Independence is to be valued and safeguarded, according to President David Granger, who says it has laid the foundation for a society that will deliver a better life for the next generation.
In his message to mark the occasion of Guyana’s 52nd Independence Anniversary, President Granger reminded Guyanese that independence was not the result of a single event, but the culmination of 350 years of resistance, revolt and struggle against conquest, degradation, enslavement, indentureship and exploitation.
He stressed that the ancestors of all races fought against colonial rule and from their sacrifice their descendants benefit as noted in the words of the National Anthem, which state “We are born of their sacrifice, heirs of their pains….”
“Independence was the future for which our fore-parents fought but did not enjoy. Their struggle, inspired by workers’ agitation, embraced all social classes and gained political momentum with the introduction of constitutional change and the achievement of universal adult suffrage. Independence, once achieved, enabled the elimination of the worst forms of discrimination, the extension of universal primary and secondary education and the emergence of local economic enterprises, among other changes [and] Independence ushered in an era of national pride which has buoyed Guyanese society,” he explained.
According to the President, the features of Guyana’s independence struggle and victory have laid the foundation for a more inclusive and democratic society, which will guarantee the good life for the next generation.
Therefore, he argued, this anniversary is the best time to remember that children are “our future and we need to bequeath to them, much more than we inherited from our own parents.”
In keeping with this intention, he reiterated that the policy for universal primary and secondary education will ensure that every child has a place in school by improving attendance through the provision of buses, boats and bicycles, while reforms of the public education sector are designed to improve attainment at examinations.
Meanwhile, he said public infrastructure, with the construction of new aerodromes, bridges and highways and the extension of public utilities and services such as the supply of electricity, housing and water, will enhance the quality of life, and public health services, through neighbourhood clinics, local health centres and regional hospitals will improve child care, reduce the incidence of child mortality, non-communicable and vector-borne diseases among our growing population of children.
Finally, he said reintroduction of the National Cadet Corps, the National Youth Corps and the reform of the New Opportunity Corps have emphasised social development. Together, he added, they have enabled more children to attain their full potential while increased emphasis on arts, culture and sports will help children to enjoy a happier childhood.
“Guyana is a bountiful country. We are reminded, daily, about our potential. We are on the way to establishing a ‘green state’ in which the environment will be better protected, sustainable development of our natural resources will be pursued, cheaper and more abundant energy from renewable sources will be provided and the well-being of present and future generations will be assured,” Granger said.