Fitness, good health show our resilience – Min Sukhai
─ at Amerindian heritage walk
The blowing of the conch shell and bamboo horns, accompanied by drums by the Karao Culture Group – blended nicely with the Guyana Police Force Steel Orchestra, signalled the start of Amerindian Heritage Month Fitness walk 2022.
The event kicked off Sunday from the Umana Yana, as the morning sun rose, kissing the peak of this national monument’s thatched roof – capturing a poignant reminder of the resourcefulness of Guyana’s indigenous people.
Leading the fitness walk was Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, along with Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony. A 32-member contingent of Amerindian soldiers of the Guyana Defence Force was commanded by Major Ron Williams.
They were accompanied by other government officials, members of the diplomatic community, the 10 regional delegates of the Amerindian Heritage Pageant and a large cross-section of Guyanese fitness enthusiasts all decked out in white T-shirts and caps embroidered with the heritage month logo.
“What happened here today is that we are using this fitness walk to send an important message that in spite of the many challenges faced by our Amerindian people [ all across Guyana] – being involved in fitness and health, shows our Amerindian people resolve and resilience despite our challenges,” said Minister Sukhai.
With brisk steps to the throbbing music, the crowd made its way down Younge Street, onto Carifesta Avenue, Vlissengen Road, Thomas Lands, and finally – the approximately five-mile walk concluded with a 15-minute aerobic workout on the National Park tarmac to the jive of steel pans.
Dr Anthony in an invited comment said the walk is important especially now that so many non-communicable diseases exist.
“A day of fitness highlights the need for a fit lifestyle because our society have a significant level of comorbidity. Therefore, a fit lifestyle helps to eases the challenges that co-morbidity present to our population.”
September was declared Amerindian Heritage Month, in 1995 by former President Dr Cheddi Jagan, in honour of Guyana’s first Amerindian Parliamentarian Stephen Campbell, who on September 10, 1957 became a member of Parliament, and honouring the contributions of Guyana’s first people.
The PPP/C also piloted the historic Amerindian Act of 2006.