In Guyana each year on May 5th (today) the contributions to the national development of our African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and European ancestors and their descendants are celebrated and as such this special day is commemorated as a public holiday.
The declaration of May 5th as Arrival Day followed the passage on April 14th, 2003, in our National Assembly, of Resolution No. 12 of 2003.
According to a statement from President Irfaan Ali, Arrival Day challenges us to appreciate our diverse peoples and their cultures and encourages us to strive for a society in which the contributions of every ethnic group are recognized, respected and rewarded.
“It is towards that objective that I have committed to launching a One Guyana Commission. The Commission will become an instrument for valuing and respecting one another. As I indicated in my inaugural address to the National Assembly, the Commission’s work will be national in scope. It would involve engaging our citizenry about how every Guyanese can honour his or her ancestral heritage while fashioning our blended Guyanese civilization.”
He urged that all Guyanese be part of this important undertaking and reminded that this special date also marks Indian Arrival Day in the country.
“This year we are commemorating the 183rd anniversary of the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured immigrants to our shores. The contributions of Indians to national development are indelible and undisputable. Indians have excelled in all aspects of national life.”
The President stated that Indians have also passed on a precious legacy, one which should be preserved for and transmitted to future generations and that those who came to Guyana, beginning in 1838, demonstrated steadfast resilience in the face of great adversity.
“They persevered in the face of hardships, deprivations, oppression, and back-breaking exertions. Today we can all be inspired by their sacrifices and resilience. Today we are faced with challenges. But if we work together in unity and love, regardless of ethnicity, lineage, or political affiliation, we are bound to overcome these challenges.”
As such, President Ali urged that everyone in the country , pool ideas and resources and work towards eliminating some of the ills – such as suicide, domestic abuse, poverty, ignorance, substance abuse and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reminded that all of those mentioned above have the potential to inflict disaffection, discomfort, and distress in society.
“Let us also reject hate-filled, rancorous rhetoric aimed at dividing our people. On this Arrival Day, let us all commit to pooling our efforts to build a stronger, united, freer, and more prosperous nation, one in which we can exult in the vitality of our various peoples and their cultures. Today as we celebrate the arrival day, let us remember that we are stronger together.”