Religious harmony, close and familial ties between the countries, and a bright oil-propelled future were the core points raised by speakers during the observance of Guyana’s golden jubilee anniversary as a republic, at The Cathedral Church of St Michael and All Angels.
Following attainment of political independence in 1966, Guyana went on to the status of a Cooperative Republic four years later, on 23 February, and in observance of this 50th anniversary, the Guyana Consulate arranged to have a service at the Cathedral.
“The nation has come a long way together, to overcome many challenges,” said Dean of the Cathedral, Reverend Dr Jeffrey Gibson, during his sermon.
The Dean who has strong familiarity with Guyanese, and whose Cathedral annually hosts that country’s independence service for nationals resident here, said, “Across the nation, people of faith have witnessed what is right, and what is considered to be moral… Religion, for a great number of people, has provided the strength and helped one to deal with the persistent struggles, or misfortunes which might have come up during the period. Religion can be a source of fashioning your future as indeed it has fashioned the past.”
He added, “The nation seems poised to embrace the future with renewed confidence, given the discovery of oil. I believe that religion could serve even further to help you to realise your fullest potential.”
With Guyana scheduled for national and regional elections on Monday, 02 March, Dean Gibson noted that the country has a number of religious faiths and advised they have a responsibility to vote and contribute to the shape of governance of their country.
“In a democracy, Christians and people of other faiths can confidently participate in the affairs of the state with a sense of divine compulsion… especially as citizens exercise their right to vote. And that right to vote should never be ignored, taken for granted, but should be exercised with due diligence and care.”
Minister in Barbados’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sandra Husbands said that among the features that make the relationship between the two countries special is, “a sustained pattern of cross migration that pre-dated the independence of both countries”.
She added, “The movement of people between Barbados and Guyana has created familial ties and witnessed the rise to national prominence of Barbadians in Guyana and Guyanese in Barbados.”
“Contrary to popular belief, migration flows between our countries has not always been from Guyana to Barbados. There was a time in our history when thousands of Barbadians migrated to Guyana in search of work and opportunities.” The Minister boasted of family members migrating to Guyana for work and making that country their home.
Guyana’s Consul General Cita Pilgrim said, “I take this opportunity to thank the Government and the people of Barbados for their unwavering support for the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana.”
Her remarks came against a backdrop of President David Granger awarding Prime Minister Mia Mottley an Honorary Member of the Order of Roraima, Guyana’s second highest national honour, presumably for Barbados’ steadfast support of Guyana in Venezuela’s claim to a significant part of the CARICOM nation.
Pilgrim, who was herself awarded a national honour for the republic anniversary, noted that the Venezuelan claim, which experts say has no credible basis, “has plagued our nation and stunted our economic development since its independence in 1966”. Pilgrim said Guyana expects that the claim “will be resolved peaceably by the International Court of Justice”.
“Guyana will submit its oral pleadings next month March 23rd as to why the International Court of Justice was properly vested with jurisdiction by the United Nations Secretary General for a final resolution.” (GA)