The 47th Republican anniversary celebrations were ushered in Wednesday evening with several flag raising ceremonies across Guyana.
Region Six on Wednesday hosted the Flag-Raising Ceremony on the lawns of State House,
New Amsterdam with much pomp and flair. There was a variety of cultural items that sent the crowd in a frenzy; there were skits, dances and drumming among the top performances that entertained the crowd and the Minister of State Joseph Harmon.
However, there was one presentation that left an indelible mark and that was a brief speech by the Region Six Chairman, David Armogan.
Armogan in his charge to the huge gathering spoke of the economy and its downfalls. He highlighted that over the 47 years of Republican status Guyana has seen some improvement in the areas of health, social services, education and transportation but on the economic side he asked himself and those in attendance, “Have we been able to gain the level of economic independence since becoming a Republican nation?”
He answered himself,, “The answer is clearly no.”
According to the Chairman, “We still depend on primary production commodities to sustain our country, we have failed over the years to diversify our economy, the prices of major commodities that we produce here in this region which is rice and sugar are taking a beating. It is not easy for an economy that depends solely on these two things to survive”.
There is a decline being experienced because of the current prices of rice and sugar, Armogan said.
”Could you imagine if we are to close down the sugar industry today because it is not making a profit? Could you imagine if Skeldon is closed and Rose Hall is closed what will happen to Berbice economy?”
He stressed that places such as New Amsterdam, Skeldon and Rose Hall will experience a sloth in business because they depend on the sugar and rice workers. “All these places depend on those very workers who collect their wages and salaries and spend it in the shops and markets so that the economy revolves.”
It was also noted that having the industries set aside may cause some serious implications. With a major decline in the foreign exchange earners more pressure is expected to be put on the foreign currency. He added that there may be more work for the Guyana Police Force if so many are out of a job. These unemployed people may resort to a life of crime to earn a daily bread.
He pleaded with the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon. “On behalf of the people of this region I want to make the clarion call to ask Mr. Harmon and by extension, the Government of Guyana, to keep the rice and sugar industry going for the benefit of the people of this region.”
This call was welcomed by loud cheers and applause by those present. Armogan also made a request to the people, “We have to work together and build unity; we have to close the political divide. That is the only way we can develop our region and the only way we can develop Guyana”.
Minister Joseph Harmon in response to the outgoing Chairman’s plea said that “it is the intention of this government to ensure that the livelihood of every single Guyanese, the livelihood of the sugar workers, and the families are a priority. Whatever decision is made about the sugar and rice industry, I want to give that assurance, our people come first”.
The Minister underscored that National Unity is the key to a successful country and region. “We can only be a united people if in our country we understand and appreciate each other in all our diversity. It has to be on the basis of mutual respect, trust and common understanding. The basis of all this must be an appreciation of our respective histories including our struggles”.
There was the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead by members of the armed forces in the presence of the Mayor of New Amsterdam Kurt Wynter, Commander of B Division Ian Amsterdam, Regional Chairman David Armogan, Regional Executive Officer Kim Stephens, and other special attendees.
Patrons also experienced a march past executed by the armed forces.
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