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Guyana Celebrates Independence Shrouded in Grief

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Published: 27th of May, 2023. Guyana, South America. GSA News. Guyana News.

Last updated: May 27, 2023 at 20:34 pm

Friday, May 26th, 2023, was supposed to have been a glorious day for all Guyanese…a day of remembrance of the struggle for Independence and the subsequent victory. A day when the colonial power, Britain, like a parent who had nurtured a child, said to the nation, “you are now ready and capable to take care of your self.” Despite the fact that Independence in Guyana was viewed by many as premature and regressive, and the fact that it didn’t do much for Guyana in the past 57 years, Guyanese, engulfed in national pride, and fueled by hope for the future, still have much to celebrate.

But Independence Celebrations this year was shadowed by nationwide grief over the 19 lives lost in the Mahdia school fire and many more injured and traumatized. President Ali had great plans for Independence this year – moving the core action to Lethem, Region 9. But on the 21st of May, 2023, just 5 days before Independence Day, a fire erupted at the Mahdia Secondary School dorms killing 19 children and injuring and traumatizing many more.

On the 22nd of May, 2023, President Ali decreed three days of national mourning for those who were affected by the Mahdia tragedy – the depressing effects of which pervaded the entire country of Guyana. The President further noted that the Independence Eve celebrations would be transformed into a night of prayer and reflection.

There were still marches, drums, and performances, but the atmosphere was solemn. The Golden Arrow Head was still hoisted, but it was soon lowered to half mast in honor of the victims of the Mahdia fire.

Below are some photos from the Independence Eve Celebrations at the Tabatinga Sports Ground in Lethem, Region 9, Guyana, South America on the evening of May 25th, 2023, breaking into the morning of May 26th.

Click the page navigation buttons below to see more photos!

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