The People’s National Congress Reform, today, celebrates the 59th anniversary of its founding. Our Party recalls that Comrade Forbes Burnham, our founder-leader, together with Comrade Joseph Prayag Lachmansingh, our founder-chairman, established the People’s National Congress fifty-nine years ago on 5th October 1957.
Our Party celebrates, also, Guyana’s 50th anniversary of Independence which we gained on 26th May 1966 under the leadership of our Founder, Forbes Burnham.
President David Granger, who is also the Leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC) delivering his address to members and well wishers at the Partys’s 59th Anniversary Flag Raising ceremony earlier this morning.
Our Party, as part of a coalition administration, led the colony of British Guiana into nationhood. Guyana, under our Founder-leader and first Prime Minister, strove to satisfy the needs of our people by expanding public education; by improving public health and public security; by increasing the stock public housing; by introducing social protection through NIS; by enhancing social cohesion and by extending public infrastructure through bridges and highways and the delivery of public services to the people.
Our Party in government, under its second leader, Desmond Hoyte, paved a ‘green’ pathway for the nation in 1989 by entering into a covenant with the world to be an exemplar of ‘green’ growth. We made a gift to sustainable development and to the protection of the environment through a generous grant of 371,000 hectares of our pristine forests to be used as an international model for green development.
The Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (IICRCD) – located in the heart of our country and at the centre of the Guiana Shield – survives and thrives as a testament to Guyana’s commitment to a ‘green’ economy.
From left: Chairman of the PNC, Mr. Basil Williams, General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke, Vice Chairman, Ms. Volda Lawrence, President David Granger, Chief Whip and Assistant General Secretary, Ms. Amna Ally and Pastor Terrence Esseboom.
Our Party, today, is committed to support the Government’s goal to achieve a ‘green economy’. Our country, as a small, low-lying coastal state cannot ignore the consequences of climate change. Rising sea levels batter our sea walls. Extreme weather associated with climate change – causing prolonged droughts and floods – presents challenges to our country.
President Granger listens attentively as this elderly woman shares her concerns with him at the conclusion of the event, earlier this morning.
Guyana is an emergent ‘green state.’ Our natural assets, our commitment to sustainable development, our contribution to countering the adverse effects of climate change and our collaboration with the international community in seeking solutions to global threats will ensure a secure future for our people and our children in the pursuit of a ‘green’ economy.
Guyana, by the grace of God, stands at the centre of the Guiana Shield – one of the world’s last remaining spheres of virgin tropical rainforest. The Guiana Shield spans 2.7 million km², an area larger than Greenland. The Guiana Shield is an incomparable, international asset and we are in the middle of the Shield. Its varied ecosystems of rainforests, rivers, savannahs, swamps, mountains, waterfalls and wetlands support a plethora of rare and endemic floral and faunal species. It contains 15 per cent of the world’s freshwater reserves and is one the world’s most biologically rich and diverse regions.
A section of the gathering at the event this morning
Guyana, as a part of that Shield, is a net carbon sink. A green canopy of rainforest envelops more than 85 per cent of its land mass – the second highest percentage forest cover in the world:
Guyana’s forests and protected areas help the earth to breathe by sequestering more carbon than that is emitted by the country’s human activities; Guyana’s forests store carbon and restore the balance of oxygen and humidity in the air, providing vital environmental services to all humanity;
Guyana’s forests and savannahs shelter some of the world’s rare and endemic floral and faunal species; Guyana’s forests are the ‘green’ home of giants – including the world’s largest anacondas, ants, anteaters, armadillos, bats, caimans, eagles, fish, jaguars, manatees, monkeys, river otters, rodents, snakes, spiders, storks, toads, turtles and vultures.
We are proud of our country, we are proud of our mission.
Our Party, as part of a coalition administration with its partners – the AFC, GAP, JFAP, NFA and WPA – will continue to pursue a ‘green’ development path. Our parties, with the support of the majority of the population, have the duty to fulfill our mandate to maintain Guyana as the greenest, most beautiful, most bountiful country in the Caribbean. Our mission is to enable all Guyanese to enjoy ‘a good life’ which they deserve as citizens of a ‘green’ state.
May God bless the People’s National Congress Reform! May God bless the Guyanese people!