People’s National Congress Reform observed the twenty-third (23rd) anniversary of the death its Founder Leader, Mr. Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham on August 6, 2008. The usual wreath-laying ceremony took place at the Place of the Seven Ponds. The main address was delivered by Leader of the PNCR and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert H. O. Corbin after which there was the laying of floral tributes.

One of the highlights of the programme was a public lecture on the “Guyana National Service: Burnham's Vision - 35 Years After” delivered by Major General Joseph Singh, Rtd. and former Director General of the Guyana National Service (GNS). The lecture was delivered in the forecourt of the NCW Headquarters, 44 Public Road, Kitty. In his impressive and wide ranging address Brigadier Joe Singh showed how the National Service was underpinned by the vision of President Burnham:

“I do believe however, in that Vision of President Burnham as outlined in the 1973 State Paper of the GNS-promoting the concept of the new Guyana Man and Woman, oriented towards their role in nation building, equipped with the appropriate skills, fired with pioneering zeal and enthusiasm, working collaboratively in a spirit of mutual respect with persons of all ethnicities, religious and cultural affiliations, carving out viable settlements away from the coast, developing the lines of communication and infra structure to facilitate access, courageously defending our territory against the would be invader, supporting our hinterland communities with basic services, and developing centres of enlightenment that would be catalysts for broad based national development.”

In fact Brigadier Singh emphasised the role of the National Service in nation building the training it offered and the opportunities that existed in it for promoting harmony and understanding among the peoples of Guyana.

The welcome and introductory remarks was delivered by Ms. Genevieve Allen along with Reflections by Ms. Yvonne Harewood-Benn, Mr. Eugene Gilbert and Ms. Germaine Van Sluytman. There were songs by various local artists with musical renditions by the Guyana Police Force Band after which there was the laying of floral tributes.

Mr. Burnham became the first Executive President of Guyana in 1980, having led the nation to Independence in 1966 and to Republican status in 1970. President Burnham taught the Guyanese people to be proud of themselves and their nation and had a vision of building a Guyana that was racially harmonious and prosperous. Above all else, he insisted that Guyana should grow more food and be self-sufficient in food production. He took the ethic of self-sufficiency to the rest of the Region, when he proposed to the CARICOM Summit in Trinidad, in 1983, that the Region must put programmes in place to make it self-sufficient in food.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Tuesday, August 12, 2008