A Guyanese Independence Tradition in Maryland, USA – by Francis Quamina Farrier

A Guyanese Independence Tradition in Maryland, USA – by Francis Quamina Farrier

Francis Quamina Farrier

Individuals, families, groups, organizations, institutions and countries all have some tradition or the other for which they are very proud. Traditions make for cohesion, and cohesion makes for good understanding and happier people.

More recently in Guyana, a Ministry of Social Cohesion was established, tasked with bringing Guyanese of varying races, cultures, religions and politics closer and hopefully, all Living the Good Life in Peace and Love and Harmony. There is still that unanswered question; “Will Guyana ever really become “One People, One Nation, One Destiny”, as states the country’s National Motto?

If one were to look closely at Guyana, one can come to the conclusion that such an objective, though difficult, can be achieved. It is indeed a worthy objective, for who in their right mind would choose war and its miseries, instead of peace and its joys; and peace is better achieved when people accept that whoever created us, had in the Master Plan, DIVERSITY.  

A proven reality here in Guyana, is observing how, for the better part, Guyanese of different cultures tend to willing enjoy each other’s National Holidays; “It’s Traditional”, as our own Guyanese-Born, International singer-song-writer Dave Martins rightly proclaims in that popular song of his.

Just look at the variety of birds of Guyana which attract many bird watching tourists. In the wider world, there is such a wide variety as well – from the huge ostrich which can’t even fly to the tiny humming bird which has the ability to fly mid-air in a stationary position. Then there is the majestic eagle which lives on mountain tops, yet can spot it’s food hundreds of feet in a valley below. Guyana’s Harpy eagle of the Rupununi is a fine example. Just look at the flowers – such a radiant variety. Various sizes, shapes and colours! It is obvious then, that, as the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life.” It is also obvious that the Creator loves diversity and variety. So it seems that Variety is a tradition within the Master Plan.

Now building on a tradition, members of the St. John’s Anglican/Episcopal church, located at Mount Rainer in Maryland, kept up their annual event of celebrating Guyana’s Independence with a special Service and a lavish reception after. The small church where mainly Guyanese and Ghanaians worship, is traditionally bedecked with miniature Guyana flags on the pews and other decorations around the building. This year, for the 51st. Independence Anniversary, the tradition was upheld, and as usual, the church was packed to capacity.

In the musical movie, “Fiddler on the Roof”, Israeli actor Topol who plays the Father character, Tevye, sings about the tradition within his Jewish Family and the community over many generations. As previously mentioned, Guyana’s own Dave Martins sings about things Caribbean which he and the rest of us know about and can agree; “It’s Traditional”.

A tradition at the Annual Guyana Independence event, is that among the special attendees, are senior members of staff of the Guyana Embassy in Washington, DC; they are always there, and at the reception which follows the Service, the most senior diplomat present, always delivers an address on behalf of the government and people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; and this year that tradition continued.

Delivering the Feature Address at this 51st. Independence Anniversary Celebrations, Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States, Dr Riyad Insanally, informed the gathering how delighted he was to be present at the Service and Reception, as Guyana’s Eight Ambassador to the USA.

The relatively newly appointed Guyana ambassador, thanked those present for “keeping Guyana in your hearts and prayers”, and extended congratulations on what he termed a “special, beautiful, service to commemorate Guyana’s 51st Anniversary of Independence.”

During the service itself, prayers were said for a number of well-known Guyanese, who were resident in the USA, and who had died since Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary; among them, Educator, Diplomat and author of the Best Selling novel, “To Sir, With Love”, Dr. E.R. Braithwaite, Publisher of the television news media “Prime News”, Dr. Frank Beckles, retired Headmistress of The Bishops’ High School, Ms. Carmen Jarvis, Diplomat, Mr. Colin King  and others. Special prayers were also offered up for Guyana and the Guyanese People. During the Reception, guests were served with a wide range of Guyanese cuisine which in itself is tradition.

Guyanese at the St. John’s Church Service celebrating Guyana’s 51st Independence Anniversary (Photo by Francis Quamina Farrier)

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Ambassador Dr. Riyad Insanally and Deputy Chief Of Mission Ms. Lesley Collins, were presented with bouquets. (Photo by Francis Quamina Farrier)

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