Arrival Day 2024: Build a future that embraces values of unity, diversity & inclusivity – Presi Ali

…says multiculturalism is a priceless asset

Underscoring the myriad contributions made by ancestors who came as immigrants to Guyana, President Dr Irfaan Ali has sounded a call for not only their sacrifices to be honoured, but also for citizens to build on their core values of unity, diversity, and inclusivity.
The Head of State made these remarks in his message to commemorate today’s observance of Arrival Day 2024.
This particular public holiday holds great significance in Guyana, as it commemorates the rich and varied tapestry of cultures that constitute the fabric of this country. Celebrated annually on May 5, Arrival Day coincides with the date when the first batch of Indian indentured servants arrived in the then British Guiana to work on sugar plantations.
However, Arrival Day is observed to celebrate the arrival and honour the contributions of other indentured immigrants – Chinese and Portuguese – as well. According to President Ali, Arrival Day recalls the waves of immigrants, including from the Caribbean, who came to this nation – the majority of whom stayed to forge new lives.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

Today, he said, the country celebrates their indomitable spirit and resilience while also paying tribute to the myriad contributions they and their descendants have made to Guyana.
“Their enduring legacy reminds us of the human capacity to overcome adversity and thrive in the face of challenges. As we honour their contributions and carry forth their legacy, let us reaffirm our commitment to building a future that honours their sacrifices and embraces the values of unity, diversity, and inclusivity,” the Guyanese Leader posited.
The Head of State went on to emphasize the importance of multiculturalism, which, he outlined, remains a priceless asset that enriches the collective human experience in Guyana.
“In an era where divisiveness and intolerance threaten to tear apart the social fabric of nations, highlighting and celebrating our multicultural diversity makes us stronger and more united. By celebrating the mosaic of cultures that coexist within our communities, we not only foster a sense of belonging and inclusion, but also lay the foundation for a more cohesive and harmonious society,” Ali noted.

Further, the President highlighted that, regardless of ethnicity, every Guyanese is an equal member of the human family, and that family is united by the shared aspirations for a better future. By embracing this fundamental truth, he said, citizens can transcend the artificial barriers and reject those forces that seek to divide them from being one people.
“By acknowledging the diverse histories and experiences that have shaped our society, we pay homage to the sacrifices and struggles of those who paved the way for us. As we mark Arrival Day 2024, let us recommit ourselves to the ideals of unity, diversity and inclusion. Let us celebrate the contributions of all our peoples, past and present, and strive to build a society where every individual can flourish and thrive,” he added.
The Guyanese Leader added that, “In the spirit of solidarity and mutual respect, let us forge a future where our differences are respected, and where the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood allow us to overcome the divisions of the past and the shenanigans of those who seek to manipulate these divisions for their own ulterior ends. Together, let us build a brighter tomorrow, guided by the enduring values of justice, equality and compassion that define us as a nation.”
President Ali’s renewed calls for unity and inclusion come on the heels of the divisive rhetoric arising out of his recent visit to Brooklyn, in New York City, last month. While the Guyanese diaspora warmly welcomed the Head of State into their businesses and arms, this sparked the ire of some in the diaspora, who have threatened these businesses with boycotts – which has been widely condemned, especially by the Ali-led Government and sections of civil society.
President Ali has stoutly defended members of the Guyanese diaspora, including businesses who welcomed him during his visit.
“It hurts me to know that people and an organisation that claims to love can be so divisive, can be so self-centred and selfish they can issue statements calling for the boycott of businesses and your economic well-being…How low can you get? If you have something against me, come after me with all that you have! Point all your guns and weapons to me. But leave the people out of this; do not seek to destroy the lives of ordinary people. Do not seek to separate our people,” President Ali had stated.
Nevertheless, in the wake of this divisive rhetoric, the Guyanese Leader has called on elected officials in the United States (US), some of whom have close ties to those spewing this divisiveness, to pay keen attention to the actions of these individuals and organisations. (G8)