May 09, 2017 News
The Durban Park has been confirmed as the venue for the staging of the 2017
Independence Flag Raising on May 25.
According to Lt. Col Godfrey Bess, Director of National Events, who met with various stakeholders on Monday at Durban Park, the meeting was to assess and address where the necessary preparatory works will be undertaken and to charter a way forward to ensure the soundness of the venue to host the 51st Independence event.
The venue, the Ministry of Education explained, can accommodate in excess of 30,000 persons. The event that culminates with the hoisting of the flag and fireworks display was shifted from the Stabroek Square and the Parade ground because of the likely inclement weather, and to ensure that there would be no disruptions of normal life and business in that area, as there was much preparatory works to be completed.
As a result of the change of venue from the Stabroek Square, the proposed cultural show featuring the Carifesta entrees at the National Cultural Centre and all other flag raising related activities, will be hosted as part of the event at Durban Park.
This is in addition to the Regional flag raising events that will be hosted as planned and there would be ministerial representations in each of the ten administrative regions for the regional flag raising programmes. The stakeholders in attendance at Monday’s meeting included Georgetown Mayor and City Council, Ministry of the Presidency, Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ministry of Communities, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, The Department of Culture, Youth and Sport and the Guyana Fire Service.
According to Bess, the ultimate objective is to ensure that the event is grand and as inclusive as possible. He noted too, that it (the event) will be a showcase that includes Military, Para-Military and civilian involvement.
Recently, Minister Nicolette Henry met with several officials to discuss the arrangements.
At that meeting, it was revealed that a week of activities is planned from May 21 to May 27. The approach will see active participation from several ministries spearheaded by the Ministry of Education Department of Culture, Youth and Sport.
Director of Culture, Tamika Boatswain, while noting that cultural and other Independence events abound in all regions, stated that the mega culture-filled evening would celebrate Guyana’s ‘Past, Present and Future’ with specific focus on presenting the nation as an ‘Emerging Green State’ in keeping with President David Granger’s vision.
This cultural showcase will feature Guyana’s offerings to the upcoming Carifesta XIII slated for Barbados.
While other pre- and post activities are planned at the regional levels, Guyana will also be observing Youth Week which will coincide with the Independence observances. A plethora of youth related activities are scheduled to take place from May 21 and culminating on May 27.
The theme for Youth Week is, ‘Inspiring our youth, celebrating our achievements’.
Youth Director, Melissa Carmichael, at that meeting had reported that the events will target approximately 5000 Guyanese youth aged 14-35 and would feature events such as a Military/ Paramilitary Parade, an Interfaith Opening Concert, Youth Folk Exposition, a Career and training exposition, Youth expressions, and more.
Actively involved in the planning are officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Communities and Business with guidance from Lt. Col. Best, Director of National Events.
The Ministry of Communities will play a pivotal role in helping to make the 51st Independence Anniversary a most memorable one. A Housing Expo is also carded.
Another concept meeting will be held in a week’s time that will speak to subjects such as Agriculture, Business, Cottage Industry, a Farmer’s Market and sale of fresh produce as well as Youth Week, in addition to a Fine Arts exhibition.
Durban Park was initiated by the David Granger administration which took office in May 2015. Built out a swampy area behind the iconic 1763 Monument, the almost $1B project has been severely criticized by the Opposition as a waste of money.
It was reported that Government had been thinking of the Stabroek Square for the celebrations but there were widespread criticisms.
Last week, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon denied that Durban Park was a white elephant.
He noted that churches and other entities have been utilizing the venue for programs.
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