— vital to realise ambitions of Independent, Republic Guyana, says President Ali as he champions ‘One Guyana’ initiative
By Vishani Ragobeer
UNITY among Guyanese, where the country’s multiculturalism is celebrated and diversity is respected, is vital to realise the ambitions of Independent and Republic Guyana, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali has contended.
The President, in his message on the occasion of Guyana’s 51st Republic Anniversary, reminded that four years after Guyana gained political Independence, the country declared itself a Republic and assumed the title of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
“These two historical milestones – Independence and Republic status – form an unbroken continuum of our people’s struggles to lift themselves out of the state of want and deprivation, to exist as free men and women in an indivisible state and by working for the development of all,” he contended.
On February 23, 1970, Guyana became a Cooperative Republic and it was believed that Guyana’s national motto — ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny’– would become solidified. This motto, the President highlighted, is the “tripod upon which our Independent and Republican statehood rests”.
“The elements of our national motto commit us to the pursuit of unity; it affirms our sovereignty and shapes our ambitions,” he said.
According to him, the ‘One People’ acknowledges Guyana’s multiculturalism while promoting the common citizenship; the ‘One Nation’ signals the indivisibility of the State, whereby the national patrimony is defended, sovereignty is guarded and resources are prudently managed; and, the ‘One Destiny’ articulates the shared aspirations of living in a well-developed society.
During his inaugural address to Parliament recently, President Ali announced the formation of a ‘One Guyana Commission’ which will be tasked with fostering one nationality and a common love for country, celebrating the ‘oneness’ enunciated in the national motto. This, he explained, is part of the Government’s efforts to put an end to the division caused by race and politics and to create a path towards building a single Guyanese identity.
“The establishment of a One Guyana Commission attests to the inclusive approach which is necessary to realise the ambitions which we set ourselves both at Independence and upon becoming a Republic,” President Ali emphasised in his Republic Day address.
He also related that this Commission takes aim at excising vices of ethnic rancour, hatred and divisiveness while serving to break down barriers of mistrust, suspicion and stereotypes.
“The One Guyana Project will encourage respect for the immeasurable worth of every citizen regardless of his or her race, religious belief or class,” the Head-of-State also said, noting that the goal is to foster greater tolerance and understanding.
He noted that this Commission will be given legislative effect and it will facilitate efforts to cement Guyana’s society while respecting the diversity from which “oneness” springs.
While touting an inclusive approach to Guyana’s development, President Ali acknowledged the reality that Guyana’s 51st Republic Anniversary celebrations — the usual Mashramani observances — have been constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated health precautions.
He sought to provide some comfort to the nation by assuring that the pall of the pandemic would disappear and Guyana’s radiant, lively Republic celebrations would return.
“In the meantime, let us continue to celebrate our Republican anniversary in the best possible way – by working and living together in peace and harmony,” the Head-of-State stated.