President David Granger said that the designation of specific days to recognise the contributions of the various ethnic groups, is a celebration of the plural character of the Guyanese nation and is intended to foster the overall objective of social cohesion.
A release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that the President was at the time speaking at a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Social Cohesion in observance of Portuguese Arrival Day 2018. The event was held at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church on Main Street.
“Social Cohesion recognises that Guyana is now, and always will be, multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Miscegenation is forever. Our diversity is an asset, not a liability. We are proud to belong to a society of many faiths. We are proud of the tapestry of ethnicity within our country… I took the initiative after 2015, to designate days, which celebrate the plural character of our nation, not to divide,” President Granger said.
He said that Portuguese immigration, which started 183 years ago, in 1835, occurred at a propitious time marked by the change of Guyanese society that occurred after emancipation of the enslaved Africans and the migration of other groups such as the Chinese, Indians, and Europeans.
“Portuguese enterprise and their establishment of institutions to advance social development and social responsibility ensured their integration into the Guyanese society. Migration and miscegenation have diminished their numbers but their contributions to the establishment of a plural society remain ineradicable. The Portuguese, within decades of their arrival, had moved from immigrants to citizens of our plural nation of Guyana,” President Granger said.
The release said that Honorary Consul for Portugal to Guyana, Michael Correia expressed his appreciation to President Granger for designating a day to commemorate the arrival of Portuguese so that Guyanese can recognise and celebrate their contributions to nation-building and economic growth.
“While we acknowledge our past and from where we came, let us also use occasions like this to recognise who we are as a nation and who we are as a people. Let us lay claim to our own identity that we are Guyanese first and foremost and together, we have a nation to build and a homeland to cherish,” Correia said.