National Day of Prayer: Religious community integral part of foundation for “One Guyana” – President Ali

…says a united Guyana will lead to prosperity

Churches, mosques, and temples are an integral part of the foundation for the “One Guyana” initiative, led by President Dr Irfaan Ali. This pronouncement was made on Friday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre as the Government of Guyana and its people observed the first-ever National Day of Fasting and Prayers with an interfaith meeting.

Two Miles Primary School in Bartica, Region Seven

In his address to the proud crowd of people from the three major religious groups in Guyana, President Ali said that churches, mosques, temples, and other religious bodies are the foundation that supports the “One Guyana” initiative. He noted that Guyana as a society must stand on these religious foundations to ensure that the country sees all the wealth that is to come.

President Dr Irfaan Ali along with Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips, Mignon Bowen-Phillips, Chancellor of Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir stand reverently during the National Day of Fasting and Prayers interfaith ceremony on Friday

“The foundation of principles that the One Guyana must stand on, the churches, the mosques, the temples, and the religious bodies must be an integral part on that foundation. Because fundamentally, the principles that govern a society that is just are the principles that governs religious undertaking,” the President explained.
The Head of State said that he is convinced that if the “One Guyana” initiative is to be built on a religious foundation that governs the Guyanese people, it will foster a better society.

Arapaima Primary School in Region Nine – National Day of Fasting and Prayer

“I am convinced that if our religious institutions ensure that the value system through which they operate uphold always the rule of law, uphold democratic principles, uphold equality, uphold tolerance, uphold peace, uphold patience and compassion; And that we do not waiver on these values, but we ensure that these values are fundamental to the foundation of what we share in our congregation, of what we share with the people under our charge, then our country will be stronger, our institutions will be stronger.”

Moreover, the President highlighted the importance of creating unity between the people of Guyana, one that promotes and encourages empowerment and the basic humanitarian act of building each other up. He pointed out that Guyana as a country will never be able of to achieve peace, even with all of its wealth and natural resources, if the people of the country cannot support and build each other up. This, he stated, is fundamental.
“Until we understand this, fundamentally, we can get all the wealth that God can bless us with, we can have all the natural resources, but we’ll never be able to have peace, we will never be able to prosper because we will be more worried about how we can get ahead of each other than how we can support each other and build each other up, that is fundamentally what is necessary.
“This period of fasting gives us that opportunity to seek each other out, to engage, pull each up, pray for each other, to support each other,” he said.
In this regard, the Tourism, Industry, and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Walrond in her brief address said that for Guyana to achieve peace, love, and harmony, we must first harness the culture of respect, love, and acceptance.
“For us to achieve this peace, love, and harmony, we have to develop and harness the culture of respect and love and acceptance, and as we do so, our realisation of this perfect “One” happens,” she said.
President Ali encouraged the Guyanese people to reflect on themselves during this period of fasting, to better their weaknesses, and aspire to change, to better themselves.
“In this period of fasting, we must take some time to reflect, reflect on our own sense of purpose, do our own self-evaluation, do some introspection, and don’t be afraid to call yourself out, in areas that you are weak, in areas that you should change, and areas that you should strengthen. And in that reflection, we must also renew. We must renew our self-worth, our dignity. We must renew our own self, within, to be better,” he advised.
The President shared that it is his hope that the people of Guyana are reawakened and reopened to a desire for peace and acceptance after the National Day of Fasting and Prayers.

Reawaken and reopen
“It is my hope that today reawake, and reopen a new desire among all of us, to see a country that is happier, a country that is more united, a country with greater respect for each other, and a country in which fundamental elements of the foundation and fabric that will guide us as a society and a country must give birth to the way in which we operate.”
The diverse, colourful interfaith religious event saw a turnout of Guyanese from Guyana’s three major religious denominations who wore their respected religious attire to partake in a nationwide day of fasting and prayers.
The crowd, seated on the lawn of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, cheered along to the presentations from President Ali, Minister Waldron, and religious leaders from all three religions.
Prayers and musical numbers were also delivered to the audience. After, the three religions parted ways as they went to specific sections of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre to break their fast.
The day of fasting and prayers was called as three significant religious observances are overlapping this month – Muslims are observing Ramadan, Hindus are observing Chaitra Navratri, and Christians are observing Lent.
This rare occurrence offers a meaningful opportunity for Guyanese from all religious persuasions to come together to pray for Guyana. (Shane Marks)