By way of Executive Notices issued yesterday by President David Granger, January 12th has been designated Chinese Arrival Day, while March 13th has been named Rose Hall Martyrs’ Day.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency, in the first Executive Notice, the President stated that since January 12, 1853, when they first arrived, Chinese have made significant contributions to the growth and development of Guyana.
Noting that many of them were Christians fleeing persecution in their motherland, he said the Chinese integrated quickly into the prevailing Guyanese society and by the start of the 20th century had come to be regarded as earnest, law-abiding, industrious citizens.
“Their imprint could readily be seen in Guyanese cuisine and in their involvement in commerce as shopkeepers and businessmen,” he said. “It is hoped that Chinese Arrival Day will foster a greater appreciation for their history and contributions and further enrich the cosmopolitan nature of Guyana’s citizenry,” he added.
In the second Executive Notice, the President noted that the Colonial police killed 15 sugar workers on March 13th, 1913, at Plantation Rose Hall in Berbice. He said the workers had formed a group to protest against working on days that were awarded to them for a good sugarcane grinding season.
These martyrs, whose ages ranged from 21 to 75, were Badri, Bholay, Durga, Gafur, Jugai, Juggoo, Hulas, Lalji, Motey Khan, Nibur, Roopan, Sadulla, Sarjoo, Sohan and the only female, Gobindei. “Sugar workers participated in the development of the economy, the pillar of which was sugar. The slaying of the workers brought international attention to the system of Indentureship and its cruelty… On Rose Hall Martyrs’ Day it is hoped that the martyrs’ supreme sacrifice would remain an inspiration to Guyanese,” the president added.