PRESS RELEASE Emancipation Day Message August 1st, 2008

On the occasion of Emancipation Day 2008, the People’s National Congress Reform joins the rest of the nation in celebrating the 170th anniversary of the freedom of slaves in Guyana and the rest of the English speaking Caribbean. An event as serious and as momentous as this must warrant sober reflection to determine whether the freedom gained at this critical point in our history has been effectively utilised transform this country into a cohesive and prosperous nation.

There cannot be any doubt that our ancestors from Africa laid an excellent foundation for the development of Guyana. They engaged in the building of the massive infrastructural works which facilitated the creation of the Drainage and Irrigation system, purchased villages which are at the heart of the local Government system, pioneered a number of vital institutions which improved the lives of their communities, and, most important of all, took advantage of the education system to prepare themselves for the challenges of the various professions such as law and medicine.

But most important of all the descendants of African slaves would join hands with other ethnic groups to engage in the grand enterprise of building a strong self confident and prosperous nation. In this enterprise it was clear that freedom was a precondition for the shaping of a successful nation. Oppressed and shackled peoples do not build free societies. Such an enterprise based on this understanding led to the accession to Independence and the graduation to Republican status.

The PNCR must declare, on this occasion, more than four decades after our independence which our nation faces a situation in which the essential freedoms of our citizens are threatened. The right not to be tortured is repeatedly violated. The right to information remains elusive. The right to a peaceful and secure existence is clouded by the rise in criminality and the strengthening of the drug culture. Most of all the freedoms to which all Guyanese are heir, can be negated by the out of control violence in the society. Freedom cannot flourish under the reign of guns and the lack of law and order.

It is necessary on this occasion for this nation to take stock of where it stands and what must be done to restore the pride and freedom that our African ancestors bequeathed to us. It critical that if this nation wishes to overcome our formidable problems that we rekindle the spirit of these ancestors and rededicate our selves to building a society that is truly free and one in which the talents of all our peoples are marshaled to ensure that the promise of prosperity and real freedom is not perennially deferred.

Notwithstanding its concerns, the PNCR wishes all the people of Guyana an enjoyable Emancipation Day.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, July 31, 2008