President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana celebrates ‘Indian Arrival Day’ on 5th May to acknowledge the achievements of the descendants of immigrants of Indian origin and their contribution to nation-building. This year, 2017, marks also the 100th anniversary of the abolition of Indian indentured immigration, the system which was responsible for bringing almost 240,000 Indians to our shores between 1838 and 1917.
Indians were recruited in response to the perceived and predicted shortages of labour on the sugar plantations following African emancipation. They crossed the ocean – kala pani – from Asia to the Americas to toil as indentured immigrants on the sugar plantations.
Indians, together with Portuguese indentured immigrants, who had arrived earlier, and Chinese, who arrived later, and with the free Africans, who remained on the plantations, helped to ensure the survival of the sugar industry in British Guiana.
Indians transformed Guyana’s demographic, economic, political and cultural life. Indians remain the single largest ethnic group in this country and have achieved eminence and prominence in every aspect of national life.
Indian Arrival Day reminds everyone of the role of persons of Indian origin in shaping the nation. Their resistance to the abuses of plantation conditions and their struggle for a better life are legendary. Their cultural beliefs and values and respectful relations became the bases for social cohesion. Guyana pays tribute to Indian achievement.
I extend best wishes to all on the occasion of Indian Arrival Day.
PPP/C ARRIVAL DAY MESSAGE 2017
The People’s Progressive Party wishes to extend warmest greetings on this auspicious day to all of our people who came to this land under the brutal indentured system of servitude in search of a better life, over one hundred and seventy years ago. Each of the ethnic group that came brought with them a rich and unique heritage, history, culture, religion, customs and practices, which were later not only merged among themselves but also amalgamated with those of our Amerindian and African brothers and sisters to create an extraordinary Guyanese cultural, social and economic landscape.
Over one hundred and seventy years later, one can easily identify the peculiar contributions of each of our people who came in almost every facet of national life in our country, in one form or another. The Chinese cuisine remains an irreplaceable part of our national diet. The entrepreneurial qualities of our Portuguese people continue to exhibit itself in vital areas of national commerce and industry. The contributions of the Indian immigrants, the largest group that came consists of a formidable part of so many aspects of national life, that it is impossible to imagine a Guyana without them.
It is important to note, that the sugar industry that was so instrumental in bringing the Indentured Immigrants and African slaves to this land and that has been a major source of employment and contributor to the local economy for over three hundred years in our country, is now facing imminent closure within just two short years of this coalition Government. It is apt also to note, that many of the challenges which the Immigrants faced during the indentureship system and thereafter, which they struggled along with others to overcome and which they made substantial progress in overcoming are suddenly returning to plague them.
The PPP takes this opportunity to renew its commitment to all of our people who came to this land to continue to struggle with them side by side, to overcome these challenges as well as preparing them for new challenges. In particular, we pledge to continue to work, indefatigably, to remove the scourge of racism and racial discrimination from this land; to forge ethnic, religious and class unity among all our people and to build a society governed by the rule of law and where the constitutional rights and freedom of our people are not only respected but are protected and advanced.
Happy Arrival Day to all!
PNC/R ARRIVAL DAY MESSAGE 2017
On the occasion of the 179th Anniversary of the arrival of East Indians to Guyana, the PNCR salutes all Guyanese of East Indian descent and those in the Diaspora who are celebrating this milestone in the nation’s historical calendar. The Party recognises the valuable contribution that our East Indian brothers and sisters have made to the development of our country and the shaping of the cultural tapestry of this nation. The PNCR, therefore, salutes all our East Indian brothers and sisters on this special commemorative day.
When the PNCR in the 1980’s inaugurated the concept of celebrating the arrival of the respective ethnic groups of this nation the intention was to deepen an understanding of the culture of these groups and so promote greater understanding and racial harmony as tools for nation building. The Party held at all times that such a course of action was absolutely necessary for welding the nation into a single whole out of the various groups which emigrated here from the various continents of the world.
As we reflect on this historical milestone it is the wish of the PNCR that the occasion would be used to indulge ourselves in activities designed at forging and moulding a destiny of racial and cultural cohesion so necessary for building an economically strong and vibrant nation.