President Jagdeo calls on Guyanese to apply pioneering spirit of indentured Indians

By Priya Nauth
PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has urged that Guyanese take heed of the lessons of their ancestors and apply their pioneering spirit to help move the country forward.

-The Head of State made this remark when he joined hundreds of Guyanese Sunday evening at the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha celebration at the National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara, to mark the 171st anniversary of the arrival of East Indians to Guyana

xWhen the Peoplexs Progressive Party (PPP) decided to make this a national holiday, we had in mind the celebration of the very important journey that various groups made to this land – not just that journey, but the sacrifices of our ancestors and the contributions that they have made to the development of this society,x he stated.

xAs we celebrate on Tuesday (May 5), I hope that in the glamour of this celebration and in these wonderful displays that we never forget the difficulty of that journey,x he said.

Taking note of the difficulties and hardship endured by East Indian indentured labourers, he noted, xxhow they were treated in xnear slave-like mannerx.x

xThey persevered through this all. They persevere because of that spirit they had, the pioneering spirit that they brought out of India, and they survived because of that spirit so we need to apply the same spirit in modern day conditions to move our country forward,x the President emphasised.

However, he urged, xWe also need to take strength from their sacrifice and this is more important to me than some of the celebratory activities that we have. As important as they are, because we are proud of our ancestry and where we came from – we should always be proud of that– but we need to take the heed, to pay more attention to lessons of our ancestors.x

He expressed the hope that there will be greater participation of all the different religious groups in these activities noting, xxnext year we will have greater participation from the Muslim Indians and the Christian Indians – they are also a part of this wonderful culture, the wonderful history of our ancestors and I wish that they recognise that more.x

xI know they have their own celebrations in many ways, but I wish to see a greater coming together of all the groups so we can really understand the true lesson of this very important journey,x the Head of State reiterated

xI hope that the young ones, especially the young ones, be taught those wonderful lessons,x President Jagdeo stressed.

Noting that the Ramleela is an important part of Hinduism, he stated, xIts revival in Guyana is something we should all be proud of and we should thank the Dharmic Sabha for doing this.x

xI hope that it goes all the way across the country so that the people living in Essequibo and those villages can see these wonderful performances, as well of those in Berbice and other parts in Guyana so that they can appreciate the preservation of this essential part of our culture,x he expressed.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony in brief remarks noting the significance of Arrival Day stated, xIt commemorates or celebrates the coming of our ancestors to Guyana.x

xThere were many people who came here as indentured labourers, including Indians, Portuguese, Chinese and indentured Africans, and all of these persons who came here – our ancestors by their sacrifice and struggles– have helped to make Guyana a better place,x he stated.

He went on, xBecause they came from different shores and so many continents, they brought with them their own unique culture that have made our country quite an exceptional place – a rich and diverse place and I think that richness and uniqueness is what makes us truly Guyanese.x

Among those present Sunday evening were Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh; Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran; and General Secretary of the PPP, Mr. Donald Ramotar.


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