President David Granger: Honourable Dr. Barton Scotland, Speaker of the National Assembly; Honourable Carl Greenidge, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Honourable Basil Williams, Minister of Legal Affairs; Honourable Amna Ally, Minister of Social Protection; Ministers of the Government, relatives of the late President, Mr. Forbes Burnham, Mr. Kamana Burnham, Members of the National Assembly, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.
We are assembled at this national shrine, the Forbes Burnham Masoluem, to celebrate the life, labour and legacy of the first Prime Minister and first Executive President of our republic. We recall Forbes Burnham’s courageous campaign to transform the backward colony of British Guiana when he entered office on the 14th of December 1964 up to his death on the 6th of August 1985.
Forbes Burnham describes his mission as and I quote “…a struggle against equality against poverty, unemployment, hunger and exploitation”. He launched a process of national transformtation to eliminate the inequalities associated with economic, geographic and demographic disparities.
Forbes Burnham’s policy of international transformation was based, in part, on providing easier access to public education. The institutions he established since sustained social change and the evidence of his monumental achievements is everywhere visible; visible in the University of Guyana campus at Turkyen; visible in the Cyril Potter campus at Turkyen; at the Cooperative Training College campus at Kuru Kuru; at the six multilateral secondary schools in five administrative regions; in the technical institute at New Amsterdam in East-Berbice Corentyne; in the first hinterland secondary schools at St Ignatius in the Rupununi; in the expansion of the number of Guyana scholarhsips and secondary schools; in the extension of free education an an entitlement; in the establishment of the national schools for art and dance; in the sponsorship for the Critchlow Labour College; in the establishment of the Teaching Service Commission; the introduction of changes in curriculum to production of local textbooks and so much more.
Forbes Burnham will always be remembered with reverence. We renew on this solemn commemmoration of his death, our collective commitment to continue his campaign against poverty, ignorance, unemployment, hunger and exploitation.
I thank you.