Guyana’s eighth Executive President David A. Granger told thousands of Guyanese who braved a heavy downpour in Georgetown, that they have a duty to actualize the vision of the nation’s founding fathers who fought to create a new state, adding, “we have a duty to continue the work they started.”
In his message to commemorate the country’s 49th Independence anniversary at the Independence Arch on Tuesday, May 26, Granger recalled Guyana’s freedom in 1966 after some 350 years of Dutch and British rule and noted, “Independence is not the work of one person or one party, it came as a result of a movement across the Caribbean.”
“We are assembled at this monument in solemn remembrance of the lives and labor of our heroes and to pay homage to the persons who were killed in the struggle for independence,” said the commander-in-chief who arrived with full military honors against the backdrop of the Square of the Revolution.
The retired brigadier urged Guyanese to unite and quoted Guyana’s first Prime Minister FS Burnham who said that independence is a means to an end, and change must be that end. “Change in society, in the economy, and the way Guyanese treat each other,” he said.
“Let us not dwell on the pains of the past but look within to the future, let us therefore, change our society, and change our country from hatred to love, to national unity,” said President Granger.
During the two-hour ceremony which included a 21-gun salute, the laying of eight wreaths, and the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead, Granger, who is called the president of all the people, felt loved and respected from the deafening applause he received during the honor guard in front of Brickdam, the oldest street in Georgetown.
The incessant raindrops did not prevent the military leader from walking through the crowd of citizens amid screams of ‘President Granger we love you,’ before he saluted the police force band which marched along Vlissingen Road ajacent to the Office of the President.
The morning, which was punctuated by the singing of patriotic songs and the recital of the pledge, was described as a moment of joy and jubilation in Guyana’s history.
The newly elected cabinet members along with foreign and local dignitaries witnessed the historic commemoration at the restored Independence Arch that was given to the citizens of Guyana from the Canadian Demerara Bauxite Company in 1966.
The leader, joined by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, laid a wreath at the base of the Independence Arch amid the pomp and ceremony which reverberated throughout the Republic.
Unity was seen everywhere as nationals relish in the glory of their country’s independence. Many cried, while others said they waited for this moment in time where they really feel free after years of oppression from the previous government.
After a break from the showers of blessings, Guyanese later arrived in droves at the National Stadium on the East Coast of Demerera, where a massive cultural presentation and the People’s Inauguration of the President was held.
More that 30,000 citizens who packed the stands were seen waving their flags in celebration after once again listening to their leader, who welcomed cabinet members on the stadium grounds.
A colorful fireworks display capped a spectacular end to the historic day of unity and pride.