Guyanese today will celebrate 47 years since our beautiful country attained its Republican status. The birth of the Republic is celebrated with Mashramani, which is being observed this year under the theme “Celebration with Liberty, Dignity and Greater Unity”.
Mashramani may be an Amerindian word which translates to “Celebration after hard work,” but this is a period when Guyanese from all walks of life unite to showcase our rich culture, traditions, history and art forms.
This is done by engaging in festivities such as dancing in the streets accompanied by steel band and calypso music, costume competitions, float parades and masquerades bands.
Mashramani is a true Guyanese celebration and should remain as such. We need to focus more on preserving our own culture and traditions and less on adopting those of other countries.
There is no doubt that this is also a period when national pride is heightened, as houses, business places and Government buildings are beautifully decorated with the colours of the Golden Arrowhead and many national songs can be heard playing.
But Guyanese must not wait for a national event to exhibit national pride, since this should be exhibited all year round to the highest degree. We have come so far as a country and of this we must be proud.
We would not be celebrating today if it were not for the hard work of our ancestors who ensured that the country attained its Republican status. Their efforts must not go unrecognised and we must honour them by making every effort to ensure that Guyana continues on this development trajectory.
Moreover, we must take this time to also reflect on the fact that we are dealing with a multicultural society, which is a key aspect of social cohesion. This year also marks the Centennial anniversary of the abolition of Indian Indentureship in Guyana and we must also take time to honour the struggles and accomplishments of our Indian brothers and sisters who were affected by this.
This year’s theme for Mashramani should resonate with each and every Guyanese as we celebrate this milestone in our country’s history.
Guyana is a uniquely diverse country and we must as a people learn to embrace this diversity and use it to our advantage. We cannot have greater unity if we do not respect each other regardless of our differences. This includes age, gender, religious beliefs, geographic location, cultural beliefs, ableness and socio-economic backgrounds.
As a people, we must use this celebration to reaffirm our commitment towards working together, in order to make Guyana the greatest country that she can be. Division will only prevent us from reaching to even greater heights.
The Ministry of Social Cohesion is here to play a supporting role as we strive to nurture individual and community relationships in building a unified country.
Our vision is a unified Guyana where diversities are embraced, conflicts resolved, networks and collaboration with stakeholders strengthened, equity promoted and decision making processes result in equal opportunities and benefits to all.
Can we as a country make this vision a reality? Yes we can! Let us live up to our motto of “One people, one Nation, One Destiny.”
Happy 47th Republican Anniversary and Happy Mashramani to all of Guyana