President Donald Ramotar, addressing the culmination of the Diwali night motorcade at the LBI Community Centre, reminded the gathering of mainly Guyanese of East Indian descent about the attitude of the political opposition and urged them to triumph over evil in the spirit of the Hindu festive season.
“It is as you know, the victory of good over evil, the victory of light over darkness, the victory of knowledge of ignorance and these are all things that we have been working for,” President Ramotar was quoted by the Government Information Agency (GINA).
“In the face of a political opposition that has been reluctant to meet eye-to-eye with the government of numerous priority issues, President Ramotar said, “we stand solid in the faith that good will triumph over evil,” as told in the message of Diwali.
For its part, the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR)- the major partner in the parliamentary coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)- accused the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration of accelerating its confrontational approach towards the National Assembly. The PNCR said the PPPC was continuing to violate the fundamental tenets of Guyana’s parliamentary democracy, particularly its refusal to govern in accordance with the rule of law, and to recognize the law-making and oversight role of the National Assemblyrelative to the executive branch.
“The people of Guyana are seeing the light disappearing while a gathering storm looms on the horizon. The symbolism of the triumph of light over darkness now carries a powerful message for the Guyanese nation,” added the PNCR.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) hoped that the Festival of Lights to mark the return of Lord Rama after 14 years in exile would inspire Guyanese to combat corruption. “This year, as we light diyas and admired the light that shines brightly from such little lamps symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance let us all commit that our lives will be as lights shining forth to unmask evil, lawlessness and corruption.”
GINA reported that presence of Bollywood singer Jeffrey Iqbal in the lineup of artistes may have been a contributor to the large turnout which was evident long before the parade of floats started entering the ground.
Iqbal who first appeared at the Diwali Utsav one week ago at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) along with Gunjun Singh, staged similar performances in Essequibo and Berbice.
In his melodious voice, the American born artiste who was the final act performed a number of hit songs done by himself and other Bollywood artistes, much to the satisfaction of the audience.
President Ramotar turned up along with First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds to catch the performances, as the brightly lit Diwali floats made their way into the LBI ground.
Floats participated in the small and large category and were judged by a panel that included Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony and Philbert Gajadar among others.
Prior to the announcement of the winners, the judges explained the criteria used for awarding or deducting scores. Mishaps like the ones experienced on some floats where the generator failed, causing the lights to go out, cost some of the participants.
In the end, the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) was adjudged the overall best float. The news was met with loud cheers and the majority of members went up on stage to receive the trophy from President Ramotar and the First Lady.
The Better Hope Mandir copped the first prize for the large category while in the small float category, the Success Mandir came in first.
In the commercial category, the winning prize went to Edward B. Beharry and for the most creative, Rosignol Sanatan Dharma (small) and the Golden Om Mandir (large).
As a show of appreciation, the organising body for the annual event, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, handed out gifts to the first-time participants.
This year’s celebration was the first without the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s founder Reepu Daman Persaud who passed away . He was honoured along with the late President, Dr. Cheddi Jagan for their role in the struggle for democracy and the preservation of culture.