Message of His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, for Arrival Day, 5th May 2023
I extend greetings to all Guyanese on the occasion of Arrival Day 2023.
Arrival Day is a celebration of the multicultural character of our nation. On this day, declared as a public holiday, we pay homage to our African, Asian, European and West Indian ancestors who together with our indigenous peoples laid the foundation of our country’s ethnic diversity, each contributing, in no small measure, to our country’s attainment of freedom and its development.
Multiculturalism – the product of the meeting of these worlds –allows us, as a nation, to benefit from the rich cultural heritage of our respective peoples. Guyana’s multiculturalism brings together the cultural traditions of Asia, Africa, Europe and the West Indies and in this process helping to forge a sense of oneness. These distinct and varied strands are being weaved into a singular, strong and unified national fabric, where differences are acknowledged, recognized and respected.
As I have alluded to before, the One Guyana agenda esteems the diversity from which our oneness springs. Under the One Guyana banner, none are more equal to any other, and none will be treated as superior to the other. One Guyana is about fashioning a more inclusive and equal Guyana where our people are bonded by shared values and common aspirations.
In this regard, Arrival Day reminds us that while our ancestors may have come in different ships, today we are all in the same vessel – this beautiful country called Guyana, blessed with warm, friendly and hospitable people and abundant resources. It is for us to work together, unshackled from divisiveness, so as to create the conditions that would yield a better life for ourselves and progeny.
Arrival Day also coincides with the celebration of Indian Arrival Day, the anniversary of the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured immigrants to our country. One hundred and eighty-five (185) years ago, Indians set foot on this soil, and in the ensuing years almost a quarter of million indentured immigrants would arrive, the majority of whom stayed and made this country their permanent homeland.
These indentured immigrants and their descendants have made an undeniable and unmistakable contribution to our country’s development and its struggles for national liberation and human dignity. Indians have been integral to our country’s quest for freedom, economic empowerment and its political, economic and social development. They have enriched and added to Guyana’s multicultural diversity.
Diversity must not become a spear of division. On this Arrival Day 2023, I beseech the people of Guyana to reject attempts, from whichever quarter, that are aimed to fostering prejudice, hatred, strife and division.
I urge all Guyanese, regardless of race, religion or class, to continue to work together to build a One Guyana.
Happy Arrival Day!