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Government set to “show off” at Independence Day activities

Left to right: Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport Alfred King and Independence Events spokesman, Bobby Vieria

by Zena Henry

The A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC)-led administration is setting for a grand display of activities as the country nears its 49th Independence Anniversary, and prepares for  the inauguration of His Excellency Retired Brigadier David A. Granger, Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces on May 26.

Spokesman for the planning team, Bobby Vieria says monies from the State’s coffers are not being used to finance the event.

Heads of Caribbean and South American nations, the diplomatic community, other dignitaries and citizens are invited to the event that will be held at the Independence Arch of 1966 located at the head of Brickdam. This is according to Vieria, who along with Permanent Secretary Alfred King, hosted a press conference at the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports May 19.

There will be three events with the Independence Day celebration commencing at 08:00 hours. There will be no flag raising at the National Park as is customary. May 26 will entail a military guard of honour and the customary general salute on the President’s arrival. That will be followed by other items, including prayers, recital of national pledge, and singing of the National Anthem and patriotic songs.

Most significant, Vieria said is the laying of eight wreaths to honour Independence heroes. These wreaths will be laid by representatives of selected groups such as women, political parties and Trade Unions.

 He said there will be a 21-gun salute, a two minute silence also. “It is a culmination of events of that the President feels are the best thing for him to start that day and the traditional hoisting of the National Flag.”

The inauguration ceremony at the National Stadium will commence at 15:00pm with a national show of local performances and by 16:00hours the second segment will commence with the arrival of the President.

The program is not yet completed, but some aspects include military guard of hounor and parachute shoot jumping. There will again be special invitees and regional leaders. The event will be televised nationally.

In the meantime, citizens are advised that the capacity of the National Stadium is estimated to hold some 16,000 which includes the ground space. It is there expected that the immediate encirclement will be closed off after the Stadium would have been filled. On the tarmac, a screen will be placed with seating facility provided for persons to see the event. A massive turnout is expected.

The last event will be a private one to be held at the Pegasus Hotel. This is catered to the President and his special guests.

Retired Coronel, Laurie London is heading the preparation of the events in collaboration with the Culture Ministry.

Outside of this citizens are urged of a renewed pride. Vieira said that while the government is moving toward restoring the city, he pleaded that citizens do their part. “We are hoping that nationals themselves, since there is this new pride, this whole new revival or whatever you want to call it, people themselves start within their own communities, their own lot…”

BK International, Cummings Electrical, Harris Paints were just a few of the agencies rendering free assistance in the government’s quest to restore city to it pristine nature. Vieira noted too that so far the government has received massive support and volunteering for the event and cannot say that tax dollars are involved. “Everything we are doing so far is on a voluntary or a contributory basis.”

The government is already buzzing over next year’s Independence celebration when Guyana turns 50.