Independence anniversary affords a review of Guyana’s forward movement
“Forty six years ago the British Union Jack was lowered for the last time and the Golden Arrow Head rose for the first time over this land.
“ It was a very emotional time for many who were involved in the struggle for Independence and social progress. We recall two of the principal actors who were leading different parties, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham put aside their differences and embraced each other right on this tarmac.”
Those comments were made by President Donald Ramotar last night when he addressed the gathering at the National Park on the eve of Guyana’s 46th independence anniversary. He said that those early days were full of uncertainty “ that stemmed from the knowledge that we were beginning a new journey as a nation and a people who had varied origins in a land that we called home.
“ We were now in charge of our own destiny to build a country that would be strong and viable.”
He spoke of the struggles over the past 46 years; he recalled the labours of the ancestors. “They fought from liberation from bondage.”
President Ramotar, talking about the local economic situation, said that as a small developing nation, Guyana’s economy remains susceptible to market volatilities and especially today to the adverse effects of climate change.”
He said that Guyana has learnt some important lessons over the past forty six years. It has developed good relations with its neighbours and with other friendly states; it has deepened and expanded its participation in regional integration at the level of CARICOM and in wider “`hemispheric groupings.
“Over recent years, Guyana has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth. We have become the object of attention within the region. Our policies are being analyzed for the lessons they can hold for other countries. Foremost amongst those lessons has been the importance of macro-economic stability.
“Holding inflation in check amidst turbulence in commodity markets, stabilizing foreign exchange markets in a period of international financial volatility and reduced interest rates for lending have boosted investments and economic activities.
“Our traditional sectors have also served us well in the face of daunting exogenous shocks. Despite the challenges since independence, our traditional sectors have continued to bring benefits to our people: creating and sustaining employment, earning valuable foreign exchange and boosting output.”
He said that the educational system has also been a tremendous asset to us since independence allowing the nation to produce graduates that have distinguished themselves both at home and abroad. “We have to continue to improve the delivery of education and configure it to meet the growing demands of the new economy that we are building in an ever growing and competitive world.”
“Like our fore-parents did in the past for us we must provide for a better future for our children and grandchildren. At the level of the government, we intend to assure this future through the process of economic transformation.”
He said that at this time Guyana is pursuing a course that would take its development to greater heights. There is the search for oil, the construction of an all-weather road to Lethem undergoing, a move to bridge the Corentyne River and the construction for a deep water harbour.
President Ramotar told the nation, “Through the stringing of fiber optic cable from Brazil we intend to revolutionise bandwidth and internet services throughout our country.”
“The fiber optic cable will also facilitate our e-governance programme, allowing government services to be more easily available to all our people, wherever they may be.”
He spoke about the one laptop per family project which he said will ensure that no one will be left out of the process of keying Guyana into the digital world.