first_imgOver the past few weeks the nation has been in preparatory mode for the highly-anticipated 48th Republic Anniversary, which was celebrated on February 23. As is customary, many events were staged across the country; in every Region, there were flag-raising ceremonies, costume parades for children and adults, and a gamut of local talent shows. The country was abuzz with activity and revelry. In addition to these activities, it is also a tradition for the museums and libraries to host lectures and exhibitions with the aim of evoking a sense of patriotism and understanding of the Republic celebrations. Indeed, it should be a time of reflection; Guyana attained republican status on February 23, 1970, some 48 years ago.Prior to the attainment of republican status, the country attained independence from Great Britain on May 26, 1966. These are significant milestones in the life of this country. More importantly, it provided us, as a nation, with an opportunity to reflect on the path we have traversed over these years as well as the pains and tribulations we experienced in the past. While the challenges are still formidable today, citizens should be reminded not to lose sight of the patriotism and resilience that brought us this far as a nation. Our leaders should also be reminded that it is their responsibility to foster a society in which there is peace, progress, prosperity and a sense of patriotism.We have witnessed the coming together of our people over the last few days with respect to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and when thousands gathered as the Golden Arrowhead was hoisted, commemorating yet another milestone in Guyana’s history. While the older generation of Guyanese were undoubtedly reflecting on the journey and struggles that led to this point, we should pause to consider what the younger folks were thinking of. Was there a feeling of deep patriotism or national loyalty? Were there reflections on the struggles of our foreparents? More importantly, did the pomp and ceremony ignite within them the deep-seated sense of national pride?Over the coming years, Guyanese at home and abroad will be preparing for the oil and gas sector. However, in the midst of preparations and the grand plans, the border controversy with Venezuela has gained new life. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil, and has since laid claim to the Essequibo region, which represents two thirds of Guyana’s territory. The United Nations recently announced that it would be sending the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a judicial settlement. Venezuela, however, has strongly rejected the move. In essence, the country’s sovereignty is under threat.Guyana’s Head of State, however, anticipates that Guyana’s successful defence of its territorial integrity will not only boost local development but investors’ confidence in Guyana, especially in light of the impending oil and gas production. The period ahead, therefore, will require maturity on the part of the two countries and the eventual acceptance of the ICJ’s decision.Through it all, the citizens of Guyana will also be called upon to hold firm to their patriotism and to be steadfast in their support for our sovereignty. While there will undoubtedly be many instances in the future for the citizenry to band together, Guyanese from all walks gathered on Sunday at the Seawall bandstand for the “IS WE OWN” concert, which was organised by the University of Guyana and which featured renowned Guyanese musician Dave Martins and his Band. It was indeed a rousing and proud moment to be in the midst of the crowd singing in unison to the lyrics of the song “Not a Blade of Grass”. It was a fitting culmination of this year’s Republic Anniversary celebrations and reminder of the need for a revival of the patriotism that lies within all of us.last_img

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