Message of His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, on the occasion of Arrival Day

Arrival Day celebrates our diversity                                         

I extend Arrival Day greetings to all Guyanese. Arrival Day acknowledges the achievements of all those persons who came to Guyana and who, along with their descendants, have contributed to the collective effort to build our nation and agitate for its freedom.

Arrival Day celebrates Guyana’s multicultural heritage. The immigrants who arrived added to the country’s cultural diversity. Their cultural imprint is evident in their religions, festivals, folklores, dress, music, dance, food, values and traditions.

Many countries have struggled with the challenges of multiculturalism. Guyana, however, stands as a proud example of how persons from diverse ethnic backgrounds can- coexist in harmony, cooperate for the common good and respect one another. We must work to preserve this legacy.

The One Guyana initiative which I have launched is aimed at celebrating our diversity. It affirms that we are a multicultural society and aims at fostering greater mutual respect and cooperation amongst our peoples.

The 5th of May each year is also observed nationally as Indian Arrival Day. This year marks the 184th anniversary of the arrival, to our shores, of the first batch of Indian indentured immigrants. In the ensuing years, more than 240,000 Indians made the long and arduous journey by ship to the colony of British Guiana. Most remained and planted roots in our land.

Indian indentured immigrants transformed the human, physical, economic, social and cultural landscape of our country. Indian indentured immigrants helped to sustain the sugar industry, diversify economic activities and contributed to the struggle for freedom and improved living and working conditions. Their descendants continue to make indelible and positive contributions in all facets of national development.

Indian Arrival Day is thus of historical and national importance. On this, the occasion of Indian Arrival Day 2022, I applaud the enterprise, fortitude and resilience of our Indian community.  

On this Arrival Day, let us all move forward as a united country, mindful that each of our various peoples has a claim on national development, and an entitlement to share in the great bounty that the future promises. Let us commit to living as Brothers and Sisters in peace, harmony and goodwill knowing that in doing so we will be preserving and honouring the legacy of those who came and those who were here before them!

Happy Arrival Day!