Mrs. Hughes: I rise on behalf of the Alliance For Change to support the motion on the floor as amended for the establishment of a National Commemorative Commission. This motion seeks to recognise and respect the six races that make up this beautiful nation-state Guyana, still bursting with potential. It asks that a national commission be established to honour each of the many people that today make up a Guyanese. An organisation that, with independence, can provide fairness, protection and mutual respect to all the ethnic groups that cross the ocean to make a place they did not know, Guyana, home. Lest we forget Guyana is better in the beauty for diversity and we, in fact, have more in common that the differences we often promote in this honourable House.
It is a Commission that can bring recommendations and support to the national cultural policies, ensuring that each group is treated and promoted equally. Doing that can only build confidence in our systems, our policies and our institutions.
It is regrettable that the Hon. Learned Member on the other side, Ms. Teixeira, felt that the motion did not seem to deal solely with the arrival of the various peoples to Guyana. In fact, a closer look at the Commemoration Clauses and the Resolved Clauses really seek to commemorate our diversity. In fact, although she says contrary, I think such a Commission could truly emancipate our minds. Imagine a time when we would have more radio stations, more voices, more cultures being promoted, different diversity in thought, in approaches, in beliefs, all being approached and promoted in a new and different way in Guyana. I think such a Commission can do much for us all.
I worry that in recent years we seem to have forgotten the importance of standing together and of promoting our national songs. We forget that yes we can cooperate - Let Us Cooperate. Songs like that, if we promoted them a little more, which I think such a Commission could go a long way in promoting, in all spheres of our society, as diverse and beautiful as it is, it will remind us that yes, “Can we do it? Yes we can”.
So, really in the Resolved Clause we see that the motion promotes the commemoration of events and memorials. As our Constitution states, it will allow us to celebrate our cultural and racial diversity and strengthen our unity by eliminating any and every form of discrimination. We want to ensure that the promotion of culture and our diversities are not left to a few individuals or organisations which, by the power of the purse, are able to promote more or promote less. We want to ensure that all Guyanese have an equal understanding, an equal participation and an equal opportunity to highlight their own beautiful culture.
I cannot imagine anyone sitting in this good House and given the events of the last 10 minutes... Maybe this is just testimony that what I am about say can in fact not happen. I want to say that I cannot imagine that anyone sitting in this good House, including those who are now absent, who have walked out, will not stand in favour of the promotion of unity in Guyana as his or her own personal goal and, therefore, felt that he or she could not stand in support of this Motion, especially since we consider that there were two very pertinent concerns raised by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport that were carefully considered and put forward in amendments to the motion.
As we talk about the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, I want to publicly say that earlier tonight I congratulated him on this wonderful competition and this production. I think it is only fair that in this House we stand for what is right, what is honest and what we want to promote.
To me, all is not lost; we still have a golden opportunity. I really cannot accept that the very small gesture that those on the other side of the House could have in promoting and supporting such an institution would go unrecognised and unsupported. I really would like to say that it would be just a small gesture for all us, on all sides of this House, to be able to stand in favour of anything and everything that will promote unity in our country. Therefore, on behalf of the Alliance For Change, it is my honour to support such a motion. I hope that the process of emancipating all our minds might be enhanced with the establishment of such a Commission.
Thank you. [Applause]