Guyana Politics: Time for another National “HUG” – by Francis Quamina Farrier

– by Francis Quamina Farrier

Do you recall when Guyana did a “HUG” so big that it almost stretched all around our 83,000 square miles? That was back in May 1996, as Guyana was celebrating our Thirtieth Anniversary of Independence.

By-the-Way, for those who do not know what this “HUG” I’m referring to is all about, let me explain. Some Patriotic Guyanese got this great idea, that for Guyana’s thirtieth Independence anniversary, we should all hold hands while standing along our Public roads, stretching from town to town, village to village, community to community – a sort of human chain called “HUG” – an acronym for “Hands Uniting Guyana”.

So let me pose this question; “Is it time for Guyana to have another National “HUG”? Let’s say either during Republic 2020 or Independence 2020?         

There is another follow-up question. Has that 1996 “HUG” been fruitful? Or have there been more “TUGS” than “HUGS” during the past twenty plus years since that first innovative and patriotic “HUG”? It was the occasion when most Guyanese saw the wisdom in extracting that line of advice from our National Motto, “To Love my Fellow Citizens”, and put it into practical action for everyone’s mutual benefit. As we Guyanese would say, “One han’ caaan clap”.

Guyana has already reached and passed its Golden Jubilee – FIFTY years as an Independent nation, which is really just like a baby in the scheme of the existence of nations. We know that there are some nations such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey, Greece and a few others which have been in existence for thousands of years. So for ‘baby’ Guyana, there is a lot to accomplish, especially in the area of political maturity. Guyanese also need to know that, as first class citizens of a sovereign Nation, they have certain basic rights which are enshrined in the National Constitution. However, let’s agree immediately that, at this juncture of our history, the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana needs an over-haul. That is not something to get all up-tight about. Many countries have had their national constitutions revamped or amended. The United States of America, for example, have quite a number of amendments, starting with the First Amendment, which gives citizens the right to “Freedom of Speech”.

At this time of Guyana’s fifty third year of independence, we have had many “hugs”, such as when the Nation comes together to celebrate our National Holidays. Then there are those occasions when we have had many “tugs”; such as the run-up to National General Elections, which tends to bring out some of the worst behavour in some of us. . But we could recall the many “HUGS”, both physical and mental. The many great moments, such as when the Golden Arrowhead was hoisted for the first time at the National Park in Georgetown on the night of May 25, 1966, and two of the country’s Founding Fathers, Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan, gave each other that historic, mighty HUG to thunderous applause by those who were fortunate to witness it.

Despite all the ‘Tugs” during the past 53 years, that HUG by Burnham and Jagan could be described as an indication of what this country will become sooner rather than later, as individuals and organizations and political parties come somewhat closer, for the National good, and genuine prosperity. That will be the time when every race group concludes that they alone does not have a monopoly to the country’s natural resources, at the exclusion of others. That a HUG will be the smarter act to do for “The Good Life” for everyone.

Burnham and Jagan had many deep disagreements of a political and ideological nature, but through it all, they were friends, according to many who knew them well, including Joey Jagan, who has been telling the stories of his father, Cheddi, and god-father, Forbes, and their dreams for a united and prosperous Guyana. It must be recalled when Jagan decided to give his political arch-rival, Burnham, what he termed, “Critical Support” – a sort of political ‘HUG’, if you will. Then there are other types of national ‘hugs’, such as the ‘HUG’ given by BANKS DIH Ltd to the Nation for the Jubilee Year Celebrations, with the gift of a $20 million new Independence Arch which was erected at Agricola on the East Bank Demerara Public Road.

It has been a tradition by the Guyanese parliamentarians to give each other a “hug” of sorts during the Tea Break at Parliament Sessions. They can be seen exchanging pleasantries on the balcony of the Parliament Building, before returning  to the Parliament Chambers.  However, as Guyana Celebrates Fifty three years of Independence, there is the aftermath of the No Confidence Vote and the boycott of Parliament by the Opposition.

Now, should that be classified as a ‘HUG’ or a ‘TUG’? HAPPY INDEPENDENCE everyone.

The G$20 million Jubilee Independence Arch which is located at Agricola, was donated to the Nation by BANKS DIH Ltd. (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

A Patriotic display on Brickdam in Georgetown by Dr. Don Gomes showing Presidents Burnham and Jagan and Queen Elizabeth ll. (Photo by F.Q. Farrier)

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  • essequibomusic  On 05/24/2019 at 8:37 am

    HI Francis many thanks for Keeping in touch with our positive thoughts. Peace Keith Waithe Flautist, Composer and Director

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