The Jubilee celebrations

This week, we asked the man and woman in the street about their preparations for the 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations and whether they will attend any of the planned events. Their comments follow:

Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens

Anthony Stephens, private sector employee – ‘This is the first time I actually saw people really participating in the Independence Day celebrations. A few

 Sean Trotz
Sean Trotz

years back, for Independence Day, some people were like putting up signs and flags and all these things. But really this year I see a difference because more businesses, more people, are interested in the anniversary and everything.’

 Sean Trotz, mechanic – ‘Jubilee is for celebration after going through the suffering. This is a time when we are supposed to be happy. Guyana as a third world country has been making a lot of strides in the production of the minerals so we should have a lot to be joyful for. I would tell everybody give thanks for life, and we are a beautiful country, lots of natural resources. And to the youths: put down the guns. If everybody could go and look to the earth, there would be a lot of blessings there for us. The events that are coming up, I’m not really a party guy. I would go to the flag raising. But the events like the partying and so on, I don’t think I have the time and the energy for that.’

Desiree Primo
Desiree Primo

Desiree Primo, newspaper vendor – ‘I should be going to the flag raising. I am not really interested in the other events. I’d be too tired to go out to any other occasion. I will have a chance when I finish selling the papers to go straight to the flag raising. Any other activities, I have to get somebody to go with. The

Michelle Sinclair
Michelle Sinclair

decorations are lovely. I can’t tell you anything bad. I like the wear, everything. The flag raising decorations, the buildings, everything.’

Michelle Sinclair, beauty salon owner – ‘I don’t see anything for businesses. Since the change of government, business get bad. It was kind of slow but not to this stage at all; it’s really bad.

We are not just looking for business for just independence, we’re looking for business all the time. If you’re not making any money as a business person, I personally wouldn’t take part in that. The decorations are good, the country is looking nice, it looks beautiful, but I’m not making money.’

Michael Small
Michael Small

Michael Small, policeman – ‘I think that being 50 years now since independence is something very great for the country. Seeing the changes that have happened over the past years, I think that as Guyanese we should all appreciate what the government is trying to do, like for instance the cleanup campaign, because I can’t recall when last Georgetown had a flood since. I think that everything that’s being done is for the benefit of all Guyanese, not just one and we all should come together and live as one people, one nation and one destiny. For me, I’m excited about the float parade on the 26th and seeing the colours of the different types of costumes and floats, the designers who put their creativity out there to make this event special. For the decorations, every corner you turn everybody is like, “oh gosh, every time you turn, a new

Camilla Leonard
Camilla Leonard

Guyana flag.” But for me, it represents who we are as Guyanese and I really like it.’

Camilla Leonard, overseas-based Guyanese (student) – ‘I haven’t been back in five years so I was coming back to see family and at the same time I heard about the 50th anniversary. So when I arrived at the airport, I think that the welcome and everything was very beautiful. I like the details, the colours, the waterfall at the airport—I just think it was well done. I think that the vibe is really good. A lot of people are afraid. A lot of friends of mine are like, they don’t want to come back because of the attacks on foreigners who are

Esan Jonas
Esan Jonas

coming just to have a good time, but at the end of the day I think the police right now, they’re doing a really good job at trying to lower the crime rate. Altogether I think it’s a good vibe. I’m here to have fun. I’ve been deciding on how many things I’m going to do. I keep trying to get everything done. I think lots more could have been done in the past 50 years but I think that the new presidency and the new leaders in the government, they’re trying their best to push forward for that and I think that they’ve done a lot for the one year they’ve been there so I’m grateful for that.’

Esan Jonas, private sector employee – ‘A lot of people seem to be placing their negativity towards the government towards the Independence, forgetting that

Alfaryia Khan
Alfaryia Khan

whether it’s their government that they would have chosen, we still would have had the Independence, so everybody should be happy that Guyana has reached this milestone. Furthermore, the other negativity that the people are placing regarding the money spent and so on, to me, I prefer not to look at that part, reason being that the government that’s currently in power has not had a full term to show exactly the direction where they’re headed. So I prefer all those who voted for them to allow them to have a term to show what they’re really about and then make a decision. For me I’m excited, but I think the Independence is not really the problem but how people view the current government, and that’s where most of the negativity is coming from. I’m not going to any of the events, and this is nothing against the government, this is me… I’ve never gone to any public event.’

Christine Richards
Christine Richards

Alfaryia Khan, private sector employee – ‘Guyana celebrating 50 years as an independent nation is a great achievement. We have come a far way but we need to look into the future to develop our country more, so the next 50 years would be years that we can be more proud of. I am happy to live to see Guyana celebrate 50 years and I love how everyone is making the celebration Guyanese. You know you walk around and you see different items branded with the 50th logo from the buses to music carts and the buildings are decorated with the colours of the flag it shows patriotism and celebration and I love that for Guyana. I just hope we can continue it after the celebrations are over and every Independence we can celebrate like this. I don’t know what events I will be going to as yet but I am planning to celebrate with my family.’

Christine Richards, cosmetologist – ‘The 50th celebration, I am excited about it. As a nation we came very far in getting technology to the best

Suresh Sugrim
Suresh Sugrim

equipment and gadgets available to everyone. We have made achievements in education and development of communities and living standards and I think we deserve to celebrate. I am excited about celebrating the 50th anniversary by viewing the float parade and going to the soca jouvert after the flag raising.’

Suresh Sugrim, humanitarian – ‘As a nation celebrating 50 years we still have a lot more to do. It is a momentum for everyone to celebrate but we need to look beyond the British and where we are going to go in the future. As a nation we still have lots to do; a lot to accomplish and a lot to focus on. The way things have been going currently we still need a lot of improvement but as we celebrate fifty we have a lot of room to rededicate, refocus and recommit ourselves to this country and its development.’

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