President Dr Irfaan Ali on Tuesday used the occasion of the May 5 celebration of Arrival Day to call on Guyanese to reject hate-filled rhetoric from those who would seek to divide the peoples of the nation.
In his Arrival Day message, the President also called on Guyanese to work together in love and unity and to pool their ideas to combat societal and public health issues ranging from domestic abuse to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today we are faced with challenges. But if we work together in unity and love, regardless of ethnicity, lineage, or political affiliation, we are bound to overcome these challenges. Let us, therefore, pool our ideas and resources and work towards eliminating some of the ills – such as suicide, domestic abuse, poverty, ignorance, substance abuse and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“All of these have the potential to inflict disaffection, discomfort, and distress in our society. Let us also reject hate-filled, rancorous rhetoric aimed at dividing our people,” President Ali said in his message.
In recalling the origin of Arrival Day, which celebrates the contributions to the national development of our African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and European ancestors and their descendants, he noted that the day came about following the passage on April 14, 2003, in the National Assembly, of Resolution No 12 of 2003.
“Arrival Day is a day of recognition and appreciation of our nation’s multicultural character. Arrival Day challenges us to appreciate our diverse peoples and their cultures and encourages us to strive for a society in which the contributions of every ethnic group are recognised, respected and rewarded.”
“It is towards that objective that I have committed to launching a One Guyana Commission. The Commission will become an instrument for valuing and respecting one another. As I indicated in my inaugural address to the National Assembly, the Commission’s work will be national in scope.”
The President noted the importance of engaging the citizenry on ways in which Guyanese can honour their ancestral heritage while maintaining the glue that holds the multi-ethnic Guyana together.
“Today also marks Indian Arrival Day. This year we are commemorating the 183rd anniversary of the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured immigrants to our shores. The contributions of Indians to national development are indelible and undisputable. Indians have excelled in all aspects of national life.”
“They have also passed on a precious legacy, one which should be preserved for and transmitted to future generations. The Indians who came to Guyana, beginning in 1838, demonstrated steadfast resilience in the face of great adversity. They persevered in the face of hardships, deprivations, oppression, and back-breaking exertions. Today we can all be inspired by their sacrifices and resilience.”
During the election campaign, one of the PPP’s favourite messages was that the country was stronger together. Ali recalled that message, noting the importance in the country pooling its efforts to build a stronger, united country.
“We have an enormous opportunity today to leave a Guyana that will be incredibly better for the generation that will follow. We can only do this if we understand that collectively, in our collective strength, in our collective wisdom and the pooling together of our energies, it is only then that we can be the best and become one Guyanese people.”
“Today, we are blessed with tremendous natural resources. We have to go back to that inner strength of our ancestors to overcome all that will be thrown at us. That inner strength is what we need to build a unified coalition to improve the lives of each other and bring freedom to this land.”
According to Ali, it is the inner strength within all Guyanese that can pave the way for the present generation to leave Guyana a better place than they met it, for generations after generations to follow.