Designer of the Golden Arrow Head passes away

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American Vexillologist, Dr. Whitney Smith who designed the ‘Golden Arrow Head’ has passed away.

In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth and Sport said Dr. Smith died on Thursday, November 18th, 2016 in Peabody, Mass., at 76 years old.

In 1966 Britain’s Garter King of Arms described Guyana’s national flag design as being “one of the most significant departures in national flag design in modern times”. The name ‘Golden Arrow Head’ was bestowed on this nostalgic symbol of nationhood and patriotism.

This unique emblem marked the nation becoming an Independent state when the British Union Jack was lowered and the Golden Arrow Head hoisted at midnight on May, 25th, 1966.

Expressing condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Smith, the Ministry said it has been keeping in contact with Mr. Smith and his family prior to, and during Guyana’s Golden Jubilee.

Dr. Smith was a professional Vexillologist and scholar of flags. He also created the term ‘vexillologist’ which is the scholarly analysis of all aspects of flags. His interest in flags saw him founding several vexillologist organisations including the Flag Research Center, International Federation of Vexillological Association, North American Vexillological Association and the Flag Heritage Foundation. He also wrote over 20 books and 250 articles and journals about flags. Most of those pieces were published in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

In 1961 the call was made for the design and composition of the National Flag, National Coat of arms, National Anthem and an appropriate name for a free and Independent British Guiana. It was declared that the National Flag of Independence will have five colours – green, gold, red, black and white with the principal colours being green, gold and red.

The design of the flag was approved by the Guyana House of Assembly on January 26th, 1966 in a motion moved by Minister of Education, Mrs. Winifred Gaskin.

Guyana gives thanks and salutes the everlasting contribution Dr. Smith made to our nation.

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