I greet all Guyanese on the occasion of Arrival Day 2021. This special day is commemorated as a public holiday on May 5theach year. It celebrates the contributions to the national development of our African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese andEuropean ancestors and their descendants.

The declaration of May 5th as Arrival Day followed the passage on April 14th, 2003, in our National Assembly, of Resolution No. 12 of 2003.

Arrival Day is a day of recognition and appreciation of our nation’s multicultural character. Arrival Day challenges us to appreciate our diverse peoples and their cultures and encourages us to strive for a society in which the contributions of every ethnic group are recognized, respected and rewarded. 

It is towards that objective that I have committed to launching a One Guyana Commission. The Commission will become an instrument for valuing and respecting one another. As I indicated in my inaugural address to the National Assembly, theCommission’s work will be national in scope. It would involve engaging our citizenry about how every Guyanese can honour his or her ancestral heritage while fashioning our blended Guyanese civilization. I urge you all to be part of this important undertaking. 

Today, 5th May, also marks Indian Arrival Day. This year we are commemorating the 183rd anniversary of the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured immigrants to our shores. The contributions of Indians to national development are indelible and undisputable. Indians have excelled in all aspects of national life. They have also passed on a precious legacy, one which should be preserved for and transmitted to future generations. 

The Indians who came to Guyana, beginning in 1838,demonstrated steadfast resilience in the face of great adversity.They persevered in the face of hardships, deprivations,oppression, and back-breaking exertions. Today we can all be inspired by their sacrifices and resilience.

Today we are faced with challenges. But if we work together in unity and love, regardless of ethnicity, lineage, or political affiliation, we are bound to overcome these challenges. Let us, therefore, pool our ideas and resources and work towards eliminating some of the ills – such as suicide, domestic abuse, poverty, ignorance, substance abuse and the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these have the potential to inflict disaffection, discomfort, and distress in our society.  Let us also reject hate-filled, rancorous rhetoric aimed at dividing our people.

On this Arrival Day, let us all commit to pooling our efforts to build a stronger, united, freer, and more prosperous nation, one in which we can exult in the vitality of our various peoples and their cultures.

Today as we celebrate the arrival day, let us remember that we are stronger together.

Let us remember that every group that came did so for improvement, did so to have improved living conditions, did so so that successive generation will be better off.

We have an enormous opportunity today to leave a Guyana that will be incredibly better for the generation that will follow. We can only do this if we understand that collectively, in our collective strength, in our collective wisdom and the pooling together of our energies, it is only then that we can be the bestand become one Guyanese people. 

All of us face various degrees of adversities. But, at the end of it all, our ancestors taught us that with perseverance, patience,kindness, love, unity, and purpose, how much can be achieved. 

Today, we are blessed with tremendous natural resources. We have to go back to that inner strength of our ancestors to overcome all that will be thrown at us. That inner strength is what we need to build a unified coalition to improve the lives of each other and bring freedom to this land. That inner strength with our capacity and the opportunities that lie ahead when blended indeed can leave for this generation and generations to come enough that we can all say in a unified voice, we are proud to be part of this land.  

We are proud to be Guyanese, we are proud of our ancestors, and we are proud of all that they did to make our lives better. 

Thank you very much. 

God bless you, and please continue to stay safe.