Arrival Day messages



The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) extends best wishes to all Guyanese on the observance of Arrival Day. This Day, May 5, commemorates the profound historical period of indentureship which began in 1838. We celebrate the enrichment of diversity that Arrival Day embodies in the shaping of modern Guyana. Arrival Day is most significant for what it represents in the context of the multi-faceted mosaic it created and for which our country is known.

Our hodgepodge of multiculturalism was as a result of the untold sacrifices, desires and steadfastness of our ancestors, to practice and preserve their rich and colourful cultural traditions, having come to this land from different parts of the world at different times in our history.

In doing so individually through the various ethnic groups, sharing and participation in each other’s, forged our dear nation to become multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural. Over time, this rich, beautiful and vibrant diversity has become our strength and the common bond in the process of becoming one people in this our nation working towards a common destiny.

While there have been challenges along the way, our Guyanese brothers and sisters have always found ways to foster togetherness through tolerance and respect. This is evident as all participate meaningfully in each other’s festivities which have transcended religious and ethnic boundaries to become truly national in observances. Herein lies the desire of all of our people for harmony and unity to be strengthened and for it to continue to prevail across this land that is home to all.

The ERC therefore wishes to take the opportunity on this occasion to reiterate the need for all to build together upon our gains and to continue robustly the process of fostering unity and harmony. This is imperative in the interest of our nation and all of its people so that our diversity must never be made a tool for division but one that will continue to reflect our strength and bonds of togetherness.

May 5 also marks the anniversary of the arrival of our East Indian ancestors who reached these shores on that day in 1838 while two days ago on May 3, Portuguese Arrival Day was observed.

The colourful commemorative events across the country will once again serve to bring our people together, allowing opportunities to not only participate, but for the continuation of that important process of educating for a better understanding and appreciation of our cultural traditions.

This builds tolerance which is the bedrock of harmony and unity as we strive for one people out of many cultures. Once again happy Arrival Day to all Guyanese here and in the Diaspora.


IAC Arrival Day Message 2019

The Indian Action Committee (IAC) wishes all Guyanese a Happy Arrival Day, and, especially, calls upon all citizens to remember the 181st Anniversary of the Arrival of East Indians to Guyana.

The IAC, an organization which promotes and preserves Indian culture and deals with the issues and concerns of persons of Indo-Guyanese origin, over the years has provided Guyanese with historical information regarding the arrival of just over 239,000 Indian immigrants who came to this country aboard 245 Coolie Ships which made a total of 534 voyages across the Kaalaa Paanii between 1838 and 1917.

The IAC also has clarified and corrected statistical errors pertaining to the arrival of the first two Coolie Ships, the WHITBY and the HESPERUS which, between them landed a total of 423 persons including 382 indentured males, 14 indentured females, 21 children and 6 Christian Anglo- Indian interpreter/ superintendents.

The IAC, as the organization has done over the years continues to recognize the endeavours by these Indian immigrants and their descendants, the persons of Indo- Guyanese origin, to develop this country.

The IAC, which has recognized important contributions by giving awards to persons from Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo, is aware that tens of thousands of East Indians have made valuable efforts in all fields of human activity in this country including business and commerce; banking and finance; the sugar and rice industries; coconuts and other crops; fishery and livestock; mining and quarrying; forestry and sawmilling; education and academia; medicine and law; journalism and communications; accounting and insurance; private and national security; the hospitality and aviation sectors; the alcohol and beverage industries; sport and entertainment; culture and religion; and politics and governance.

As all Guyanese share in this commemoration, the IAC is cognizant of the sharp downturn in Guyana’s economy over the past few years, evidence being the steadily declining economic growth rate and the worrying fact that the country’s Foreign Currency reserves have dropped about US$400 Million since 2009; and in combination with global economic events, hardships have fallen upon the poor class of Guyanese especially those dislocated in the sugar industry and those in the rice industry that are currently threatened by a major paddy bug infestation.

The IAC is saddened by the surge in criminal activities in recent years and is shocked and horrified, at the almost daily attacks on persons of Indo-Guyanese origin who are being brutalized, traumatized, robbed, and murdered even though the Minister of Public Security a few days ago stated that the country is safe.

The IAC is extremely concerned that, following the No Confidence Motion of December 2018, the country has become dangerously polarized both politically and ethnically resulting in a tremendous rise in anxiety among the Indo-Guyanese population which historically has been continually victimized.

The IAC is of the opinion that the concept of social cohesion as espoused by the Coalition Government is not working in Guyana even though large amounts of tax payer monies have been wasted behind this failed policy.

The IAC is appalled that the Indian Immigration Monument, which was originally conceptualized by the organization in 2003 and approved by the previous administration with valuable inputs from the IAC, had its initial design and concomitant symbolism unilaterally disposed of; and hijacked by elements which do not have the wellbeing of the Indo-Guyanese at heart.

The IAC wishes to remind all Guyanese that the Indian immigrants arrived in this country almost empty handed, essentially poverty stricken and with a high degree of illiteracy, have bequeathed to this country, descendants who did not remain in that original state but became literate, educated, industrious, wealthy and patriotic.



Let’s value the sacrifices of our ancestors

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) takes this opportunity to extend greetings to all Guyanese, home and abroad, on the occasion of Arrival Day. May 5th, the designated day, is of much significance in commemorating the arrival of our ancestors who came to these shores from various parts of the world.

They braved the dark seas during their grueling journey here, at different points of our history, and laboured to make this land their home. Despite the hardships faced, they were resolute in their endeavours to preserve their cultural traditions and values which have shaped our lives.

Their selfless sacrifices in that regard led to the creation of the rich and colourful mosaic which encompasses our multifaceted nation. This diversity has become our strength as we share and participate in the various festivals that have come to identify us as a people.

May 5th also marks the arrival of our Indo-Guyanese ancestors beginning in 1838. Across our country there will be many activities to commemorate this event and others that have come to signify Arrival Day.

Our Party also takes this opportunity to commend all those who have worked steadfastly over the years and who continue to do so in the promotion of activities designed to foster and preserve our history, values and cultural traditions which have become shared; demonstrative of the strength in our diversity.

As we participate, our Party urges reflection on the valiant efforts of all of our fore-parents so that we can continue to be inspired and to better contextualize the value of our gains. This will ensure that we remain determined to build upon our gains and that our country remains a place for all of it sons and daughters.



On the occasion of the 181st Anniversary of the arrival of East Indians to Guyana, the PNCR salutes all Guyanese of East Indian descent and those in the Diaspora who are celebrating this milestone in the nation’s historical calendar.

The Party recognizes the valuable contribution that our East Indian brothers and sisters have made to the development of our country and the shaping of the cultural tapestry of this nation. The PNCR, therefore, salutes all our East Indian brothers and sisters on this special commemorative day.

When the PNCR in the 1980’s inaugurated the concept of celebrating the arrival of the respective ethnic groups of this nation the intention was to deepen an understanding of the culture of these groups and so promote greater understanding and racial harmony as tools for nation building. The Party held at all times that such a course of action was absolutely necessary for welding the nation into a single whole out of the various groups which emigrated here from the various continents of the world.

As we reflect on this historical milestone it is the wish of the PNCR that the occasion would be used to indulge ourselves in activities designed at forging and moulding a destiny of racial and cultural cohesion so necessary for building an economically strong and vibrant nation.


Message for His Worship the Mayor

Today, as our Country observes Arrival day, I extend greetings to all people of Guyana; this occasion reminds us of all of our rich cultural diversity and heritage.

Arrival day celebrated on the 5th of May commemorates the arrival of indentured laborers, who were the East Indians that came to Guyana. The first batch of labourers arrived in 1838 on the steamships “Whitby” and “Hesperus” in May 1838. The main purpose was to fill that void created on the plantation after emancipation.

History is rife with the example of the struggles, sacrifice, and resistance that characterized the indentureship system. As we recall the purpose of indentuership and the struggles of indenture labourers to free themselves from the atrocity of a human system, that oppressed and restricted them.

As we observe this special occasion it is important that we remember the hardships and contributions of our forefathers with hearts of gratitude. Indeed, the sterling contributions of those who have gone before us have impacted the social, political and economic and religious demographics of this nation. On this arrival day more than every the trust for social cohesion is necessary and imperative, and the reality of which we must embrace.

Further; we must culturally tolerant and embrace the culture of each other, regardless of ethnicity, political affiliations, social status, and religious persuasion.

I call on all of us to keep forever hitched in our memories of sacrifices, hard work, and dedication of our forefathers. We must allow these principles of such to influences us, in our daily lives so that we can charter a new course that will advance the interest of our City.

We should not allow the sweat, blood, and tears of our ancestors to go in vain, rather we should build on the legacy, they have bequeathed to us to advance the City and the nation of Guyana.

Our ancestors have demonstrated and I am convinced that sacrifice, hard -work cooperation and unity are principles that have the propensity above discord, dissent and disunity.


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