Published: 23rd of February, 2022 by Patrick Carpen.
About 4 years after declaring Independence from the British Empire, Guyana was declared a Republic on the 23rd of February, 1970. A Republic is a system of government in which the people elect their government through periodical elections, and is closely tied to a democracy. Nevertheless, some countries around the world have used the term too loosely, calling themselves a Republic while in fact practicing Autocracy, Dictatorship, or Tyranny.
The same thing happened in Guyana from 1964 to 1992 when Mr. Linden Forbes Burnham grabbed the reigns of power in Guyana. Although he held executive powers when Guyana was declared “the Cooperative Republic of Guyana” in 1970, Burnham rigged elections up to his death in 1985. He was succeeded by Mr. Desmond Hoyte who ceded power to the PPP/C after Guyana’s first free and fair elections in 1992. Burnham was infamous for his dictatorship quote, “no government in power should lose an election.”
On the 23rd of February, 2024, Guyana, South America celebrated 54 years as officially being called a Republic, but only 31 years of actually being a Republic or living up the standards and ideals of being a Republic, because in this context, the years before 1992 don’t count.
Republic Day in Guyana is celebrated by a number of patriotic, government-supported activities. These include a military parade, mashramani parades in the capital city of Georgetown as well as other regions of Guyana, theater productions, and a flag raising ceremony, amongst others. For Republic Day, 2022, President Ali said he has a great “One Guyana” vision for the country which will oversee transformational projects aimed at bettering the lives of all Guyanese regardless of race, class, creed, or political affiliation.
Indeed, with its dramatic windfall of explosive oil revenues, the country of Guyana now stands at the door of an economic revolution. The success of Guyana as an oil economy at this juncture depends largely on the government’s willingness to serve the people, its honesty, respect of public opinion, and transparency, as well as the cooperation and willingness of Guyana’s people to work together for the greater good.
Despite its troubled beginnings as an independent nation, Guyana and Guyanese still have great reason to celebrate the country’s status of being a Republic.