PNCR CALLS FOR RENAMING OF ARRIVAL DAY TO INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY

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The PNCR extends best wishes to the entire Guyanese nation on the occasion of Arrival Day 2022. For this year’s observances, the PNCR has chosen the theme, “SAFEGUARDING AND BUILDING ON OUR RICH HERITAGE.”

May 5th has been designated as the special occasion when we pay homage to the arrival of Indentured workers to these shores regardless of their origin. It also marks the anniversary of the arrival of our East Indian ancestors on this day in 1838. The arrival of these various Guyanese ancestors has added to the multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural magnificence of Guyana. This rich diversity today is rooted and given unity in our shared experiences, shared goals, and shared destiny as One Nation.

The untiring efforts and enormous sacrifices of these ancestors have helped to build a nation that today we are proud to call home, that we are ready to represent and defend, and that we are willing to keep building.

True, much more work remains to be done as we today undertake, in the words of the preamble of Guyana’s constitution, “our collective quest for a perfect nation.” Arrival Day therefore should cause us to recommit to the charge in the very preamble to “safeguard and build on the rich heritage, won through tireless struggle, bequeathed us by our forebears.”

To strengthen national integration and social cohesion by according due respect and recognition to the various ethnic groups in our multicultural society, the former Leader of the PNCR and President of Guyana, David Granger, issued two public notices: (i) on February 27, 2017, he designated May 3rd each year as PORTUGUESE ARRIVAL DAY; and (ii) on January 6, 2017, he designated January 12th each year as CHINESE ARRIVAL DAY.

Given these changed circumstances surrounding the original purpose of Arrival Day – coupled with the fact that Guyanese of African and Amerindian origin have designated days or months to celebrate their distinct heritages – the PNCR hereby joins the call for the May 5th observances to be officially recognized henceforth as INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY.

Designating May 5th as INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY also respects the historic fact that the date specifically marks the arrival of the first Indian Indentured labourers to these shores. May 5th therefore should be wholly devoted to celebrating the valuable contribution that our East Indian brothers and sisters have made to the development of our country and the shaping of its rich cultural tapestry.

Separate Arrival Days for Guyanese of Indian, Portuguese, and Chinese descent; a Heritage Month for Guyanese of Amerindian descent; and Emancipation Day for Guyanese of African descent should all be seen as occasions to celebrate our distinct ethnic identities and cultural expressions, while at the same time embracing our unity in diversity, our mutual respect, our common understandings, and our shared destiny.

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