Celebrating unity and pride, and sharing messages of love and togetherness, religious leaders joined Guyanese to commemorate the nation’s 53rd Anniversary of Independence at an Interfaith Service on Sunday, May 18 at York College in Queens.
“Love and unity is what binds us together as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, we are one family regardless of religion, we are all children of God,” said Pandita Kushmani Doobay, a Hindu priestess.
Hosted by Consul General of Guyana to New York, Barbara Atherly and Permanent Representative of Guyana to the UN, Rudolph M. Ten-Pow, Muslim, Imam Abdul Aziz Khan called for united.
“Let Guyana be united, and not divided, let us pray for patience and tolerance, for peace and stability, for our children, as we live in harmony, and love each.”
“Despite migrating to the United States, our hearts are with those who live in Guyana,” continued Imam Khan, who was born in Guyana and served in the military in the mining area of McKenzie-Linden, for which he prayed, and called on Allah to bless President David Granger, and all who are in authority.
Reverend Carl Stuart of the Christian faith, pastor of Ebenzer AME of Charlestown, Guyana, and Ministerial Staff at St. Matthew AME New Jersey, evoked the story of Nehemiah, saying it was applicable to Guyana’s history, and called on citizens to come together and take pride of “our homeland, uniting is what is dear to our land, as One People, One Nation and one Destiny.”
Like Nehemiah, Rev. Stuart called on Guyanese to build their nation to carry out their mission of strength. “We are called to come together and be united.”
“Let us cooperate for Guyana, Let us cooperate for the land, yes we can,” evoking Guyana’s patriotic song.
“‘Oh Beautiful Guyana,’ led by the Joycelyn Hunte and family mixed choir was a fitting tribute to the nation,” Atherly said, noting that Guyana gained Independence on May 26, 1966.
“The progress made by the Cooperative Republic of Guyana over the last five decades is a true reflection, of the determination of our people. Today, we celebrate and salute the sacrifices and efforts of our leaders and forefathers towards economic development and social cohesion.”
“Guyana is special because there are so many countries that strictly adhere to a single religion. In contrast, most Guyanese have had the blessing of growing up in an environment that taught us respect for all religions, so we can easily appreciate and adapt to varying religious situations when necessary, said the diplomat,” said the CG.
“I call on everyone present to continue living in unity as “One People” in peace and harmony as “One Nation,” and as true patriots of “One Destiny.”
“Let us take this opportunity to reflect on our nation and the progress we have made transforming the country’s economic, social and political fate in religious co-existence. We have had many challenges, but we have approached these in a collective and unified spirit.”
“No hurdle can withstand the strong resolve of our nation. Pride for country should not come after your country becomes great, your country becomes great because of pride in it,” said CG Atherly.
Yashokamini Seunarine & Friends, on Tabla, harmonica and vocal, and Matthew Campbell, on saxophone, entertained Guyanese, who were reminded, that 1953 was a very significant year in the history of struggle for independence, because the colonial government had suspended the constitution of the colony of British Guiana, imprisoned the leaders of that early struggle, and returned the colony to direct rule from London.
Ambassador Ten-Pow in his remarks, said, “the important lessons that we should draw from that dark period of our pre-independence history was that the struggle was led by Guyanese leaders representing both of our two main races, working together in a common cause — in 1966, we achieved our political independence.”
“Above all, let us recommit to work together in unity as one people, one nation, with one glorious destiny,” he said, before wishing nationals a happy anniversary.
Thanks to the Friends of the Consulate Committee, the Interfaith Service that began with a Flag Bearers’ presentation of ex-Armed Forces and dignitaries, Guyanese left with a feeling of spiritual upliftment, and pride in their country’s achievement.
Thanks, also, to Mistress of Ceremonies, Veronica Hossein for her engaging duties, Lady Ira Lewis, who presented a Resolutions from NJ State District 34 Assemblywoman, Britnee N. Timberlake, and Angela Chambers, who presented a citation from office of Brooklyn Attorney General, Eric Gonzalez.
Barbara Atherly and Rudolph M. Ten-Pow, accepted the certificates on behalf of their respective diplomat office.