President David Granger
Guyana’s 52nd Independence anniversary is an occasion for celebration. It commemorates a departure from past degradation. It articulates the nation’s aspiration for present and future generations.
Independence was not the result of a single event. It was the culmination of three hundred and fifty years of resistance, revolt and struggle against conquest, degradation, enslavement, indentureship and exploitation – the most dehumanising characteristics of European colonial rule.
The ancestors of the Guyanese people – Africans, Amerindians, Chinese, Europeans (including Portuguese), Indians and persons of mixed descent – fought against colonial rule. Their descendants, today, are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice. The words of our National Anthem remind us: “We are born of their sacrifice, heirs of their pains…”
Independence was the future for which our fore-parents fought but did not enjoy. Their struggle, inspired by workers’ agitation, embraced all social classes and gained political momentum with the introduction of constitutional change and the achievement of universal adult suffrage.
Independence, once achieved, enabled the elimination of the worst forms of discrimination, the extension of universal primary and secondary education and the emergence of local economic enterprises, among other changes.
Independence ushered in an era of national pride which has buoyed Guyanese society. National symbols – such as the national anthem, awards, coinage, flag, institutions, patriotic songs and stamps – helped to define our distinctive identity. Guyana took its place as a sovereign state in the international community.
Public education, at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, became more accessible with the introduction of new multilateral schools, technical institutes, teachers’ college of education and a university.
Our policy for universal primary and secondary education will ensure that every child has a place in school by improving attendance through the provision of buses, boats and bicycles. Reforms of the public education sector are designed to improve attainment at examinations.
Public infrastructure, with the construction of new aerodromes, bridges and highways and the extension of public utilities and services such as the supply of electricity, housing and water, enhanced the quality of life.
Public health services, through neighbourhood clinics, local health centres and regional hospitals, improved child care, reduced the incidence of child mortality, non-communicable and vector-borne diseases among our growing population of children.
Social development has been emphasized by the reintroduction of the National Cadet Corps, the National Youth Corps and the reform of the New Opportunity Corps which enabled more children to attain their full potential. Increased emphasis on arts, culture and sports will help children to enjoy a happier childhood.
Guyana is a bountiful country. We are reminded, daily, about our potential. We are on the way to establishing a ‘green state’ in which the environment will be better protected, sustainable development of our natural resources will be pursued, cheaper and more abundant energy from renewable sources will be provided and the well-being of present and future generations will be assured.
Guyanese are a beautiful people. We, the children of the continents of earth – Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe – are on the way to creating a more cohesive society.
Independence is to be valued and safeguarded. Independence has laid the foundation for a more inclusive and democratic society which will guarantee the good life for the next generation. Independence is the best time to remember that children are our future. We need to bequeath to them, much more than we inherited from our own parents.
Happy Independence Anniversary to every Guyanese, wherever you are!
People’s Progressive Party Civic
On the occasion of our nation’s 52nd Independence anniversary, the People’ s Progressive Party (PPP) extends warmest greetings to all Guyanese, both at home and in the Diaspora.
Our attainment of Independence resulted from a hard-fought process, evidenced in sustained struggles, during which selfless sacrifices were made.
It was a moment of tremendous joy and pride for all Guyanese when the shackles of colonialism were cast off. As the Golden Arrowhead was first hoisted 52 years ago, not only did it mark the end of one era and the beginning of another, but it heralded the rise to self-governance and a renewed sense of hope and expectations for the future.
Since Independence, our country has faced many challenges. The continued struggles for democracy, its return and preservation, by the PPP also bolstered the conditions that supported unprecedented progress and prosperity for all our people. Guyanese remained resolutely committed to nation building and the PPP recognizes and salutes their valuable efforts.
As we observe another anniversary of our Independence, our Party urges reflection on the valiant efforts, which made past successes possible. Looking ahead, our Party urges all Guyanese to remain motivated by a strong sense of patriotism, as well as steadfast and hopeful in the face of current challenges.
This year also marks the 100th birth anniversary of our Party’s Founder and its indomitable Leader, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan. As we reflect on the virtues of Independence and the freedom from colonialism, it offers another opportune moment to be inspired by his invaluable contributions through his relentless and unselfish struggles to free our nation.
Happy Independence to all Guyanese!
People’s Progressive Party
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is indeed especially pleased to join and extend best wishes as our country celebrates another milestone as an independent state. We need to recall, at this time, that there was near absolute consensus amongst our then leaders that we needed to shed the Constitutional and other chains with which we were then wrapped. Independence brought us and we joyfully welcomed our new status as citizens of Guyana, no longer colonial subjects tied to a “mother” country. It also brought heavy responsibilities to safeguard and deepen our newly won freedom and to ensure a prosperous future for our citizens. The onus was now ours to chart our own course and it was recognized that our freedom could not be delinked from the need for economic independence, social justice, and democratic institutions and norms. Those objectives had to be our guide as a people. They had to be realised and sustained.
GAWU feels certain that the attainment of Independence, which we fought for, motivated the social and economic progress of our country and was a decisive turning point for our all-round development. There are successes in several fields nationally while, at the regional and international level our country has earned recognition and respect in spite of certain deficits experienced in governance. Our democratic culture which resurfaced over twenty (20) years ago, still, today again faces new challenges. Notwithstanding, the trials and setbacks the nation experienced and, most likely will face, we cannot deny the very many significant achievements as we steadily overcame the negative legacy of colonialism.
The GAWU is aware that several key objectives are yet to be reached. One of these is our economic sovereignty which we see as crucial to safeguard our political independence especially in the context and circumstances that we see unfolding in today’s world.
The prospects for our country to grow and develop, despite, current setbacks, remain encouraging and we need to tackle the various tasks before us in a collective and united spirit. In this respect, our people, especially our working people needs to be encouraged and become involved in the decision-making levels of our society.
As we celebrate this historic anniversary, GAWU urges that we all recognize that we have a responsibility to let our democratic culture prevail. It is one of the strong strands that binds our nation and makes it united and free.
Additionally, we share the belief that our independence will be secured and strengthened over time when every citizen is given to enjoy the fruits, benefits and opportunities of our collective efforts and work.
It is unfortunate to observe that our 52nd Independence Anniversary finds us as a nation poised with further declining economic fortunes with the sugar industry being an example of this reality. While this has certainly cast a pall over the nation, we must, nevertheless, life high the banner of freedom and celebrate our Independence.
Happy Independence Anniversary to all Guyanese!
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has congratulated Guyana on its 52nd Anniversary of Independence, praising its role ‘at the forefront of all initiatives fostering Caribbean unity’.
Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in a congratulatory message to Guyana’s President HE David Granger, also noted that the country’s five decades of self rule has seen it advance socially, economically and in other spheres.
“Guyana has made major global contributions particularly in academia, the arts, both visual and literary, and in sport. It is also a leader in preservation of the environment as part of its aim to become Green Guyana,” Ambassador LaRocque said.
“As the Community moves to increase resilience, Guyana has a critical role to play given its Head of Government has responsibility for Agriculture in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet,” he noted.