Address by His Excellency Mr. Rudolph Michael Ten-Pow Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, at the 52nd Anniversary of Independence of Guyana
Honorable Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps, Honorable Consul-General of Guyana in New York, Distinguished guests and friends of Guyana, Fellow Guyanese,
The task that I have been assigned this evening is to bring you greetings. And a more pleasant task I could not have asked for. We’re gathered here one day before the 52nd anniversary of our independence to celebrate how far we’ve come in these 52 years, but also to reflect on where we are now and on the road that lies ahead.
Yes, there have been setbacks along the way. Independence is a learning process. Even this great country in which we’re celebrating today took nearly a hundred years after its independence to take the first steps towards healing its internal divisions by officially abolishing the institution of slavery. And it took another hundred years before meaningful progress was made towards bringing all Americans together and embracing their diversity.
But let me say, as we reflect on where we in Guyana have come from and where we’re going, that I am bullish on Guyana. Bullish because now more than at any other time since independence we have within our grasp the opportunity to achieve the good life for our generation and for the generations of Guyanese to come.
We’ve always had the resources, we’ve always had the people – smart, creative, resilient people. But now we’re beginning to see something new emerging. A new confidence in ourselves and what we’re capable of achieving. We’re confident that, given the opportunity and the tools and with the right mental attitude, a team of Guyanese teenagers can master the difficult science of robotics in one year and lead a field of 164 countries in an International Robotics Competition.
We’re beginning to see more and more the Golden Arrowhead waving proudly atop the winners’ podium in international sporting competitions. And we’re beginning to see a new attitude in our people and our leaders. An attitude that sees difficulties as temporary and as opportunities if we are creative and positive about them.
Our forests in Guyana that we used to refer to as “the bush” we now see as a treasure trove of valuable timber and eco-tourism potential, a storehouse of bio-diversity, and a carbon sink to help the world slow global warming.
The rainy season flooding on the coastland that we complain so much about is not a curse or an act of God, but a reminder that we are blessed with abundant rainfall and bountiful freshwater. All we need to do is to manage it better. There are parts of the world where people can only dream of having such abundant rainfall and fresh water.
We used to complain about the “hot midday sun”. Now we are thinking renewable solar energy.
And, lastly and most importantly, we are beginning to see the diversity of our peoples as a strength and not a weakness. To recognize the importance of pulling together and building coalitions, recognize that we’re stronger as one people and one nation, despite the different historical circumstances that brought our ancestors to the shores of Guyana.
But I’m also bullish about Guyana because we are fortunate to have national leaders who have a vision for the future of Guyana, and who are going about the task of making that vision into a reality with professional competence and with absolute commitment and dedication.
One such leader is our Second Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Carl Barrington Greenidge. Minister Greenidge has made the trip to New York especially so he could be here with us this afternoon. And I know how logistically difficult that was to do. This is testament to the importance he attaches to Guyanese in the diaspora, who have a key role to play in our national development.
Minister Greenidge needs no introduction. His high profile in and out of Guyana is a reflection of his wide experience both nationally and internationally, a reflection of his intellectual heft and of the choice he has made to place his experience and his intellect at the service of Guyana. He too was once a member of the diaspora, but he chose to return to serve Guyana.
And so I now have the honor and the distinct pleasure to call upon our Second VicePresident and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Carl B Greenidge, to address you.