President Ali urges Guyanese to be resolute in the protection of democracy, freedom

– At commemoration of bicentennial anniversary of Demerara Revolt

As Guyana commemorates the bicentennial of one of the ‘darkest and bloodiest’ events in our quest for freedom, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has called on Guyanese to be resolute in ensuring our democracy is strengthened, so that our freedom can never again be threatened.

The president was on Friday speaking at the commemorative ceremony to mark the bicentennial anniversary of the 1823 Demerara Revolt.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali delivering the feature address

“The sacrifices of those who fell during the revolt, contributed to our eventual liberation first from slavery and then from colonial rule,” President Ali stated.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali on his way to lay a wreath at the monument

The president reminded the gathering of the more than 200 African slaves who were slaughtered during the revolt.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips lays a wreath at the monument

He noted the restraint shown by the revolutionaries towards their colonial masters, but also highlighted the brutality meted out to slaves as a result of the revolt.

The new plaque unveiled at the monument

“A massacre unfolded at Bachelors Adventure, where the mostly defenseless Africans were ruthlessly gunned down, more than 200 Africans were slaughtered, their bodies sprawled in the cotton fields and on the roadside this slaughter ended the revolt.”

Members of the Diplomatic Corps in attendance

The head of state noted that the revolt and its brutal suppression reached the British parliament, eventually leading to the abolition of slavery in 1838.

Further, he stated that a grateful nation must never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom and that freedom must never be taken for granted.

Drummers from 592 Drum4life perform at the ceremony

“Freedom was not a privilege that was handed down, but it was earned through the blood, sweat and exertions of our ancestors, it is a freedom we must never take for granted and which we must zealously guard from the enemies within and outside of our borders.

A section of the gathering

“The protection and preservation of democracy must be a shield to safeguard our nation’s Freedom. Democracy is the vessel through which the voice of the people finds expression, the seeds of freedom flourish in the fertile soils of democracy, nurtured by respect for human rights and civil liberties, in turn the tree of freedom provides shade to democracy, supporting an environment in which diverse perspectives can thrive, dissent can be voiced without fear and the people’s choices are respected,” President Ali added.

The president also urged, especially young people who assembled at the monument, to appreciate the significance of the Demerara Revolt.

Commemorative coin, Stamp and a list of activities to mark the 1823 Demerara Revolt Bicentennial Anniversary, unveiled

“This monument must not be misused or abused by activities which take place in and around it, this monument stands as a memorial to those who gave their lives for our freedom and therefore the grounds on which it is situated are considered as hallowed,” President Ali said.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, ministers of government, officials and members of the disciplined services and diplomatic community were also in attendance.