President David Granger: Guyanese, the independent State of Guyana assumed the title Cooperative Republic on this day, 48 years ago. The Republic severed vestigial constitutional bonds with the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Guyana became a free sovereign, no longer subject to external authority. The Republic vested sovereignty in our people. It charged Guyanese with exercising sovereignty by assuming responsibility for defending their motherland and developing the economy.
We, Guyanese, celebrate our 48th Republic Anniversary; happy, that our efforts to defend our homeland have not been in vain. We have lived under the shadow of threats to our territory since independence in 1966. Guyana moved closer to juridical settlement of the territorial controversy this year. The United Nations Secretary-General in January indicated his choice of the International Court of Justice as the means to resolve the controversy.
We, Guyanese, intend to pursue our case before the ICJ in coming months with the same determination as we rejected the unwarranted claim to our territory in past years. We are confident that our cause is just and our case is sound. We are committed to defending our motherland. Guyana’s Constitution stipulates that the State’s defence and security policy shall be to defend national independence, preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity and guarantee the normal functioning of institutions and the security of citizens against any armed aggression.
Our citizen’s safety is the State’s paramount objective. Our people must be safe in their homes, villages and places of work. Their property must be protected against crime. Guyana’s government is enhancing the delivery of services to its most distant communities, both on the coastland and in the hinterland, in good times and bad. Guyana’s government is augmenting its resources to render assistance to regional administrations and villages in times of flood, drought, threats to public order and other emergencies.
Guyana looks forward to the intensification of cooperation with friendly foreign states, especially in building capacity for the Defence Force’s technical corps, to improve the national infrastructure in every part of the country, to defend our territorial integrity, to protect our citizens and to respond to emergencies.
International cooperation is essential to preserving this continent as a Zone of Peace, to preventing and interdicting transnational threats such as drugs, guns and human trafficking, the spread of contagious diseases, terrorism and to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and natural hazards.
Guyana’s green grandeur must be protected; its grasslands, highlands, islands, wetlands, lakes, coastal mudflats, rainforests, rivers and waterfalls are wonderful, not a mere figment of citizens’ imagination. We Guyanese are proud of our country. Our national anthem sings of a land of rivers and plains, made rich by the sunshine and lush by the rains, set gem-like and fair between mountains and seas.
We Guyanese, in the exercise of our sovereignty are defending the Republic. We’re protecting our patrimony. We’re ensuring that future generations will be able to inherit this beautiful country, to live in peace and to enjoy the good life and prosperity which this beautiful country has to offer.
Guyanese, I extend greetings to you on the occasion of the 48th Anniversary of the Republic. Happy Republic Day! Happy Mashramani! May God bless the Republic.