Georgetown, Guyana (February 17, 2020): President David Granger, this evening, attended the launch of the 50th Republic Anniversary Commemorative Stamp and Gold Medallion at a simple unveiling ceremony held at the Umana Yana, High Street, Kingston, Georgetown.
President Granger, who was accompanied by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, said the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is a defining moment in history. He said the attainment of Republican status allowed Guyana to consolidate and continue its quest for economic independence through economic diversification.
“The act of becoming a Republic allowed Guyana to exercise sovereignty over its own natural resources and to develop its own national symbols – including honours and awards – and, with them, our priceless national pride that is part of our ‘Guyaneseness,’ the President said.
President Granger said commemorative coinage, stamps and medallions celebrate the nation’s heritage. They honour notable personalities, noteworthy events and important institutions.
“Postage stamps, before our digital revolution introduced e-mail and other electronic means of communication, were regarded as symbols of statehood. They are a means of reinforcing national identity by projecting a nation’s image and the values. Stamps record a country’s heritage and history. They proclaim our beliefs and culture to the countries of the world,” the Head of State said.
The President said stamps are a storage of value, pointing to the case of the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta that was issued 16 years after the first ever stamp appeared in 1840 and today is considered the rarest stamp in the world with a value of US$9.5M.
“The issue of the commemorative stamp, this evening, as part of our Republic Anniversary observances is celebration of our tradition of achievement,” the President said.
President Granger said too that gold and diamond mining have been traditional mainstays of the country’s economy.
The sector has helped to sustain economic growth, earn valuable foreign exchange, generated employment for more than 16, 500 persons annually and has been responsible for supporting the livelihoods of more than 100,000 Guyanese.
“The gold sector is an economic powerhouse. Gold mining accounts for 9.7 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. Gold is our largest foreign exchange earner. The commemorative medallion which is being issued today is made of gold -pure Guyanese gold- which was mined from the bowels of our country and minted finely to enhance its value,” President Granger said.
The Head of State said the issuance of the commemorative medallion as part of the country’s Republic Anniversary observances is a celebration of Guyana’s tradition of economic diversification and achievement.
“The 50th Republic Anniversary is a celebration of the nation’s development and, particularly, the efforts which were made since 1970 to consolidate and accelerate the process of economic diversification. Postage stamps and gold coins have played a key role in Guyana’s development. It is therefore, fitting that the country’s 50th Republic Anniversary should be observed by the issuance of commemorative stamps and golden medallions,” the President said.
President Granger said the 50th anniversary commemorative stamp and medallion “will remind future generations of this important milestone in the nation’s history.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman said the unveiling of the gold medallion represents the manifestation of an idea that has evolved beyond expectations.
“I am humbled that as we step into our 50th year as a Republic, our natural resources, especially our gold has made a monumental contribution towards the safety, health and happiness…Guyanese and remains relevant and indispensable to our overall growth and development as a nation,” he said.
The Minister reminded that mining has supported Guyana’s economy for decades “and therefore it is quite fitting that it finds a special place as we celebrate this momentous occasion in our history. The medallion honours the indelible and undeniable contribution of mining and of men and women of our past and present generations towards Guyana’s development for over 100 years. This industry has cemented its place in the new era and the new Republic that we now seek to build,” he said.
The medallion is 99.9 per cent pure Guyana gold, weighs one Troy ounce and is currently valued at GY$700,000. It is not legal tender.
The design on the one side of the medallion was done by 21-year-old artist Mr. Delon Craig. The other side has the logo of the Guyana Gold Board.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Mrs. Catherine Hughes said Guyana is on the brink of an economic revolution as the country moves into a promising future.
“It is at this time that we must take time to be ever aware of our present while reflecting and giving thanks for our past and celebrating the exciting future that lies ahead,” said Minister Hughes.
The first stamp depicts the historic mace which reminds us of our colonial origins. The Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, the Liza Destiny is on the other stamp, which Minister Hughes said symbolises Guyana’s promising future as an oil producing nation.
“The smiling faces of our people during our Mashramani celebrations calls to mind the last 50 years as a Cooperative Republic and elements that produce our mining industry through sustainable practices are depicted on our medallion,” the Minister explained.
The Public Telecommunications Minister said she hopes that stamps will take on a more symbolic role as technology evolves. “They undoubtedly will continue to contribute to a shared sense of connectedness among the people of Guyana and will go further to help our people to understand the significance of important events and persons that are reflected on our stamps over many years,” Minister Hughes said.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix also attended the event.