Georgetown, Guyana – (August 1, 2015) As President David Granger joined Berbicians to observe the 177th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, he called for a new covenant to be made on the pillars of, family, school, church and entrepreneurship.
The Head of State was accompanied by Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, Minister within the Ministry of Education, Ms Nicolette Henry and regional officials as he participated in Emancipation Day activities on Region 6, today. The President’s first stop was at Kildonan, where the #28 Bush Lot/Adventure in Action group gave him a grand welcome. He also made his way to Liverpool, where the Hogstye/Lancaster Ibo Group put on a cultural show. Over at Sandvoort village, the President enjoyed another another cultural programme.
In his Emancipation Day address to the residents of Berbice, the President urged residents to see emancipation day 2015 as “New Years day” and a day where a resolution is made to aid in the further development of families and ultimately the communities they live in. “Strong homes make strong communities, strong communities makes strong regions and strong regions make a strong country,” he said.
As President Granger called on citizens to look to the future, he noted the importance of learning from the lessons of their foreparents. These lessons, he pointed out, include the importance of keeping families together, raising a society with the fear and love of God, ensuring education and practicing entrepreneurship.
“You must free yourself. Don’t look to government for everything. You can do it because your foreparents were able to do it with less resources,” the President said.
Further, the President challenged the residents to play their role in building the nation, by ensuring that every school age child in their respective communities is in school. Referring to the old adage which says “it takes a community to raise a child”, the Head of State said citizens can pool resources to ensure that children in their communities have the basic necessities.
The Head of State also called on Berbicians and by extension all Guyanese, to play their role in fighting against the “four horsemen of the Guyanese apocalypse”. These, he said, are poverty, ignorance, diseases and crime.
President Granger said while it is necessary to reflect on the past, it is even more important to look to the future.
“We can talk all day about the past, about the history, about two hundred years of slavery and about the Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo revolts and the slaves who died but today let us think about the future and what emancipation means for us and the future of our children,” President Granger said.
Noting that the struggle endured by our foreparents, was not easy, President Granger said the freedom inherited now should not be taken for granted. “On May 11th you came out and said you wanted freedom and you must resolve that nobody will take away that freedom from you again,” the President said.
President Granger said history would show that it was emancipation that brought about the birth of Guyana as a nation with many people. He added, “Without emancipation we would not have a nation. I would like to say emancipation is the birth of a nation. It was because of emancipation the Indians, Chinese, Portuguese and Europeans came to our land.”
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings, who seemed quite impressed by the youth involvment in the cultural displays at each village, spoke of need to nurture the democracy that all Guyanese now enjoy.
“Our emancipation must be of mind body and soul. As one people of this land, we must nurture democracy,” the Minister noted. She assured residents that the Government will continue to do its part in ensuring that the “good life” is made available to all citizens as she called on all to play their role in nation building.
“We must cooperate. You citizens and villagers have an integral part to play. We are interconnected, tied to a garment of neutrality…and we must respect our differences,” Minister Cummings said.
Also on the occasion Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry, in her remarks, called on citizens to ponder on the true meaning of democracy.
“She added that one major form of slavery in modern day continues to be missed opportunities in the areas of education which most often results in poverty. Moving forward, Minister Henry stressed the need for all Guyanese to be fully emancipated and to truly enjoy economic independence.
Each event the President and his team attended was filled with rich cultural presentations, reflecting African traditions that are still alive in Guyana. From brief history of the different villages, to African drumming, dancing, singing, acrostics and fashion displays, each village showcased their talents.