Guyanese expatriates of all race and creed, showed unity, as they joined hands to pray and give thanks, at an interfaith service to honor Guyana’s 52nd Anniversary of Independence at York College.
Ambassador Rudolph Ten-Pow, permanent representative to the United Nations, on May 20, invited nationals to recommit to building a new and stronger Guyana, independent and free, with people at the center, “who will care for each other, and look out for each other as One People, One Nation, with one Destiny.”
Ten-Pow recalled Guyana becoming an Independence nation, on May 26, 1966, and reflected on how”‘far we have come as a nation and what challenges lie on the road ahead of us,” adding, “it is good that we have came together in an interfaith service. The religions represented here today, symbolize the diversity of our country,” noting, that the messages and teachings spoke of loving thy neighbor.
He emphasized, that loving thy neighbor must come without qualifications and conditions, “because we are all Guyanese whether we are living in Guyana, or in the diaspora.”
“We are one people, one nation, on a journey together to one destination, where we live harmoniously together, working together, as one people to make Guyana a better place, and one that we could be proud of. Our diversity enriches us, and makes us stronger,” said Ambassador Ten-Pow.
The evening of camaraderie and unity, a change from the discord that had permeated the community, welcomed Hon. Barbara Atherly, Consul General to New York, who said that Guyana has come a mighty long way, and reminded nationals that “as faith leaders have united to encourage Guyanese to unite, she prays that the interfaith service would foster further unity for the betterment of the nation.”
She called on nationals to pursue unity at the national level, and in the diaspora in order to successfully combat all challenges that Guyana face, adding, “we will move forward as a united nation constantly reaffirming our motto: One People, One Nation, One Destiny,” noting that “Guyana’s symbols of nationhood are reminiscent of our history, our indigenous ancestry, slavery and indentureship.”
Atherly reflected on Guyana’s progress over the past fifty-plus, decades, and urged nationals to recommit to those ideals, pledge to work selflessly, and continue the journey towards further national progress.
A flag procession of former Guyana Defence Force and law enforcement personnel, faith leaders, a choir and diplomats, sang “Every Praise is to Our God,” that began the proceedings and, attended by New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud, Jeremiah Hyacinth, vice consul general of St. Lucia and Bernadette Ambrose, vice consul of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was riveted with spiritual healing.
Impassioned renditions of the national anthems of Guyana and America by baritone, Anthony Alleyne, brought together earnest hope of unity through Bishop Robin Dinnanauth’s blessings on the republic, and Sheik Mohammed Shaffieq’s message that called on God to bring peace, though the Muslim faith.
Hindu priest Acharya Arun Gossai in turn, prayed for President of Guyana, Brigadier David Granger and the opposition.
Sis. Sharleen Maison and Rev. Vernon H. Peters read from the New International Version Bible of Ephesians to heal and honor the nation of Guyana.
Young Imam Mansoor Khan, Yogendra Ram, Acharya Leila Gossai, also prayed wholeheartedly for unity and love in their messages.
Preeminent poet, Pastor James Richmond, reminded the audience of the tremendous contributions Guyanese continue to make around the world, and gave a message of exaltation.
The atrium of York College turned into a sanctuary of tranquility, aspiration, and harmony, under the expert lead of Emcee Ave Brewster-Haynes, and where Guyanese enjoyed the melodious voices of the Hart Sisters who sang “To God Be the Glory,” followed by the singing of “My Native Land.”
The talented Dasrat Brothers did a musical selection on harmonica and tabla, while flutist, Sasha Blackman, splendidly, performed “Amazing Grace.”
The interfaith service, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the UN and the Consulate General of Guyana, New York, and Friends of the Guyana Consulate Committee, represented Guyana’s rich cultural heritage.
Singing of the hymn “Let Us Cooperate” for Guyana’s children, followed by Guyanese folk songs and a reception, concluded the honor.
Heads of the Guyana Unity Movement, Guyana Independence Committee, Guyana Action Committee, Guyana Tri-State Alliance and Guyana Cultural Association, and others, attended.