Thunderous cheers, drumming as thousands flock D’Urban Park
The crowd grew wild with excitement. It was the first time in the country’s history that a flag of such enormous size was hoisted anywhere in Guyana. Tens of thousands had gathered at the refurbished D’Urban Park to join in the spectacular event: the commemoration of Guyana’s 46th Republic Anniversary.
In previous years, the streets of Georgetown were lit up with colourful revellers gyrating to music fit for Mashramani. But on Tuesday, Guyanese turned up in their thousands and participated in a much more sombre, patriotic sort of activity.
The event got off to an early start following the arrival of both President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo. And although, neither of the leaders addressed the gathering, the short programme saw many nodding their heads in satisfaction.
Officers of both the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Band Corps sort of stole the show with their skilful military armed drill displays – moves that caused the massive crowd to often leap to their feet.
But what was most thrilling was the hoisting of the 65’x35′ Golden Arrowhead on the 200-foot flagpole. The crowd went berserk as flag bearers were finally able to settle the mighty flag high above ground as it flapped furiously against the mighty wind.
Following the singing of a few National Songs, the event came to an end, but not before the Head of State left the Park.
Originally inhabited by several indigenous groups, Guyana was settled by the Dutch before coming under British control in the late 18th century. It was governed as the plantation economy of British Guiana until independence in 1966, and officially became a republic within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. The legacy of British rule is reflected in the country’s diverse population, which includes Indian, African, Amerindian, and multiracial groups.