Within patriotism, there is space for the love of another land while retaining the umbilical cord connection with the place of one’s birth, and this is very much the case of Guyanese who have made Barbados their home.
Occasions of Guyana’s independence anniversaries often give Guyanese resident in Barbados and natives of this island opportunities to share remarks on the ties that bind the people of these two CARICOM countries that won political independence the same year, and Sunday was no different.
As Guyana observed its 53rd anniversary of political independence yesterday, scores of that country’s nationals gathered in the Cathedral Church of St Michael and All Angels where Dean, Reverend Jeffrey Gibson, and Consul General, Cita Pilgrim, looked at cross-border patriotism that allows persons to identify with the land of their residence while holding a connection to their birthplace.
“Patriotism is about love of country but it is also about ensuring that love of the country helps one to appreciate the fact that the country is part of the world,” said Dean Gibson during the midday sermon.
Exploring the ample room within the concept of patriotism, he said has “a great deal to do with how we identify and demonstrate how we love our country. For the love of country, we may adopt its belief systems and associated values. Whether philosophical or religious, their adoption lends themselves to the citizens to work together and be united.”
“In the process, one develops bonds with others and feel a sense of pride in the nation’s achievements through the years,” he said, adding, “We become identified with the country of our birth or the one in which we live.”
Guyana Consul General Pilgrim said that an occasion such as independence observance, “is a time when we feel an undeniable bond with the land where we were born. And yet, if we leave it for another, we grow to feel a similar bond… Both are forms of patriotism”.
In this regard, she spoke of umbilical patriotism as denoting a person’s ties to the land of birth, and patriotism by choice as that which ties emigrants to another country. “It is important to accept that neither is less worthy than the other,” she said.
Nonetheless, Pilgrim told the assembly that the Government of Guyana “looks towards its citizens abroad to help in the continued strengthening and improving its standing in your country of adoption”.
Turning to matters in Guyana, Pilgrim said that with the expectation of the country becoming an oil-producing nation by next year, “this is the most exciting time of our development”.
She noted that last year’s estimate of the country producing 500,000 barrels of oil per day in 2020 has now moved up to 750,000 barrels. Next year’s oil production is expected to build on a projected 4.6 per cent growth in the economy this year; that follows 4.1 per cent growth last year.
She said that the growth “is owed in part to increased construction activity as preparation for the new oil and gas sector is being undertaken. Our country will see progress such as our region never experienced before, and which will be fuelled by the development of the oil and gas industry,” the Consul General said as she noted that the important industries of agriculture and mining will continue to receive priority despite the expected oil-boom.
Pilgrim, however, said, “We are not without challenges. There is much need for skills in every area of endeavour and wide-ranging overseas [agencies] are looking at ways in which they can be part of the development.”
She pointed Guyanese to possible opportunities in the land of their birth, “This is the time when Guyanese may wish to examine their options as there is much to achieve and a bright future ahead.”