…at flag-raising ceremony
By Frederick Halley
GUYANA’S Consul-General to Toronto, Anyin Choo, has urged Guyanese to take the opportunity of celebrating 50 years of Republican status to reflect on the sacrifices and the selflessness of our nation’s founding fathers “who displayed patriotism, resilience and unwavering commitment to severing our final official ties to colonial rule.”
Addressing an appreciative and diverse audience at Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary flag-raising ceremony and inter-faith service, held at the Scarborough Civic Centre in Toronto last Saturday, the consul general pointed out that “choice, and not chance, determined our destiny. It was the choice taken by our two political leaders, the choice to ser aside their differences and embrace each other for the common good of all Guyanese and for the future of Guyana and the attainment of Republican status.
Choo said the cooperative spirit is what is required more than ever today to consolidate and further advance Guyana’s development as a nation in an increasingly globalised world, “where we, as a nation, are faced with challenges to our territorial integrity, national security, economic development, trade liberalization and globalization, where the harsh reality is that one size does not fit all and climate change which threatens our very existence.”
According to the consul general, “as we face these challenges as a nation, we must recognise that we can only overcome them as a united people. As diverse as we are, our strength lies in our unity and our ability to achieve unity in diversity will be our greatest challenge as a nation going forward, and so I wish all Guyanese to let us embrace each other and work in unity to overcome the challenges that lie ahead as a nation, just as our founding fathers have taught us.”
Choo described the Guyanese in the diaspora as shining examples of what is possible with hard work and dedication. “Despite being away from home, you have continued to connect with that special Guyanese heritage and have given back to your country of birth.”
Choo alluded to the fact that “for a country with a population of less that one million people, Guyana has produced many world-class professionals who have excelled in their respective fields, including Sir Shridath Ramphal, the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth; Ambassador Patrick Gomes, current Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group; Catherine Pollard, the Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance at the United Nations, and the late Judge, Mohamed Shahabudeen, who served as arbiter in the International Criminal Court of Justice in The Hague. These are just a few examples of outstanding Guyanese who have achieved international recognition.”
The consul-general reminded the audience that this Republic celebration is special for Guyana. “It’s our 50th Golden Jubilee Republic Anniversary and it comes at a time when Guyana has just assumed chairmanship of the G77 Group at the United Nations and the Organisation of American States (OAS) Permanent Council and at a time when Guyana is actively participating in proceedings at the International Court of Justice, which will, in the end, bring about a definite judicial settlement on the territorial controversy with our western neighbour. It also comes at a time when Guyana is on the verge of an economic transformation, with the discovery of eight billion plus barrels of oil, which will bring us prosperity and further our social and economic progress.”
Urging Guyanese to live in unity, Choo said, “as we accept that we are diverse in our religious beliefs, culture, ethnicity and political affiliations, we should continue to aspire to live in unity and use our rich cultures and experiences as building blocks for the advancement of our society as we strive for excellence as One People, One Nation and One Destiny; united we stand, divided we fail…”
Among those in attendance were Jim Karygiannis, Councillor for Scarborough-Agincourt, who brought greetings on behalf of his constituency; Guyana-born Ashmeed Khan, Councillor for Ajax, who did likewise and Guyana-born Ingrid Berkely-Brown, Deputy Chief of Police for Peel Region.
Prayers were led by Patricia Rollox on behalf of the Christians, Dave Ramoutar (Hindus) and Shaykh Imran Ally (Muslim) while a medley of national songs was performed by The Ensemble Group of Guyanese singers.
Members of the Guyana Ex-Soldiers, led by president Gordon Winter, hoisted the Golden Arrowhead following which the audience recited the National Pledge.