Later this month, Guyana will be celebrating its Republican status, attained on February 23, 1970. It remains an indelible part of this country’s history, and each year, colourful celebrations and the ceremonial hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead are undertaken to remind everyone of Guyana’s struggle to become an independent nation, and later gaining Republican status.
This year, we are celebrating Mashramani under the theme “Celebrating Our Peoples and Our Prosperity”.
Except for the two years of interruption as a result of COVID-19, we have had spectacular children’s costume competitions, float parades, masquerade bands, and dancing in the streets to the accompaniment of steel pan music. This is in addition to the many calypso and chutney competitions that were held across the country.
We are very pleased to see that these competitions have already started countrywide.
All Guyanese should be excited and proud that our nation is celebrating 54 years as a Republic. As expected, many citizens are engaged in debates and discussions about the level of progress we have made as a country. No doubt, we would all agree that our development could have been further accelerated, had it not been for delays under the APNU/AFC Government. However, this should not cause us to lose sight of the many important achievements that were made over the past couple of decades or so.
Guyana is still a relatively young nation, and there is evidence that we have come a long way. Many of the developed countries took hundreds of years to achieve the level of development that they boast about, but this should not be an excuse for our leaders not to work hard enough to help our citizens achieve their dreams and aspirations. For example, while there remain many challenges, over the past couple of decades or so, there have been significant improvements in the delivery of education and health care, among other social services. The housing boom, which started under the PPP/C Government, is regarded as a model in the Caricom region. Years ago, owning a home was just a dream for many Guyanese; today this has become reality, as quite many new housing schemes are opened up and existing ones are expanded and upgraded. In essence, home ownership has been made much easier.
There is still a far way to go, and now that we have oil and gas wealth, this would propel our development even faster and further. Continued efforts must therefore be made by our leaders and other development partners to ensure that more persons are provided with opportunities to raise their standards of living. In this regard, the PPP/C Government must be commended for their renewed efforts at generating wealth and creating jobs for citizens. As this publication stated before, with oil revenues to provide financing and natural gas to supply cheap electricity for the next three decades, Guyana is poised, through the strategic developmental choices of the PPP, to finally move from Third World status to First World status. Therefore, our leaders from all sides of the political divide must know that our children’s future cannot be realised if they walk separately and in different directions. This year’s celebrations should remind us that Mashramani is the symbolism of our oneness. It represents the desire of people of all races to cooperate; to sing, dance and revel together.
When we became a Republic, our aspiration was to crown our Independence with the status of full and complete nationhood, and to make our people sovereign. Republicanism must therefore be viewed as a historic continuity of all that our ancestors stood for, struggled against, and hoped to achieve. It is hoped that every Guyanese, especially our leaders, would continue to pool their resources and talents, and work harder to further develop our communities and country as a whole.