Thu | Jul 18, 2024

Ali hails progress as country celebrates 58 years of Independence

Published:Monday | May 27, 2024 | 12:09 AM
President Irfaan Ali at the flag-raising ceremony to mark Guyana’s 58th Anniversary of Independence.
President Irfaan Ali at the flag-raising ceremony to mark Guyana’s 58th Anniversary of Independence.

GEORGETOWN (CMC)

Guyana celebrated its 58th Anniversary of Independence yesterday with President Irfaan Ali reflecting on the country’s progress in the last almost six decades and promising Guyanese of more improvements.

Addressing a flag raising ceremony to mark the anniversary on Saturday night, which was boycotted by the Opposition, he pointed out that the country is “delivering” to its citizens and keeping their dreams and aspirations alive, there is an increase in life expectancy and a drastic reduction in both child and maternal mortality rates, and regionally and internationally, the country is making is mark.

“Today, we live in a Guyana that is much different from our first Independence, a Guyana that is shaping her own way globally, a Guyana that is creating her own brand, a Guyana that is creating new opportunities, a Guyana that is re-energising itself as we work towards a singular goal of bringing all of us together under the umbrella of One Guyana, and bringing prosperity to every single home,” he told the thousands gathered at the Mackenzie Stadium in Linden.

Committing to further progress in years to come, Ali added, “We recommit ourselves on this occasion in building a Guyana that is resilient, a Guyana that is strong and sustainable, a Guyana that is competitive, and a Guyana in which the citizens of her country, the citizens of our country must and will enjoy the best healthcare services, education services, infrastructure and recreational facilities. This is the Guyana that we are creating.”

The eve of Independence was marked by several flag-raising ceremonies, across Guyana’s 10 regions.

The mining town of Linden in Region Ten was chosen for the country’s main celebration because of the significant transformation unfolding there.

A series of mega-projects have been undertaken to improve connectivity, business operations, and tourism, including the US$35 million Wismar to Mackenzie Bridge, the Linden to Mabura Road project, and the establishment of a new 1,000-home housing scheme.

Ali told residents at the flag-raising ceremony that their region has a key role in the development plans of the country.

“This region will be the transport and logistics hub between Brazil and the rest of the Caribbean and the rest of the region. All the investment that is taking place on the port side, the more than US$126 million investment in bauxite; more than 100 contractors from this region are involved in providing services for Bosai,” he said.

“We understand and believe in the potential of Region Ten.”

Guyana’s Independence saga is one of resilience and determination, as the nation struggled to break free from the shackles of the British empire. The seeds of freedom were sown with the establishment of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in 1905, under the leadership of former presidents Dr Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, who advocated for a new constitution and autonomy.

The party’s advocacy for self-government bore fruit with the adoption of a new constitution in 1953, despite facing resistance from the British government.

The suspension of the constitution in 1953 sparked controversy and division among the Guyanese people and led to the formation of the People’s National Congress (PNC) by Burnham. However, amidst political differences, both the PPP and PNC, along with the United Force (UF), continued to fight for the nation’s sovereignty.

Years of negotiations and grassroots activism led to formal discussions on Independence in 1960, eventually culminating in Guyana declaring its Independence on May 26, 1966.