By Jarryl Bryan
The flag-raising ceremony for Guyana’s 53rd anniversary was held at D’Urban Park on Sunday, with several rounds of performances delivered by mostly students, members of the Youth Corps, Scouts and even the Guyana Police Force (GPF), before the giant Golden Arrowhead flag was hoisted by two youths.
The day’s activities began with the reciting of the National Anthem, followed by performances from students hailing from schools in Georgetown and beyond. One such performance was a troupe of students dressed as cowgirls dancing to ‘old west’ themed strains of music.
This performance also featured the iconic ‘mad cow’ dancer, who was ‘baited’ by a young matador. Next came an array of other dancers, who performed to songs from local artistes such as Vanilla. In fact, her “One Voice” track, which copped her the 2019 Road March crown, dominated proceedings.
Also performing was a group dressed in their Karategis, who carried out a series of complex karate moves using Kali sticks, to the delight of the crowd. There were also dances from a group of students using cricket bats to demonstrate classical batting strokes.
Secondary school students who participated in the flag-raising performances hailed from Queenstown Secondary, Brickdam Secondary, Tutorial Secondary, East Ruimveldt Secondary, Central High School, North Georgetown Secondary, Richard Ishmael Secondary, St Mary’s High School, Christ Church Secondary and North Ruimveldt Secondary.
Meanwhile, the Guyana National Cadet Corps students that marched through the heat of the morning came from Fort Wellington Secondary, Mackenzie High School, North Ruimveldt Secondary, Hope Secondary, Stewartville Secondary, and Berbice High School. Marching along with them were members of groups such as Master Guides, Girl Guides, and Pathfinders.
In previous years, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ranks hoisted the flag. This time around, however, two students – Malacai Flemming of Mackenzie High School and Demari Grant of Bishops’ High School – hoisted the 65×35-foot flag using a mechanical device. Chairing the events was Natoya Da Silva of St Joseph’s High School.
The event was not wrinkle-free, however, as one member of the marching Cadet Corps was taken off the D’Urban Park grounds in an ambulance that was on standby when she collapsed after the march past.
Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom on May 26, 1966 and became a republic on February 23, 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth. After the flag-raising ceremony ended, the signature event of the Guyana Carnival, now in its second year, began.