Despite some early morning showers, Guyana marked its inaugural Social Cohesion Day with a national prayer ceremony at the Durban Park.
The day is being observed exactly one year after Guyanese voted in General Elections which ended the PPP’s 22 year rule and resulted in the election of the six party APNU+AFC government.
President David Granger and First Lady Sandra Granger along with the Prime Minister and his wife and other Government Ministers, members of the Diplomatic Community, Members and Speaker of the National Assembly and representatives of the private sector and religious bodies were treated to a morning of prayer, song and dance.
The country was lifted up in prayers for unity and peace by the Christian, Islam, Hindu, Bahai and Rastafarian faiths, even as the country’s cultural and ethnic diversity was showcased. Patrons and onlookers witnessed the hoisting of the ten regional flags for the first time by the Guyana Scouts Association as the message of unity was stressed by President Granger and Social Cohesion Minister Amna Ally.
Several renditions of National Songs were also performed by the Joint Services Choir and the National Steel Pan Orchestra. In the absence of members of the political opposition, President Granger said his government will push for greater participation and inclusion at the political level. He committed to doing more to enforce employment and anti – discriminatory laws which will in turn ensure the health, happiness and safety of all citizens.
“Social Cohesion is about fostering greater integration in our nation. Integration is intended to create a sense of belonging, it is intended to give recognition to all groups and to allow them to freely practice their culture. Integration expands the space for diversity,” President Granger said.
Mr. Granger said Guyana’s diversity is an asset that all Guyanese should be proud of. The President and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo along with their wives concluded the short ceremony by making personal pledges of unity on white ilium balloons before releasing them into the sky.