GUYANA: 56th Independence Day Anniversary – 2022: Messages from PPP/C and PNC

Messages from the two main political parties in Guyana on the 56th Anniversary of Independence

PPP/C: Moving forward with an agenda for transformation

THE People’s Progressive Party/C (PPP/C) extends to all Guyanese, at home and abroad, greetings on Guyana’s 56th independence anniversary.
On June 5, 1958, founder of the PPP/C and former president, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, posed an important question to the Legislative Council – What do the people of this country want in this phase of our history?

Today, 56 years following independence, this question has contemporary applicability, particularly, given the current global challenges that impact our nation, from the global COVID-19 pandemic to climate change.             

The people of the country answered this question at the March 2020 polls by endorsing the PPP/C’s “Plan for Prosperity.”

Under successive PPP/C administrations, the foundation for transformative change was laid and, in 2020, this agenda was broadened to include more ambitious targets in all sectors, specifically in education, healthcare and agriculture.

Our nation is moving forward with an agenda for transformation, bolstered by the success of our burgeoning oil and gas sector, which will benefit all our people by: increasing their ability to create wealth, improving their standard of living and wellbeing, and advancing their ability to pursue self-development through education among a plethora of other interventions.

From direct support to farmers and school-aged children, to building the infrastructure for future advancement, the PPP/C developmental agenda creates space for all of our people to benefit, participate and lead.
The PPP/C uses this occasion to not only celebrate our gains, but to also recommit itself to the service of all Guyanese in a transparent and accountable manner.

As we reflect on the struggles of the pre-independence era, Guyanese are encouraged to reflect on the gains we have made, bearing in mind that our collective will and effort are demanded to move our great nation forward and sustain our progress.

Looking ahead, in light of the prevailing challenges, our immediate task is to ensure that our democracy is bolstered. A democratic nation, where the will of our people can be freely expressed, is quintessential to ensuring our continued development, peace and progress.

Democracy has been, and remains, a pillar of our development. As our people demonstrated during the March 2020 period, the fight to protect our democratic gains is a perpetual effort.
This phase of Guyana’s history promises to be an exciting time for positive change and progress, even as our nation, under the PPP/C administration, reclaims its place as a regional and global leader on issues of food, security, climate change and more.

In 1958 freedom was the answer to the question – What do the people of this country want in this phase of our history? – and, this notion remains a poignant reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go as a people.

More recently, PPP/C General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, during country-wide outreaches, reiterated the importance of democracy to our freedoms and development and to the implementation of the party’s transformative agenda.

We are also reminded that the freedom that independence brings is not merely parochial; it comes with a responsibility for all patriotic-minded Guyanese to reject ploys that seek to divide our people for selfish gain; it comes with a responsibility for our people to hold all leaders accountable; and it comes with a responsibility for each of us to play our part in the prosperity of Guyana that we share as “One People, One Nation, with One Destiny.”

The PPP/C, again, extends best wishes to all our people on this momentous occasion.
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Opposition Leader: Let us together climb to a better Guyana – PNC

Norton: “Guyana and its riches belong to all Guyanese”

My fellow Guyanese, Happy Independence Day.
On the occasion of this the 56th anniversary of our Independence, I wish, on behalf of the Opposition and on my own behalf, to congratulate the people of Guyana for achieving another milestone.

As we contemplate where we are today as a nation, I find it appropriate to recall one of the solemn pledges we, the Guyanese people, have enshrined in the preamble of our constitution.
We have pledged to: “Forge a system of governance that promotes concerted effort and broad-based participation in national decision-making in order to develop a viable economy and a harmonious community based on democratic values, social justice, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law.”

Our nation has simply not lived up to the aspirations in our constitution. We can and must do better. We owe that much to the generation who fought for our Independence. Even more, we owe it to ourselves, to our children, and to the generations to come.

What do I mean when I say “we can and must do better”? How does our nation get there? First, as a people, we must believe in ourselves. We must believe in our creativity to envision a great nation. We must believe in our abilities to reach those great heights, in our strengths to overcome inevitable obstacles. And we must believe in our resolve and resilience to forge ahead relentlessly.

Second, we must build an unshakeable and shared understanding that Guyana and its riches belong to all Guyanese. No ethnicity, no group, no class, no citizen is superior to any other. All must be treated equally and respected. And all must share fairly and equitably in the national patrimony.

Third, we must strive for good governance as our fundamental human right. Accountability to the people is achievable and a must. Inclusivity in national decision-making is achievable and a must. Transparency is not a government bonus but a necessity and the people’s right, and so is the rule of law. So too is the effective management of the nation’s resources.

Fourth, to do better, the social and economic rights enshrined in our constitution and in the international conventions to which Guyana is a signatory must be seen not as merely aspirational, but as rights to be actually fulfilled and enjoyed by citizens.

Our constitutional rights, for example, to be free from want, hunger, and ignorance; and our right to work, to leisure, to good health, and to a safe environment must no longer exist only in words, they must be actually guaranteed fully—and urgently.

Fifth, we must move beyond lip service and give substance to building racial harmony in Guyana. We can and must take tangible steps to eliminate racial discrimination, to guarantee equality of opportunity for all, and to establish healthy inter-ethnic understandings and interactions.

Sixth, we can and must do better as a people to entrench our shared values, strengthen our sense of “One Destiny”, and rejuvenate our national pride.
My fellow Guyanese, despite the decades of challenges, the fact that we, as a nation, have travelled this far together is an achievement in itself. Fifty-six years is not a short journey.

Our survival speaks not only to our strong spirit and will power, it also speaks to our capacity to keep travelling forward. But we have arrived at a critical crossroad in our history where we are required not only to travel forward, but also to travel upward.

Upward towards a society and an economy in which we can end poverty, lift and expand the middle class, and ensure all citizens can live decently and comfortably. Upward where being classified as one of the world’s richest countries could translate into a better quality of life for the people of Guyana. Let us together climb to a better Guyana.

These are the thoughts that we need to ponder on this the 56th anniversary of that historic day in May 1966.
Once again, Happy Independence Day!
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