Let’s celebrate our diversityIn his 51st Independence anniversary address to the nation, President David Granger said this occasion should inspire Guyanese to continue to work towards preserving the ‘free state,’ establishing a ‘green state’, and creating a ‘cohesive state’; while at the same time celebrating the country’s diversity and bridging its differences.President David GrangerHe noted that Independence Day in Guyana celebrates the moment in history when, after 350 years of Dutch and British colonisation, its peoples abolished foreign rule.“We established a ‘free state’ with the hope of ensuring equality and eradicating poverty. It was the day on which we adopted our own Constitution and erected institutions to govern ourselves and guarantee our freedom,” the President said.The Guyanese Head of State also said that Independence Day celebrates the unique combination of the people who came – Africans, Chinese, Indians and Portuguese – and with the Amerindians who lived here from time immemorial, contributed to the creation of a multi-racial and multi-religious state.President Granger noted that the ‘free state’ which was established on May 26th 1966 recognised the country’s commitment to social cohesion, through which its people learned to accept and respect each other’s values and beliefs, and to share the common space they call homeland.“The ‘free state’ is one that is free from discrimination. It is one that is built on the basis of respect for cultural diversity, political inclusivity and social equality.The ‘free state’ recognises our common and complex heritage. It reminds us of Chinese Arrival Day, celebrated on 12th January; of Portuguese Arrival Day, celebrated on 3rd May; of Indian Arrival Day, celebrated on 5th May; of African Emancipation Day, celebrated on 1st August; and of Indigenous Heritage Month, observed throughout September,” Granger noted.The Guyanese leader said the ‘free state’ re-commits the country to dismantling the divisions of geography. Disparities between hinterland and coastland and between rural and urban communities eventually must be eliminated, so that no group feels excluded, the Head of State has posited.Moreover, he noted that the ‘cohesive state’ is concerned with constructing a multi-cultural society and creating the conditions for diverse peoples to coexist.“Society needs to be strengthened in each occupational sector, in each geographical region, in each community, and in each social stratum. The ‘cohesive state’ is not a political expedient. It can be realised only by respecting the differences and the diversity of society, and by the removal of anger, hatred, ignorance and poverty. It can be created by mutual respect for each other’s cultural and religious differences,” he added.Granger noted that Guyana’s national tapestry is composed of the variegated threads – culture, ethnicity and faith – of its peoples. The national tapestry, he added, is stronger because it is woven from our separate but sturdy strands.He said, “It is more resilient, because it represents and reflects the talents of different groups.”On the other hand, the Head of State outlined that independence also bequeathed a state through which Guyanese became heirs of a magnificent patrimony; that is, a beautiful, blissful and bountiful country that is becoming a ‘green state’.“The ‘green state’ is a natural product of our verdant and luxuriant environment. Our ecosystems – our coastland, hinterland, highlands, islands, wetlands, grasslands, lakes, rivers, rainforests and waterfalls – are our birthright. Our bio-diversity is the endowment of our ancestors, the patrimony of all Guyanese, and the bequest we hold in trust for posterity,” he asserted.The President said the ‘green state’ can flourish, and can furnish a ‘good life’ for generations to come by engendering a spirit of shared social responsibility.According to the Guyanese Leader, the ‘green state’ must embody a common commitment to the environment which arises from our unique shared patrimony, and which will lead to a prosperous future.“The 51st anniversary of Independence inspires us all to continue to work towards preserving the ‘free state’; towards establishing a ‘green state’, and towards creating a ‘cohesive state.’ I extend fraternal congratulations to all – at home and in our diaspora – as we celebrate our freedom, our statehood, and our precious patrimony,” the President said.Happy Independence Anniversary!