…as postage stamps, gold medallion unveiled for 50th Republic anniversary
THE Ministry of Public Telecommunications, through the Guyana Post Office in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources, launched and unveiled four new postage stamps and a valuable gold medallion to commemorate Guyana’s Republic Jubilee.
At the small, simple ceremony on Monday evening at the Umana Yana, President David Granger, who was accompanied by First Lady Sandra Granger, said Guyana’s 50th Republic anniversary is a defining moment in history. He said the attainment of Republican status allowed Guyana to consolidate and continue its quest for economic independence through economic diversification.
President Granger posited that commemorative coinage, stamps and medallions celebrate the nation’s heritage. They honour notable personalities, noteworthy events and important institutions. It is for this reason he sees it fitting to have a launch for the republic jubilee.
“The 50th anniversary commemorative stamp and medallion will remind future generations of this important milestone in the nation’s history,” Granger said.
He added that, “Postage stamps, before our digital revolution introduced e-mail and other electronic means of communication, were regarded as symbols of statehood. They are a means of reinforcing national identity by projecting a nation’s image and values. Stamps record a country’s heritage and history. They proclaim our beliefs and culture to the countries of the world.”
President Granger said too that gold and diamond mining has been traditional mainstays of the country’s economy, since the sector has helped to sustain economic growth, earn valuable foreign exchange, generated employment for more than 16, 500 persons annually and has been responsible for supporting the livelihoods of more than 100,000 Guyanese.
“The gold sector is an economic powerhouse. Gold mining accounts for 9.7 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. Gold is our largest foreign exchange earner. The commemorative medallion, which is being issued today, is made of gold –pure Guyanese gold– which was mined from the bowels of our country and minted finely to enhance its value,” Granger said.
Echoing similar sentiment, Minister of Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes shared the remarkable story of the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta, which was once a forgotten stamp from Guyana, but is now valued US$9.8M and is the most valuable stamp in the world.
This story, the minister said, is testimony to the deep-rooted, rich, and often times unexpected outcomes items and events can have on history.
Hughes said that Guyana is on the brink of an economic revolution, as the country moves unwaveringly into a promising future.
“We will no doubt face many challenges,” she added, “but also reap intense benefits. It is this moment that we must take time to be ever aware of our present, while reflecting and giving thanks for our past, and celebrating the exciting future that lies ahead.”
One stamp depicts the historic mace. This, the minister said, reminds us of our colonial origins, and it also depicts the mace prior to our Republican status and the new mace after. The other stamp has the Liza Destiny, and that symbolizes Guyana’s promising new future as an oil-producing nation.
The third stamp has imprinted on it the logo and theme for the 2020 Republic Anniversary, and the fourth stamp has the smiling faces of our people during mash celebrations.
“Even as the world moves increasingly towards digital communication, it is hoped that stamps will take on a more symbolic role. They undoubtedly will continue to contribute to shared sense of connectedness among the people of Guyana, and will go further to help our people to understand the significance of important events and persons that are reflected on our stamps over many years,” Hughes injected.
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman spoke extensively on the gold medallion.
He said that it represents the manifestation of an idea that evolved beyond expectations.
“As we step into our 50th year as a Republic, our natural resources, especially our gold, have made a monumental contribution towards the safety, health and happiness of Guyana and Guyanese, and remains relevant and indispensable to our overall growth and development as a nation. Mining in particular, has supported our economy for decades and therefore it is quite fitting that it finds a special place as we celebrate this momentous occasion in history,” Trotman said.
He added that it is important to highlight that the medallion is not a coin in its strict legal sense.
“And though it is 99.9% pure Guyana gold, and weighing 1 Troy ounce and valued at
$700,000 thousand Guyana dollars. It is not legal tender,” the minister said.
He noted that the medallion is meant to encapsulate three important objectives; to commemorate the auspicious occasion of the 50th anniversary, the second jubilee in the within five years; to establish the presence of Guyana Gold Board as a trader and marketer of gold and gold products; and most importantly, to establish a marker or memorial as Guyana transitions from one epoch of development into another.
Through a competitive selection process, the winning design of the medallion went to 21-year-old-Dillon Craig.
The design includes a stock of gold, a batel, a pick axe, the Guyana map, leaves, and a patch of land engraved on one side while the logo of the Guyana Gold Board is engraved on the other. The artwork is said to portray the growth of the mining industry through a Green State.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix also attended the event.