Georgetown, Guyana – (August 6, 2015) President David Granger today paid tribute to the Guyana’s first Executive President, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, O.E., S.C, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his death.
The ceremony was held at the Mausoleum at the Seven Ponds in the Botanical Gardens where his remains were laid to rest.
President Granger in his address said that, “Guyanese today are heirs of a rich legacy bequeathed by Forbes Burnham who is remembered as a counsellor, guide, leader and teacher particularly for his pioneering premiership, extraordinary and visionary leadership, astute statesmanship, and vigilant guardianship of Guyana.”
The President spoke of the insurmountable challenges that the late President was faced with, when he assumed Office in 1964 and his unwavering efforts to restore social cohesion, promote inclusion and to nurture national unity.
Passion for the arts and culture
The Head of State spoke of the many initiatives taken by Burnham aimed at building the spirit of nationhood amongst Guyana’s six peoples. These include: deepening cultural awareness and understanding and encouraging national art, dance, drama, literature and music. His passion for the arts and culture saw the construction of a national cultural centre, a facility that continues to serve Guyanese well.
Educating the nation
“We recall his keen commitment to educating the nation from nursery to university; to the construction of community high schools, hinterland schools, multilateral schools, the President’s College and the University of Guyana’s campus,” President Granger said.
Social and economic empowerment
President Burnham’s social protection programme for citizens, his massive housing plan, investments in physical infrastructure and his efforts to ensure food security by promoting the production of local commodities were all lauded by President Granger.
“We recall his economic empowerment of communities; his common commitment to the poor his profound belief in the equality of women, of ethnic groups and of social classes,” President Granger said.
Zero tolerance against foreign aggression
The late President was also fierce in his approach to protect the country’s national patrimony and territorial integrity against foreign aggression and internal rebellion.
President Granger said that, “we today wrestle against the same principalities, against the same powers which still seek to appropriate our national patrimony, our land, our sea and our resources…we renew our collective commitment to continue his life’s work to create a good life for all Guyanese.”
Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham served Prime Minister of Guyana from 1964 and as President from 1980 until the time of his death in 1985 at the age of 62. He was a lawyer, a politician, a fierce freedom fighter and a father of six children.