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"...our achievements are overwhelmed by these threats to divide the nation: this is a time when I can do no more than call for a 'keeping the faith'," the Prime Minister told a gathering at the National Library for the launching of a National Photographic Exhibition.
He said the exhibition should help all recall the good times with less difficulty and shun despondency adding that even as they worry, they would continue to work earnestly and purposefully so that things, in time, will be all right, not by themselves but through continued efforts to bring a better life to one another.
The two-week event is hosted by the Government Information Agency (GINA), and on exhibition are photographs of events and developments in the country over the last decade.
Yesterday marked a decade of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in office, a decade, according to Prime Minister Hinds, of the PPP/C shouldering the mantle of leadership in the nation, continuing the journey towards democracy, development, and good governance.
He said he has often wondered whether much of the nation's problems do not lie in the challenges to it and to each person being greatly underestimated. He said the nation is being put to test in its journey towards democracy, development and good governance.
"May no one else be asked to carry the cross that our late leader Dr Jagan had to bear. His life was a supreme example of keeping the faith in our people and in the survival of our nation,” the Prime Minister stated, noting that on October 9, the suspension of the first Internal Self Government founded on the first elections under the system of adult suffrage in 1953, will be recalled. This was founded by the PPP with Dr Jagan as leader and Mr. Forbes Burnham at his side.
Prime Minister Hinds said that on this same date, Dr Jagan was sworn in as President "after international and internal forces conspired and contrived to keep him out of office for 28 years".
He also recalled that a decade ago the majority of Guyanese opted to give fair and free elections another try. He said that there were many who have been urging, since the election of 1997, that fair and free elections are not sufficient for democracy. While that may be so, the Prime Minister said, fair and free elections and the respecting of the results, constitute an essential base and a necessary starting point for development and good governance.
"Without the base of free and fair elections, there would likely be no nation," Prime Minister Hinds declared.
According to him, free and fair elections and the results thereof, cannot be disparaged, and he pointed out that in keeping with the Herdmanston Accord, and the Revised Constitution, there are a number of Standing Committees and Commissions which are to be put in place in such a way as not to nullify the results of the elections.
Urging the gathering to give these adjustments a fair try, Prime Minister Hinds said there are also good sociological reasons when formal political parties emerged in Guyana, they were formed on existing racial as well as social, religious and geographical groupings.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our historical problems. We speak of them everyday in the letters to our newspapers and in talk shows, but we have possibilities too," he stated and referred to the just concluded GUYEXPO 2002, which he said was a good indicator of the progress made over the last decade and also of the possibilities for the future.
"One saw many startup and growing enterprises founded on the initiative of people of all races: men and women and from all parts of Guyana who in their need to earn a living, are keeping a blind faith in our future and are creating that better future. The rest of us of lesser faith must follow their pattern.
"We must not submit to crime and criminals; dejection and despondency; but hasten to make up with each other and assure each other as we move to more effectively suppress crime and criminals, and continue the journey towards a common respect and prosperity for all," he stated.
Also giving remarks at the opening ceremony yesterday was Chairman of the National Library, Ms Carmen Jarvis, who noted that with each anniversary comes the time to reflect on achievements while planning for the future.
According to her, one great achievement of the National Library is the long sought and much needed 'new wing', which was commissioned earlier this year.
She noted that it has been a decade of a lot of activities and reflected on the 'United Nations Decades' on which she said they have been working for the culture of peace and non-violence.
"And looking at the photographs outside I can see that we have been working for more peace and non-violence through development. This is one of the main ways we can promote peace and non-violence," she stated.
Ms Jarvis said that this is also the decade for the eradication of poverty, the provision of employment, the building of institutions, and so on.
"I would like to emphasise the need for recording achievements so that those who come after will be able to see what was done," she stated urging the gathering to inform others about the exhibition. "I would like to urge all you young people to be involved. Help in every way you can to promote peace, harmony, the eradication of poverty, and the promotion of our cultural heritage."