Burke appeals for unity in Guyanese community

Even as the Guyanese community in New York is receiving what has been described as unprecedented outpouring of support from United States federal, state and city officials for Guyana’s 52nd Independence Anniversary celebration in New York, chairman the Guyana Independence Celebration Committee (New York), Rickford Burke, is appealing for unity among his compatriots in the United States.

The committee will celebrate Guyana’s independence anniversary with a series of activities from June 3-16.

Burke told Caribbean Life on Tuesday that “the eyes of the world are on the Guyanese community, as the independence celebration creates history as the second, largest West Indian celebration in New York City, after the [West Indian American Day] Labor Day parade.”

He said the leadership of the wider Caribbean community is also “steadfastly supporting” his committee and the celebration “in a demonstration of Caribbean unity.”

Burke, therefore, appealed to all Guyanese in the United States Diaspora to “put political and other differences aside and work together for the good of Guyana and all Guyanese.

“There is strength in unity,” he said. “We are 500,000 strong in the New York tri-state. This is the time for us to demonstrate oneness and our inseparable and envious characteristic — our common Guyanese identity.

“Now is the time for unity and togetherness,” he emphasized, expressing confidence that his committee will continue to be “an agent for positive change in the Diaspora.”

Burke hailed Guyana as “the most hospitable country in the Caribbean region with an illustrious culture and rich in natural resources, and whose diversity of races and ethnicities creates a social fabric that is incomparable.

“This is the essence of our nation and who we are as a people,” he said.

He posited that the commemoration of the birth of the Guyanese nation must be “a signal occasion for all Guyanese to put grievances and differences of opinion aside and come together to celebrate the nation and its journey from colonialism to modern development.”

Burke pledged to work closely with all stake holders of the Guyanese Diaspora “to engender national harmony and cohesion.

“Guyana cannot attain developed nation status without cohesion and national harmony, and all Guyanese bear responsibility for bringing about this reality,” he said.

The Guyana independence anniversary celebration comprises, among other activities in Brooklyn, the annual Independence Parade (Mashramani) in Brooklyn on June 3; the after-parade Unity Concert on the same day at the Brooklyn Museum; and an Independence Cup Soccer Tournament on June 16 at Old Boys High School Soccer Field.

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