THIS year’s republic anniversary celebrations are likely to be very historic as Guyana turns 52.
There is likely to be the old familiar steel pan music and a hint of the traditional masqueraders mixed with Guyanese style Calypso and sweet soca tunes.
Also, this year will see Mashramani celebrations that are virtual and a few in-person celebrations due to the strict regulations governing the country, even though there is no COVID-19 curfew.
All in all, Guyanese will celebrate in small gatherings where good traditional food, conversations, and culture will be alive.
But 52 is not an easy year for Guyanese. It comes with much more focus on the forward movement of the “One Guyana” and “oneness pledge”. Though it does not replace our national pledge of “One People, One Nation, One Destiny,” the vision serves as a mantra to remember that all things are possible if we stick together as one. We must work together as a single unit regardless of race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, social status and political affiliation.
This oneness is integral to Guyana’s forward movement as a people and was reiterated by President Dr. Irfaan Ali to international, regional, and local leaders at the International Energy Conference and Exposition during the week-long activities.
Accomplishment of this vision, the President said, will see Guyana emerge stronger, resilient, and ready to take on the developmental challenges which lay waiting for us in the long-term.
President Ali stressed that the “One Guyana” vision could only flourish if there is political and social stability and national unity. He said there must be the building of trust, respect for the rule law, social cohesion and national prosperity. He sees Guyana being built up from the point of what it was in 2020 to a major player on the international scene in every sector, including finance, agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, small and medium scale enterprises, global warming and climate change.
Firstly, it is commendable that President Ali continues to push for “One Guyana” and his vision to be realised. It is also good to see so many organisations and high-level personnel finally understanding the vision as adumbrated by the President.
What has to be done now is that the A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change come on board and support his laudable vision of “One Guyana”. As long as the Coalition continues to operate like there are two types of Guyana, we are no way closer to realising that dream or vision that the President spoke of so eloquently. The Coalition continues to spread race-hate and division across the land using social media discussion forums, the National Assembly and other avenues available to them. The Cybercrime laws are proving as a means for the authorities to keep them and citizens in check but there needs to be an effective discussion forum separate and apart from the One Guyana Commission, to get at least their tacit support for his “oneness” initiative.
If the Coalition and parties are not going to come to the table, work out their political differences and put the country first, then the President must be bold and fervent in moving ahead with the initiative alone.
Secondly, at 52, Guyana is on the right trajectory to realising social stability as envisioned by the “One Guyana” vision because of the policies which are focused on “people” by the PPP-led Administration. It is an undisputed fact that people are living comfortably under the Ali Government when compared to what was obtained under the David Granger Administration in terms of health, wealth, jobs, education, welfare and industry. It is hoped that the various rights commissions, constitutional commissions and bodies will be activated under the framework of functioning democracy and Constitution. In anyways, Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has already gone on record giving a timeframe for this to happen.
The other issues such as unemployment, local content, and crime are being addressed.
Thirdly, it is hoped that President Ali will not put too much focus on achieving national unity as opposed to Oneness. It could be something that is easily confused. Besides, the country saw firsthand what a government of so-called National Unity would do if it had the power. There was no movement on inclusive democracy and healing much less reconciliation during the reign of the APNU+AFC Coalition. Similarly, there was disrespect shown to the Coalition partners namely the Working People’s Alliance and the Justice For All party. Let’s focus on the “One Guyana’ vision”.
Finally, at 52, Guyanese must reflect on who we are as a people and from whence we came. It is a remarkable opportunity to focus on where we are going as a republic within the large Caribbean region and further afield. We must stop and ponder on the things that make us Guyanese and different from the rest of the world. Similarly, we will have to think about the struggles we have endured on the way to achieving our republican status. We are zealous, intelligent, and resourceful people and a people destined for greatness!
Happy Republic Anniversary!