President David Granger, on Monday paid tribute to Guyana’s first Executive President and founder of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of his death.
The wreath laying ceremony was held at the Mausoleum at the Seven Ponds in the Botanical Gardens, where the former President was laid to rest.
President Granger in his remarks said that the late Forbes Burnham understood that even though political independence ended more than 350 years of colonial rule, it did not bring economic independence. Political independence, for the Founder-leader, President Granger said, was hollow unless it was strengthened by the sinews and substance of economic independence.
“Our Founder-leader initiated a system of free education from nursery to university. He built community high schools, multilateral schools and technical institutes, opened the first campus of the University and established the Cyril Potter College of Education – all to provide the best education for the post-Independence generation. Our Founder-leader encouraged self-reliance to stimulate economic independence and to generate employment by promoting agro-processing, small- and medium-sized enterprises to empower poor households and boosting village economies. Our Founder-leader’s policy of economic independence resulted in the expansion and renovation of aerodromes, bridges, highways and stellings to ensure greater access to markets and to boost riverine, rural and hinterland agricultural production,” he said.
The Head of State said that the establishment of the Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) and the enhancement of the Boeraserie, Black Bush Polder and Tapacuma Irrigation Projects measurably strengthened the country’s agrarian economy.
“The Founder-leader’s policy of economic independence laid the bases for expanding and extending electricity, telephone, transportation and water supply services to previously unserved communities and to improve productivity and the people’s quality of life. We, his heirs and successors, remember him with reverence. We recommit to continuing his efforts to achieve the goal of economic independence, which he so passionately pursued,” said Granger.
Chairman of the PNC, Basil Williams, in his remarks, said that the late leader was ‘a colossus of a man’ from the day he was born to the day of his death. He noted that he was a visionary and laid the foundation for social cohesion in Guyana.
The ceremony was also attended by members of the late President’s family, Ministers of the Government and executives of the PNC among others.