GUYANA Celebrates its 55th Independence Anniversary at Umana Yana – 26th May 2021

 — President urges citizens to dream big

The Golden Arrowhead being hoisted.

– as Guyana marks its 55th Independence Anniversary with dreamlike celebration 

 “I urge each of you to dream big…your Government will support those dreams and help make them a reality.” These were the words of President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, as Guyana marked its 55th Independence Anniversary with a dreamlike celebration last evening in the vicinity of the Umana Yana located at the intersection of Young and High Streets, Georgetown.

In keeping with annual tradition, the Flag Raising Ceremony to commemorate the day Guyana gained Independence from its colonial master was held yesterday.       

Normally the ceremony would be held at the National Park and the stands would be filled with patriotic Guyanese cheering on the celebrations in unity. This year, however, there was a big difference. The venue was changed and because of the coronavirus pandemic, the cheering crowd was absent.

The only attendees were the VIP guests, media personnel, foreign diplomats, the performers, politicians from the current administration and the high ranking policemen who stood guard. One would think that probably the energy at this year’s celebration would be very low but instead for those present it turned out to be “dreamlike.”

The evening began with smooth, soft steel pan music played by the National Steel Orchestra. As the music started to pick up pace, the VIP guests began arriving one after the other and were escorted to their seats. Ministers of the various ministries began to arrive too. Some of them sat down in their respective seats, while others formed little groups to chat and laugh with each other.

Cameramen positioned themselves to get the best shot of the attendees. As it got close to 19:30 hrs, the MC of the programme, Michella Abraham-Ali, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Communications Network (NCN), signalled that it was time to begin.
After some brief opening remarks, the Guard of Honour March commenced. The drums rolled and in marched the Joint Services Band comprising of members from both the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). They were then followed by the Guard of Honour, which consisted of 46 ranks and a Commanding Officer.

After the March was completed, the Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips, arrived and approached the podium for the Prime Ministerial Salute. Not long after, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and President of Guyana, Irfaan Ali, arrived for the Presidential Salute. He was then invited to inspect the Guard of Honour.

President receiving the Presidential Salute.

This was only the beginning – as the President ascended to his seat there was a light drizzle that threatened the celebrations but within minutes it stopped. The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Charles Ramson, was tasked with introducing President Ali to make his maiden Independence Anniversary speech. For many present it was his speech that set the tone for the rest of the celebrations, making it a dreamlike one.

In his speech he urged citizens to dream big and promised that his administration will help make their dreams a reality. Ali spoke of establishing a new city from the coastal belt to spread Guyana’s population.

He said that Guyana fought for independence so that its citizens can have a quality life that they were deprived of and because of this he promised that all of the country’s financial resources would be used to improve the quality of life for all Guyanese.

Ali in his speech sought to motivate Guyanese to dream. He hinted that his Government is currently brainstorming mechanisms to reduce the cost of energy for both businesses and domestic users. He talked about reduced prices for houses and land in a new city and urged citizens to build new communities. The President explored a theme of connectivity to all parts of Guyana via roads, bridges telecommunications, air and river transport. He also spoke of his dream of Guyana having a knowledge-based society so that it can compete with the best in the world. Ali then ended his nearly 20-minute address by calling for citizens to unite and not divide themselves so that Guyana can become a powerful nation.

Following his speech, the Golden Arrowhead was hoisted. There was also a beautiful prayer by Rondeen Rebiero, a student of the St. Roses High School. Malkia Harris from the Bishop’s High School led the attendees in repeating the National Pledge. A National Song was then played and was followed-up by the National Anthem.

A glimpse of last night’s cultural performance.

Finally, the moment that blew minds and grasped the attention of the VIP guests began – the Cultural Presentation. The Joint Services Band (GDF/GPF) played a medley of songs and ended with bang by showing off their dance skills as they played the popular song, Jerusalema.

Everyone was on the edge of their seats and wanted more. The 20 top performers of The Guyana Talent Search performed a lip sync of their prerecorded performances and the dances that accompanied the songs by the various dance groups were breath taking. The dances were a combination of the Indian, African and Amerindian cultures seeking to display the diversity of the Guyanese culture and also to promote unity.

The costumes were colourful and the atmosphere resembled that of a carnival or Mashramani. The Ackufyaa group joined in and added a bit thrill to the performances; reporters were glued as the men danced with lit torches and blew fire into the air. Many were also amazed to watch a talented artist who painted the Guyana map in three minutes while the persons holding the white sheets were dancing.

As this was going on the sky began to come alive with the carnival colours of fireworks. Everyone was sky gazing and this reporter recalled his colleague just saying “Oh my god … oh my god, this is amazing. I never taught it would be so dreamlike.”

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  • brandli62  On 05/27/2021 at 5:04 am

    This looks indeed like it was a very nice ceremony honouring the Nation’s Independence Day! However was the opposition invited to attend the event, which would be in the spirit of “One people, One Nation, One Destiny”?

  • detow  On 05/28/2021 at 4:50 pm

    Is Guyana a dictatorship, and if not, why were members of the other political parties, large and small, not present? All(i) show and no sincerity. One people (PPP) one nation (PPP) one destiny (PPP domination). Now that the call has been put out for inland development let’s see who moves first. Any bets?

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