Address to the Nation by President David Granger on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Republic
The 50th Anniversary of the Republic is a celebration of an auspicious event in the history of the nation and a propitious moment for future generations! This Anniversary evokes emotions of pride and patriotism. There is satisfaction over the nation’s progress over the past fifty years and expectation over the prospects for the future.
The 50th Anniversary is an exciting and encouraging time for Guyanese who can look forward to a higher quality of life in the future. This Anniversary year marks, also, the dawn of the ‘Decade of Development: 2020-2029’ which will witness progress in every sector. We will emphasise, most particularly:
• educational achievement, assured by enabling every child to gain access to nursery, primary and secondary school and providing tuition-free education for eligible students at the University of Guyana;
• economic growth, enabled by incentives for agriculture, agro-processing, business, commerce, fishing, manufacturing and mining;
• energy security, strengthened by a robust institutional, legislative and regulatory framework for the management of the petroleum sector and the development of renewable energy sources;
• environmental protection, by preserving our ecosystems and biodiversity and implementing conservation, climate adaptation and mitigation measures;
• constitutional reform, by safeguarding human rights, promoting inclusionary democracy and emphasising broader political consultation;
• governance, by enhancing transparency and integrity in public office; by empowering women and youth and strengthening regional development;
• social cohesion, by ensuring greater respect for each other’s ethnic identities and cultural practices regardless of race, religion and region of residence;
• social protection, by eliminating extreme poverty and strengthening social safety measures for the aged, the homeless, the indigent and disabled;
• human safety, by intensifying law enforcement through action to suppress and reduce crime, protect human life and ensure public security;
• information technology, by establishing ICT centres of excellence in all capital towns to benefit young and enterprising citizens and by placing public services online;
• indigenous peoples’ development, by preserving their cultural identity and according recognition of their knowledge in protecting the environment;
• infrastructural improvement, by extending aerodromes, bridges, highway networks, stellings and ferry services and strengthening coastal sea defences; and
• international relations, by defending our territorial integrity, protecting our sovereignty, strengthening the Caribbean Community and supporting the United Nations’ role in preserving international peace and security.
We live in a country that is protecting its national patrimony – its coastland, grasslands, highlands, islands, wetlands, lakes, rainforests, rivers and waterfalls. These physical features, together with our magnificent fauna – animals, birds, fish, insects and reptiles – are wonderful natural assets.
We live in a country that is in transition to becoming a ‘green state’ which will place greater emphasis on the preservation of the environment and biodiversity, the promotion of the generation of energy from renewable sources and the implementation of measures for climate mitigation and adaptation.
We live in a country that is enjoying high levels of growth and human development and with accountable government and greater equality. Ours is one in which everyone will be able to enjoy equality before the law, education that is free, employment that is satisfying and an environment that is safe and healthy.
Statehood represented a substantive fulfilment of our people’s aspirations to chart their own destiny by refashioning their social and economic relations, introducing new national institutions, affirming sovereignty and advancing towards the goal of self-reliance. Statehood brought us to the realisation that the common good is greater than the sum of our individual interests. Our country has progressed over the past fifty years on the basis of this principle. It will continue along this path during the Decade ahead.
We celebrate the 50th Anniversary of becoming a Republic with a sense of satisfaction. Mashramani, the festival celebrating our Republican status, is an occasion for all Guyanese to set aside their differences and cooperate for the common good. We can work together to make this auspicious year an opportunity to place Guyana on an irreversible path to greater liberty, unity and prosperity.
I extend best wishes to every Guyanese for a happy Anniversary, one in which we will enjoy the bounty and benefits of the Decade of Development, the most exciting and exhilarating in our nation’s history.