James Richmond’s poem “The Golden Jubilee – One People One Nation One Destiny” was chosen by the Georgetown-based Golden Jubilee Anniversary Committee to a signature poem to honor the yearlong festivities leading up to May 26, the day Guyana became independent in 1966.
The award-winning poet’s verses, which will be published in historic journals, on memorabilia and performed by the thespian at the jubilee celebrations in New York and Guyana, evokes Guyana’s beautiful multicultural heritage, history and journey to 50 years of Independence. His poem in part reads:
“Leaping into a new day destined to be. Crucified, resurrected and set free. Reflect our journey born from captivity.
Burning through the gorge of the Potaro-light space, time and gravity.
Forging onward to heal as one in unity. Birth our Golden Jubilee. From slavery, Indentureship, Colonialism and struggles of pain confined and chained. Dark were the days, in holy and vain. Inhumane and black were the bellies of ships, swift were the whips.
Gone are the slave masters, be gone imperialist, be gone colonialists.”
Richmond, who penned the poem “Transcending the Vision” to honor Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, was inspired to write verses to commemorate his country’s patrimony because of his love of history.
“I like to record events in poetic form and when I realized Guyana was embarking on its 50th year Independence I thought it would be an honor to find the words to memorialize this occasion,” said the writer of more than 50 poems recorded on compact disk and in booklets.
“I phrased the Golden Jubilee as the third poem in a series of poems which continued the dialogue on the ‘Legend of Kaieteur’ by late Guyanese poet A.J. Seymour,” he said.
Richmond, who recites every poem with passion, added that the “Legend of Kaieteur” is well documented by the great poet A.J. Seymour, and one that cannot be emulated.
“My idea was to write words that would motivate Guyanese, while showcasing the greatness of the Guyanese culture, the county’s landscape, and the history of our great nation,” said Richmond.
Richmond thanked folklorist and author Allan Fenty, who he said promoted his work for many years, and who requested his poem be presented in video format and be sent to Guyana.
Since then, the poem has been posted on the Golden Jubilee Anniversary Committee website, and has been showcased on multi-media platforms.
“I am hoping that Guyanese recognize the importance of this poem for the pride it would bring us, and in so doing, broadcast it to the wider population in the world.”
With books of poetry titled “Reflections of Today” that was released in 1993, “Where the Pomeroon Meets,” published in 1993, and “On the Window of My Skin,” published in 2006, Richmond, who has been writing poetry for decades is proud of his accomplishments and contributions to his country.
“The Golden Jubilee — One People One Nation One Destiny,” which will be documented in history ends with: “High was the sun, strong was the stormy winds, and long was the walk. Undaunted, unbridled, unstoppable and free, embracing our glorious tomorrow and destiny. Happy Independence Anniversary and a blessed Golden Jubilee!!”