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|Guyana celebrates 46 years of nationhood|
|Saturday, 26 May 2012 23:16|
-- with pomp, splendour and an element of nostalgia
YESTERDAY, Guyana celebrated its 46th Independence Anniversary, and proceedings got underway with the traditional flag-raising ceremony, fireworks display, and a chockfull of cultural and ceremonial activities on Friday – the eve of Independence Day. It was a much-anticipated event, and all roads led to the National Park at Thomas Lands in Georgetown, as thousands of Guyanese from all walks of life wended their way to the cultural landmark, not only to join in celebration, but also to hear the signal address by President Donald Ramotar being delivered for the first time since his assumption of office.
President Ramotar was sworn-in as President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana six months ago, following national elections on November 28, 2011.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, absent from the event for probably the first time in 28 years, was out of the country on official business.
The programme, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, kicked off at 19:30 hrs with live music by the National Steel Orchestra and other entertainers in the likes of the Yoruba Singers; Charmaine Blackman; Lil’ J; Chutney Monarch Harresh Singh; and Calypso Monarch Roger Hinds in the initial segment.
Others on the list of crowd favourites were Adrian Dutchin and Jomo Primo (X2), and Junior Calypso Monarch Tennicia De Freitas. There was also a rich and classy instrumental duet (Violin/Steelpan) by Jovanka Williams and Prashanti Mendis.
Meanwhile, adding vibes and feeling to the performances was an energetic dance piece – a Nitryageet production - which did much to perk up the audience during that segment, as spectators continued trekking in.
At 21:00 hrs, paving the way for well-rehearsed and splendid ceremonial presentations by the Joint Services, the Guard of Honour did its ceremonial ‘Marching on’. More that 100 male and female ranks from the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force, smartly attired in ceremonial dress and operating under the baton or Major Robert Burns, who was ably assisted by drum major Corporal Dwayne London, marched onto the tarmac in crisp military style, to the great delight of the cheering spectators. The Police Band was directed by Assistant Commissioner Cecil Bovell.
The Guard of Honour comprised State and Regimental or Force Colours, 6 Officers and 102 other ranks drawn from the Joint Services. During a brief moment of following military commands, the ranks regaled the spectators, then took up their positions on the tarmac and awaited the imminent arrival of His Excellency, President Donald Ramotar.
His Excellency’s arrival caused the Guard of Honour to march forward under the command of Major Delbert George.
President Ramotar was greeted by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, and Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Commodore Gary Best, after which he proceeded to inspect the Guard of Honour.
Notably absent on this occasion was former Police Commissioner Henry Greene, who had consistently formed part of the presidential entourage on the tarmac over the last few years. Greene recently resigned as Commissioner of Police.
This segment was accompanied by a folk presentation done by the Yoruba Singers, and an entertaining cultural piece from the Guyana Police Force, featuring recruits of the Felix Austin Training School. The Region 10 Regional School Choir also rendered a patriotic song.
Then came the lusty and almost nostalgic singing of patriotic songs, such as ‘All Hail to Guyana’; and ‘Going up the Potaro’, bringing the curtain down on the second segment of the programme.
At 22:25 hrs, President Donald Ramotar was introduced by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, after which the President addressed the nation.
At the end of the President’s address, the Ministry of Culture’s grand cultural display took to the stage. More than 425 students participated, some as young as five years old. They spontaneously took to the stage, literally dancing and prancing. It was a delightfully entertaining dance performance, a masterpiece which showcased a brilliant fusion of the works of different dance groups and schools, including the National School of Dance, Indira and Indranie Shaw’s Dance Group; and hinterland students from Kuru Kuru under Director of the National School of Dance, Ms. Linda Griffith.
The theme of this segment was “Glimpses – Looking at Our Past, Present and our Future”, and pieces included music and dance, and the different dance styles developed over the years, such as Queh-Queh; Salsa, Soca; skipping as done by children, and Faithist dance movements. There were also intricate, creative displays, pieces using the colours of the national flag. Designing was done by teachers, choreographers, and other members of the committee putting the programme together.
Finally, bringing an end to the culture and entertainment component of the night’s programme, there was a hilarious Mass Band display by the Joint Services, which evidently stole the show and had the amused and appreciative crowd literally clamouring for more.
Then came the marching on of the Guard of Honour once more, and the Presidential Salute which ushered in the solemnest part of the programme -- the symbolic hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead by the Guyana Defence Force, followed by recital of the National Pledge; singing of patriotic songs, and the National Anthem.
The Golden Arrowhead was unfurled by flag ensign Lieutenant Dwighton Bess, assisted by Corporal Kevon Tappin. It was unfurled against a backdrop of the spontaneous sounding of the 21-gun salute by the 4 Engineer Battallion. Meanwhile, the reciting of the National Pledge was led by Denola Bristol, Grade 10 student of St. Rose’s High School.
The final item on the programme was the amazing fireworks display by the 21 Artillery Company of the Guyana Defence Force, led by Captain Gordon Nedd. The display showcased a colourful and scintillating array of beautiful designs discharged hundreds of feet up into the air, and seen from miles away.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 27 May 2012 00:08|
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