– and Regrets by Alfen
Any full-blooded, fair-minded citizen of this Green Land who has made it past fifty-five or sixty-five would have to concede that Guyana has never been allowed to realise its full, powerful “potential” since 1953 to 1964 and 1964 through ’66, ’70, ’80 and 1992 to today. (Those years are significant)
Sorry to begin this weekly miniature feature with an element of negativity. But that is indicative of the “Blues” of my personal reflections as we observe or celebrate fifty years of Independence. The Gold- as in Golden Anniversary- will seek to enumerate what was positive, on a national scale, since May 26, 1966.
Views will be rendered in language and style ranging from serious to humorous, from sublime to restrained levity.
First some definitions: Anniversary- “the annual return of the date of a notable event”, Jubilee – “a fiftieth anniversary; a season or occasion for celebration”; Golden- “advanced years in a life time”. Fifty years of marriage, of course is a Golden Wedding Anniversary.
So in this short “series” I’ll share my memories of May 26, 1966- before and after; and register my eternal regrets at the relative failure of fifty years. The latter reflections are meant to influence both Government and citizen.
I begin today with this reminiscence: as a twenty something year old teacher on the West Bank of Demerara I had to learn, the words and music of the new national anthem “Dear Land of Guyana” in a hurry! Even as a male, not-so-good-singer, I had to assist our music teacher, Mrs Boodie, to teach hundreds of children that anthem in time for Independence Day. (I actually missed “God save the Queen”!)
I was in Teachers College in 1966 also. We all had to produce stunning scrapbooks with the brand new Golden Arrowhead five colours and other creative memorabilia.
We matured trainees were like the children we taught. Seized with this new concept of “Independence.” But what really was it? More on this to come.
A minor regret for me: that those beautiful, descriptive words of the new Anthem were not written by a “born Guyanese.”
Questions for you: Who authored the words of our Anthem? Who raised the Golden Arrowhead on “Independence night”? Who pulled down Britain’s Union Jack Flag? Answers next week.