Scores of Guyanese in Ontario, Canada, flocked the Mel Lastman Square on Yonge Street in Toronto, on Friday May 24, to celebrate Guyana’s 53rd Independence Anniversary in a moving flag raising ceremony held under the auspices of the Consulate General of Guyana in Toronto.
Among the dignitaries at the ceremony, which featured an address by Guyana’s Consul General to Toronto, Ms. Anyin Choo, were Ontario Legislator of Guyanese heritage, Ms. Sara Singh, MPP, who represents the Town of Brampton in the Provincial Parliament; Councillor Ashmeed Khan of the Town of Ajax, also of Guyanese heritage; and members of the Caribbean Consular Corps in Toronto.
The national flag of Guyana, the Golden Arrowhead, was hoisted against a sunny spring sky and a steady wind, by former members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), residing in Canada.
Following a brief welcome by Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Grace Joseph, Consul at the Consulate General of Guyana in Toronto, Guyanese-Canadian vocalist and recording artist, Ms. Faith Amour, sang the National Anthems of Guyana and Canada at the event which was held on Yonge Street, near the North York Civic Centre.
Prayers were led by representatives of the three major religions in Guyana, Brother Omar Farouk of the Muslin faith; Pandit Joe Jaglall of the Hindu community and Bishop Joseph Fisher of the Christian faith.
Consul General Choo, in her feature address, noted the centuries of struggles and resistance by our ancestors, against colonial rule.
Ms. Choo urged: “As we celebrate yet another milestone in the history of our country, let us not forget the sacrifice made by our founding leaders and the struggles made in uniting people across our diverse nation.
“Today, we are fortunate to celebrate our cultural diversity in a multicultural society that promotes citizens’ unhindered devotion to their respective religions and cultures because Guyana is a land of six peoples; a kaleidoscope of colourful diversity and multi-ethnicity, none of which would be possible without the unified efforts of our nation’s founding fathers who fought for the independence of Guyana,” Ms. Choo emphasised.
Recognising that within a matter of months, Guyana will become an oil producing nation, a step which will, hopefully, transform the economy, better the lives of the citizens and further the social and economic progress, Ms. Choo observed that as a small developing country, Guyana is constantly faced with the challenges of choosing between its own existence and its economic survival.
On environmental initiatives, it was disclosed that despite its huge oil finds, Guyana was committed to reducing its carbon footprints and has taken steps to transform its economy into a green economy through the Green State Development Strategy.
“As citizens of Guyana, we must ensure that our natural resources are utilized in a transparent and sustainable manner that will benefit and improve the lives of our fellow Guyanese and protect the environment for future generations…this can only happen through a collective effort towards one goal…the development of our homeland, Guyana,” said Choo.
Meanwhile, in brief remarks, Ms. Tania Lopez Larroque, Consul General of Consulate General of the Republic of Cuba and Chair of the Caribbean Consular Corps, spoke of the cooperation among Caribbean nations in instances of natural disasters and other challenges.