President David Granger and First Lady, Sandra Granger this week joined Barbadians to celebrate that nation’s 50th An-niversary of In-dependence at three national events.
A release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that the Head of State attended the Toast to the Nation event held at the Barbados Defence Force Headquarters at St. Ann’s Fort, the Reveal of the 50th Anniversary of Independence National Monument at The Garrison Savannah and the Golden Anniversary Spectacular Mega Concert at Kensington Oval.
Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who welcomed the President and First Lady to the event, described the Guyanese Head of State as his friend and colleague and emphasised the 50-year-old bond between the two countries, the release said.
Speaking at the Toast to the Nation event, he said, “I am very pleased to have here… my friend and colleague, the distinguished President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. His presence here, this evening, is of great importance because Guyana in 1966, as well, on May 26 went into Independence and earlier this year itself celebrated its Golden Jubilee. I was there for that celebration and I am very pleased to welcome President Granger and Mrs. Granger here to Barbados. The warmth and the hospitality and the generosity of Guyana can be unbounded.”
The release said that later in the evening President Granger delivered a gift to the Barbadian people of a painting illustrating the national bird of Guyana, the Canje Pheasant, which was done by Guyanese artist, Merlene Ellis. The release said that the President also gifted Prime Minister Stuart with a Winslow Craig crafted, wooden sculpture called the ‘The Chief Witness to the Environment’. Reading the artist’s description of the work, Granger said “The visual imagery is derived from a combination of Indigenous Guyanese petroglyphs, patterns and weaving designs.”
Guyana played a role in the Barbados celebrations with the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) wowing the crowd gathered at the reveal of the National Monument event with a spectacular fireworks display, the release saud. GDF paratroopers, supported by the Air Corps were also to display their skill, at yesterday’s Independence parade at the Garrison, Savannah, which had to be rescheduled because of heavy rains. A total of 25 GDF members are participating in the Independence activities.
Barbadian National Hero and West Indian cricketing great, Sir Garfield Sobers, also met with President Granger following the Toast to the Nation event, the release added. Prime Minister Stuart had earlier described Sir Garfield’s role in establishing Barbadian pride at the time of Independence. “While we were discussing Independence at Lancaster House in 1966, Sir Gary Sobers was on the playing fields of England making a statement on behalf of Barbados and the West Indies in the summer of that year. Needless to say, of course, the West Indies team triumphed in that 1966 series and Sir Garfield Sobers outperformed everybody else, both in the batting and bo-wling departments. So he made his own contribution to our confidence as a people in 1966 as we were making those tentative steps towards nationhood.”
The release said that Granger also used his time for a private meeting with Guyanese diplomat, Sir Shridath Ramphal.