Guyana’s Golden Jubilee of Independence
Toast by Ms. Barbara Haley, Acting High Commissioner of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana on the occasion of Guyana’s 50th Anniversary of Independence
It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you this evening as we gather here in observance of Guyana’s Golden Jubilee of Independence.
On May 26 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Independence from Great Britain and the founding of Guyana as a sovereign democratic state. This year’s the national theme for our independence celebration is “Reflect, Celebrate, Inspire”.
Photo: Ms. Barbara Haley, Acting High Commissioner of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and Ambassador Carlos Fernandez de Cossio of Cuba cutting the celebration cake
Indeed, Guyana’s Golden Jubilee is a milestone worthy of celebration as it commemorates our diversity, culture, heritage and resilience over the journey of 50 years. As depicted by our unique logo, the majestic jaguar is roaring to the world a narrative of Guyana – the land of many waters; splendor and beauty; the land of many ethnicities. As we say in the words of our National Anthem that we are “united and free”; in the words of our motto, we are “one people, one nation, one destiny”
In our short history as an independent nation we have confronted many challenges to nation building. Successive administrations have however, never lost sight of our main goal to build a society based on equity and social justice and to provide the basic needs to each citizen. I am proud to say that notwithstanding the difficulties, significant advances have been made in several key sectors, such as agriculture, infrastructural development, housing, health and education. Guyana was among the countries that were recognized in 2013 by the Food and Agriculture Organization for having achieved the millennium development goal in the area of food security. We are however, aware that the road ahead is long and that the hurdles will be many but we are confident that with the cooperation of friendly and likeminded countries, like South Africa, that Guyana will stay the course.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our bilateral relations with South Africa have developed since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1994. The opening of the Guyana Mission in 2013 in Pretoria is a symbol of Guyana’s commitment to furthering our relations and developing our relations with the government and people of South Africa, and also with the wider African continent. The profile of our relations with South Africa was further enhanced with the high level visit to Georgetown of a South African delegation, headed by the Hon. Deputy Minister Landers, in June 2015. This meeting also paved the way for a more practical programme of cooperation between the two countries.
My fellow Guyanese, as we celebrate our 50 years of our Independence, let it be a time of reflection on the country we still call home. For those living in the Diaspora, ask yourself what special role you can play in promoting the friendship and increase trade and investment between Guyana and your adopted home. You are a bridge of friendship between both countries.
I am delighted to be able to share this special social occasion with you. It provides an opportunity for you to mingle, develop friendship and enjoy yourselves, as well as to infuse in yourself a sense of belonging. For those South African nationals with Guyanese connection – either by marriage, parentage etc. – I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you in the family of this great and beautiful land of Guyana. You are our in-laws - Welcome! Welcome!
I am encouraged by the solidarity and support which Caribbean nationals here have lend to Guyana’s activities. I therefore wish to extend warmest greetings to the nationals from Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname who are here with us this evening celebrating and lending their support.
In conclusion, I wish to extend heartfelt thanks to all of you who willingly offered your assistance and those who have worked so hard to help make the Guyana celebration in South Africa a success and to all of you who have blessed this occasion with your presence including the young people.
I now have the honour to invite all of you to raise your glass in a toast to the good health of the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana HE David Granger and the President of the Republic of South Africa HE Jacob Zuma, to the continued progress and prosperity of the people of Guyana and to the friendly relations between Guyana and South Africa.
Cheers, Thank You!