Indian Arrival Day celebrations were held at Plantation Highbury in Berbice on May 5. It was co-organized by the Berbice Indian Arrival Committee and the Indian High Commission. The High Commission of India issued a release in the event:
On the occasion of the 185th Arrival Day in Guyana, High Commission of India in Guyana joined the Berbice Indian Cultural Committee in celebrating the occasion at Plantation Highbury. High Commissioner of India to Guyana HE Dr KJ Srinivasa along with Region 6 Chairman David Armogan and Mr Chandra Sohan, President of Berbice India Cultural Committee were present at Plantation Highbury with over 300 Indian Diaspora members, where a cultural programme was organized as part of celebrations including Indian classical dance and rhythmic Yoga performances by Dance and Yoga Teachers of Swami Vivekananda Cultural centre, Georgetown in addition to other eclectic cultural performances by members of the Indo-Guyanese diaspora.
It was in Plantation Highbury, that the first set of East Indian Indentured labourers landed on 5 May 1838. On that day, the ship Whitby landed in the then British Guiana. It may be recalled here that recognizing the importance of the Arrival Day and the standing of the Indian Diaspora in Guyana, the Government of India has donated the Indian Arrival Monument in 2019, consisting of six bronze statues which was installed at Palmyra Village in Berbice during the Indian Arrival Day celebrations on 5 May 2019.
The dignitaries addressed the gathering and lauded the contributions of East Indians to the development of Guyana. The High Commissioner briefed on the latest developments in the India-Guyana bilateral relations including the visits at the highest levels from Guyana including President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali snd Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo in January and February this year respectively and the visit of External Affairs Minister of India Dr S. Jaishankar to Guyana in April 2023 which signify the unprecedented growth in the bilateral relations between India and Guyana. The High Commissioner also updated on the various collaboration projects under execution as part of Indian development assistance to Guyana. The ongoing projects and proposals under process include in the sectors of infrastructure, transportation, drainage & irrigation, healthcare, education, training & skill development, agriculture, etc.
Later in the day, High Commissioner attended the event organized at the Palmyra Indian Arrival Monument by the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha led by its President and Minister of Human Services Hon’ble Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud. The event was attended by Hon’ble Ms Susan Rodrigues – Minister within ministry of Housing and Water along with other dignitaries to commemorate 185th Arrival Day – “a celebration of heritage, culture and traditions”. The iconic monument at Palmyra was illuminated in multicolored lights to mark the occasion and various mesmerizing cultural performances by the members of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha affiliated organizations and associations highlighting the occasion.
High Commissioner of India also attended the “Pushpanjali” event organized at Monument Gardens by the Indian Commemorative Trust, the event was graced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Brigadier (Retd) Mark Phillips and a large Indo-Guyanese Diaspora. The event comprised of a variety of dance and music performances by various artistes from across Guyana and the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Center dance group.
India is celebrating its 75th Anniversary of Independence Day on 15 August 2023. In the run up to the celebration of this historic occasion, Government of India is organizing a number of events across the world. As a part of these events, High Commission of India in Guyana in collaboration with prominent Indian Diaspora Organizations in Guyana this commemorated the Arrival Day.
In a statement issued by the High Commissioner Dr Srinivasa earlier on the observance of Arrival Day in Guyana on 5th May, congratulated the Government and people of Guyana in Guyana and across the world on the occasion and called upon all Guyanese to recognize the journeys, hardships, travails and perseverance of the Indian indentured immigrants and to take lessons from that unique history of journeys while taking bold, pioneering steps to advance the nation of Guyana, with hope and determination. The Indian Diaspora’s pioneering spirit, persistence and endurance under extremely harsh conditions were recollected while recognizing the invaluable contributions they have made to the diverse social, cultural and economic development of Guyana. India had conveyed its intention to continue to build up on this sacred relationship between India and Guyana with India as a strategic partner.