  However, while these sectors remain pivotal to economic growth, “it is now necessary for them to become modernised and for the emergence of new sectors to lead economic diversification and growth.”

Education

Guyana’s educational system has been an asset producing graduates who have distinguished themselves both at home and abroad, while economic growth has coincided with a rise in the quality of education provided.   “We have to continue to improve the delivery of education and configure it to meet the growing demands of the new economy that we are building in an ever growing and competitive world,” the President declared.

Economic transformation and citizens’ future

Guyana’s greatest assets over the past 46 years have been its people, the Head of State said and saluted Guyanese, especially working people through whose toil and sacrifices the country was built.   “As we enter a new exciting phase of our development, I want to assure all of you, workers, entrepreneurs, farmers, intellectuals, all, that you will be in an integral part of national development.”
He urged them to move forward together towards greater economic prosperity, and develop the virtues bequeathed by the ancestors.
“Let us imitate their capacity for hard, diligent and honest work, their wisdom in setting aside something for a rainy day, their strength and forbearance in the face of difficulties, their pride in their possessions and their willingness to sacrifice today so as to create a better tomorrow for their children and grandchildren.”
Economic transformation involves investments in critical infrastructural projects, initiatives and policies capable of leapfrogging Guyana’s development to new heights, and this he said, will assure a better future for the citizens. This includes the search for oil and rare minerals, the development of hydroelectricity, building an all-weather road to Lethem, bridging the Corentyne River with Suriname and constructing a deep water harbour.


The Golden Arrowhead hoisted as fireworks lit up the sky during Guyana’s 46th Independence Anniversary Celebration in the National Park

Additionally, the stringing of fiber optic cable from Brazil will modernize internet services throughout the country, making them more affordable and accessible to the average consumers, and will also allow government services to be more easily available to all citizens, wherever they may be.
He noted also that the one laptop per family project will ensure that no one will be left out of the process of keying Guyana into the digital world.
Explaining that economic transformation also entails modernising the traditional sectors such as bauxite, rice and sugar, developing agro-processing and eco-tourism, the President said this would cement Guyana’s status as a global leader in the provision of environmental services under the Low Carbon Development Strategy.
Guyana’s transformative agenda then, involves catapulting the economy to a higher stage of development he declared, “By fostering increased industrialisation, reducing our carbon footprint, assuring us cheap, reliable and renewable sources of energy, keying our people into the exciting possibilities of the cyber world, and allowing for the emergence of new poles of economic growth while modernising the traditional sectors.”

Village economies  

The President pledged Government’s commitment towards upgrading village economies by increasing economic activities, providing jobs within villages for residents, promoting inter-village economic exchanges and encouraging the growth of businesses, large and small, including cottage industries.  This is aimed at making villages become vibrant hubs of development.
The President said, “Special attention will also be paid to improving the physical well being of communities and to develop the skills and talents of residents.  Through our e-learning programme, we eventually hope to develop a national database that would catalogue the various resources and skills available within all communities so as to allow for greater utilisation of these skills.”

Transportation

Despite the increase in the number of vehicles and especially public transport vehicles, many workers still have to wait, sometimes for hours, to get home.
“We have recognised the problem and we are committed to ensuring that workers can get to and from work without undue delays. This is one of the reasons why we will continue to upgrade the road network system and why we are actively considering the encouragement of new shuttle services capable between large population centers. In this regard we are open to various models of organising and financing this initiative.  The aim is to get commuters home safely and on time.”
While it is not the intention of the administration to displace private transportation services, the President said, “if our people are suffering because of the inability of public transport operators to provide a satisfactory and adequate service, then we are duty bound to assist where we can.”

Medical services

“ I envisage the day is not far off when Guyanese would no longer have to fly overseas to seek medical attention since all of the specialist health care services would be available locally,” the President said. This, he explained, can be done through partnerships which will allow the health sector to source the skills and expertise of foreign and local professionals in hospitals in which the government has a stake.
The land has already identified for the construction of a specialty hospital that would provide more affordable world class surgeries and offer A grade medical services which we still have to source overseas at an astronomical cost.
This is all part of our program to look after the interests of our people,” President Ramotar stated.

Commitment

“People for us come first and everything we do is intended to redound to the benefit of the people of this country. We are interested in ensuring the best for our people. In order to do so we need to work together to break down suspicions and foster greater understandings and appreciation for the conditions that determine our decisions and actions,” the Head of State said.
He added that while the 2011 National elections have created new challenges to all the leaders of Guyana, it is a time to show maturity and to put the interest of the country and people ahead of narrow self-interests.
Pointing to the need to safeguard Guyana’s freedoms, defend its democracy and allow the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people to flourish, the Head of State declared that, “A great Guyana will not be measured only in terms of what we build and what we create but also in our character as a nation, including our ability and willingness to set aside all narrow interests for the greater good of all Guyana.”
AS he concluded his address, he said, “Tonight on this 46th anniversary of our country’s independence, when we recall that historic moment in our country’s history, let us all commit to making our beloved country better for our sake and for the sake of those who will come after us,” the President said.
The evening’s observance was punctuated with songs, dances, cultural renditions, hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead and fireworks culminating just after midnight.

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Comments

  • Cyril Balkaran  On May 27, 2012 at 4:45 am

    The Head of State made his appeal to all sombre Guyanese to leave the past and together aspire for a new Dispensation for all the citizens of the Republic of Guyana. The challenges will be examined and together a new economic order for the Guyanese people based on principles and Equity. National development will be the hallmark of a people moving towards a joint plan of action to achieve their goals in this year of the 46th year of Independence. We all salute Guyana and as its citizens we also pledge this day our unstinted support to you at all times. The debate must continue as the National Flag flies loftily on the many Public Buildings we have erected over these 46 years of growth and learning from the past mistakes! God Bless Guyana and its rainbow poeple!

  • ndtewarie  On May 28, 2012 at 12:38 am

    GUYANA- THE BEST AND CHEAPEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD TO LIVE

    MY GUYANA
    (Part I)

    The land of many waters is my forever Guyana
    Sandwiched between Brazil and Venezuela
    Also called the land of six peoples
    Although some behave like weevils
    Including the Blacks and Indians
    And our neglected Amerindians
    We live on the flat coastlands
    From Point Playa to Springlands
    Mesmerized by racial politics
    Still using the race card tricks
    It appears as if we’re bloody cursed
    With some of us stuck in reverse
    Just to stay sober and keep alive
    Whilst some are in forward drive
    Some myopic and so stubborn
    Some hope for newborn morn

    My Guyana is Raleigh, Sir Walter
    The fearless Elizabethan explorer
    He sailed up the Orinoco
    Hoping to find El Dorado
    Around campfires his saga is told
    How he came looking for our gold
    Dr.Walter Rodney is in My Guyana
    The stalwart historian, and teacher
    He cleansed their eyes of many from boo-boo
    And on Bent Street he met his tragic Waterloo
    My Guyana is Cheddi Jagan
    Who showed the world he can
    After 28 years in theopposition
    To the infamous Machiavellian
    He found peace and sanity
    And brought back democracy
    Eventually we got independence
    After bitter struggle so immense
    With Forbes Burnham the dictator
    Who became misguided later
    But I’m thankful to that Kabaka
    When I couldn’t take the pressure
    I left Guyana and came to the USA
    And then later settled in Canada

    (To be continued)
    (225words,46lines)

    MY GUYANA
    (PartII)

    My Guyana is cricket also man!
    With Basil Butcher and Soloman
    The star batsmen from Berbice
    When Guyana was at real peace
    Rohan Kanhai in cricket held the spot
    With his famous falling hook shot
    Who sometimes unfortunately ran out of luck
    An overnight’s batsman got bowled for a duck
    This wasn’t for his fans a very good scene
    Much to the chagrin of the whole Corentyne
    My Guyana is Ted Braithwaite as a teacher
    With his novel, To Sir with Love as a writer
    Sydney Poiter’s portrayal of kids bad and loud
    Ted’s English experience made us very proud

    It also includes JWChinapen teacher and artist
    His Albion Wilds at that time ‘twas the best
    And not forgetting the late great dynamic
    Revealing to us of politicians so slick
    He turned the darkness into light
    Martin Carter’s poems were right
    With his Poems of Resistance so powerful
    Uniting a people and making it so crystal
    Who literally planted the struggle and need
    To fight bad politics, racialism and greed

    My Guyana is honored to have great boons
    The likes of the lordly Cedric Vernon Nunes
    And the wisdom of the late J R Butchey
    Teacher and councilor with humility
    Philip Moore our famous artist
    His art was on all visitor’s list
    With his art and sculpture so unique
    Making Guyana reached its peak

    What would Guyana be great Scot
    Without Stalwarts like Derek Walcot
    The Daybydeens, Bhagwandin a fine man
    Indomitable A J Seymour, Clem Seecharan
    Nesbit Changur country western singer
    Whose Tain the Beginning a bestseller
    Made us laugh and cry some in shock
    That we’re alive through all that havoc

    (276 words, 46 lines)
    (To be continued)

    MY GUYANA
    (PartIII)

    So when you are being political
    Sowing seeds of distrust so hateful
    Joining the highbrows helping
    To divide us and keep on ruling
    Better know that fellow man we are
    A good people who never think of war
    In small towns and tiny villages
    Enjoying the same sea breezes
    Once were never divided living like chums
    Not by race or politics or bully hoodlums

    My Guyana is for all the six major races
    The Amerindians who made the first traces
    The sons and daughters of the blacks
    Who came after camouflaged attacks
    Of the slaves uprooted from Africa
    To build the plantations of the bakrah
    And the East Indians shipped from India
    These are the people who made Guyana
    These coolies really deserve our cheers
    What it is today built by these pioneers
    And they all have a democratic right
    To govern themselves peacefully

    In my Guyana you move forward
    Throw off your shackles
    Stop the race card game
    And the blame game
    We cant do anything about the past
    But we can learn from it
    Take the good dump the bad
    And move forward think positive
    Like the days of yore
    When we fought the bakrah
    Became independent Guyana
    When all the races lived in peace
    When all the religions were respected
    When all men were brothers
    When we worked together
    Played and laughed together
    And sometimes loved together
    Yes that’s my kind of Guyana

    239 words 46 lines
    (To be continued)

    MY GUYANA
    (PartIV)

    I’m a very patriotic Guyanese
    I was born in Nabaclis, Demerara
    Lived in Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice
    And worked at Anna Regina, Essequibo
    And damn proud of it. You bet?

    My Grandfather’s bones are buried
    Deep in the heartland
    Where he died looking for gold
    My great great grandfather
    Was a prince from Kashmir
    I’m a Brahmin by birth
    But never showed it
    My friends are of every race
    I judge a man not by his politics
    But by his deeds and actions
    I’m getting there but I know
    One day I will live to see
    All Guyanese living
    Not in bloody acrimony
    But in Peace and Harmony.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On May 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

    It was Guru Rabindranath Tagore who wrote “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free, where the world is not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls, where reason has not lost its head into the dreary desert sands of dead habit, into that Freedom my father, Let my country awake! No doubt it is reported that many third world countries have adopted this poem as a prayer for their National Assemblies! If we reflect deep into the meanings of each statement by the Guru, we will realize many of our own shortcomings and hopefully we may live to correct the same in this very lifetime. Unless racial healing occurs in Guyana no one will be happy to make that contribution towards nation building. Where are our leaders to inspire us again towards 46 more years of positive economic growth and development.Guyana we love you. Best wishes for success and achievements!

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