Guyana joined with countries around the world in remembering the men and women who served in the two World Wars as Remembrance Day was observed yesterday.
Various activities were held to commemorate the day and at a solemn ceremony at the Guyana Legion headquarters at Carifesta Avenue, President of the Legion, Hector Bunyan said that the effect of poverty was being felt by the now elderly veterans.
He told a gathering consisting of Acting Prime Minister Minister Clement Rohee, Heads of the Joint Services, British High Commissioner Fraser Wheeler, local veterans of the armed forces and other guests that health care was a concern for the association’s members and the elderly veterans spent a great portion of their small monthly incomes on this. Placing the veterans in different categories, including “old, old,” he said that if that classification were translated into financial terms then “old, old” would be “poor, poor” as well. He expressed appreciation to the various entities that had assisted the Legion in various ways.
Rohee in response revealed that President Bharrat Jagdeo’s contribution to the Legion this year would be raised from $100 000 to $125 000 and the donation from the Office of the Prime Minister would be increased from $75 000 to $100 000. Rohee appealed to charity organisations to make contributions to keep the organization alive since it could play an important role in helping to raise the nation to new heights. He said that at a time when there was a great need for discipline and “solidarity among our peoples is such a lost commodity,” the best contribution Guyanese could make was to keep traditions such as the Legion alive and strong.
Remarking that it was a “sad reflection” that when he opened the newspapers yesterday expecting to see some reference to the occasion he found none, Major General (Retired) Joseph Singh said that while educating the youth about history would be an uphill task it still needed to be done. He expressed the hope that sooner rather than later there would also be the commemoration of a Veterans’ Day.
His statement was greeted with applause from the veterans, proudly wearing their medals. The Guyana Police Force Choir and Band gave renditions for the occasion.
Meanwhile, earlier in the morning, President Bharrat Jagdeo, other government ministers, Opposition Leader Robert Corbin, Georgetown Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, members of the disciplined services, the scouts’ association, members of the diplomatic corps and veteran soldiers took part in the symbolic laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph.
A release from the Govern-ment Information Agency (GINA) stated that scores of Guyanese observed the event from beginning to end despite a heavy downpour during the course of the proceedings.
Jagdeo in his Remem-brance Day message was quoted by GINA as saying, “We are forever indebted to them for their supreme sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom. We also recall with gratitude those who, through the years, have made similar personal sacrifices in the continuing struggle for human dignity, social justice and freedom from all forms of oppression wherever these exist.” He added that “their example strengthens our resolve to maintain our efforts for a world at peace with justice and prosperity for all peoples