Screams and shouts of joy could be heard as the clock struck midnight at Lethem yesterday and the flag was hoisted.
GINA said that soldiers of the Guyana Defence Force, neatly dressed in their uniforms, stood at attention as Lt. Rohan Marshal hoisted the flag. The National Pledge was recited and the National Anthem sung.
Soldiers from neighbouring Brazil also joined in the celebration, GINA said.
Ambassador, George Wilfred Talbot, Guyana’s Ambassador to Brazil was also a part of the celebrations.
The flag raising ceremony began at 16:30 hours with a cultural programme.
Delivering the feature address at the ceremony, GINA said that Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, reflected on fifty years ago when Guyana became an independent nation. He quoted Guyana’s first Prime Minister, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham’s speech from that night stating, “Independence is not only an emotionally satisfying status, it is also the vehicle by means of which the people through their elected representatives can fashion their own destiny, can change the economic system which under the colony is oriented outwards to serve the interests of those outside. Independence is the means whereby we can change that emphasis, revamp our economy and make full use of the energies of our people in setting up a system where there are no rich men in their castles, no Lazaruses at their gates whose sores the dogs of poverty lick.”
Allicock said that the government intends to provide a range of services to Region Nine. “We shall continue to improve the physical infrastructure of the Region. We shall improve the justice system here as well… The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has already embarked upon the process of planning and costing with respect to a new dormitory specific to your needs…We have removed the political tentacles from the National Toshaos Council,” Allicock said.