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Guyana’s transition to independence on May 26, 1966 laid the foundation for a good life for all Guyanese, the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) said, however, it added that the COVID-19 pandemic together with the wanton dismissal of Guyanese have taken a toll on this year’s celebration.
“Independence celebrations this year will be restrained as a result of the huge death toll caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the damage to households caused by the unprecedented dismissal of public servants who are parents and the ominous resurgence of narcotics-trafficking, criminal violence and environmental degradation,” the PNC/R said in its Independence Day message.
As it joins the rest of Guyana in celebrating Guyana’s independence, the PNC/R said it was Forbes Burnham – the country’s first Prime Minister – who embarked on a transformative programme of renewal.
“His administration led public education enhancement including the construction of the Cyril Potter College of Education, University of Guyana campus and multilateral schools in coastal regions and public infrastructural development through the construction of the Timehri International Airport, Linden-Soesdyke Highway, coastal sea-defence and coastal road networks from Skeldon to Parika,” the PNC/R recalled.
It noted too that during the first decade of Independence, it contributed to social cohesion by ensuring that Islamic and Hindu holy festivals were observed as national holidays. PNC/R said it also worked to protect the rights of Indigenous people by establishing the Amerindian Lands Commission; and territorial defence with the establishment of the Guyana Defence Force. Further, it also contributed to regional integration by contributing to the establishment of the Caribbean Community and to housing development; hinterland development; youth development and much more.
“Guyana was able to make a good start as an independent nation despite emerging from the worst period of civil violence, economic bankruptcy and political turmoil. It became respected for its efforts at advancing the cause of the small, developing states, particularly in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific,” the PNC/R said.
As the pandemic takes a toll on the world, the PNC/R said Independence Day in Guyana reminds the nation, also, of its debt to doctors, nurses and other workers in the public health system who have been engaged continuously in protecting our people from the ravages of the pandemic.