President assures Victorians of continued investment as residents celebrate 180th anniversary

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President David Granger on Saturday evening assured Victorians that the Government will continue to invest in the village to ensure residents live comfortably.

“Victoria led the way before and it can lead the way again. We look to you. We look to your energy. We look to your resilience. We look to your commitment to show Guyana what you can do, what you have done and what you will do in the future,” the President said during the commemoration of the 180th anniversary of the purchase of the village on the East Coast of Demerara.

President David Granger delivering remarks at the commemoration of the 180th anniversary of Victoria village

He alluded to the Village Improvement Plans (VIPs) created under his Government to ensure financing is available for village improvement and that the village is used as an economic, political and social machine to improve the lives of Guyanese throughout the country.

He said that the VIPs will cater to the protection of institutions, improvement of infrastructure, investment in the restoration of farmland and increase use of Information Technology.

“Tonight, we are in Victoria. Just as it had led the village movement 180 years ago, I see the ‘Victorians’ leading village renewal in years to come because I intend to come back in 2039 when you celebrate your 200th anniversary,” the Head of State said, to loud cheers and applause.

President David Granger receives the key to the village of Victoria.

The President told the residents of Victoria that they should be proud of the village’s history as their ancestors, despite their struggles, persevered and pioneered economic independence and democratic empowerment, which resulted in a better life after emancipation.

“We acknowledge that it was Victoria which started the great village movement. It is Victoria which lit the flame that encouraged us to dream of equality,” he told those gathered at the event.

He reminded that it was ‘Victorians’ who led the way and showed how a modern village could be established by converting plantations from Skeldon to the Pomeroon into a string of human habitations.

Members of the National Dance Company performing at the 180th Anniversary celebration of the purchase of Victoria Village.

The Head of State said long before he became President, his intention was to honour Victoria and other villages on November 7. It is for this reason that a motion was passed in the National Assembly in 2013 declaring November 7, the National Day of Villages. This day, he explained was chosen because it was the date of Victoria’s purchase.

Noting that over 60 per cent of Guyanese still live in villages, he said persons of all ethnicities can trace their ancestry to the villages.

“We must honour the villages. It’s not just a place where you live. That is a place where you farm. It’s a place where you meet people, where you develop relations, where you [practice] culture,” President Granger said.

Victoria village presented President David Granger with a portrait of himself as a token of appreciation.

The President stressed the need for villagers to run their own affairs and manage their own community as he pointed to the need for Local Government Elections which were held under his administration twice in three years after a 20 hiatus.

The village movement started on 7th November 1839 when the village was bought for 30,000 guilders.

The postage stamp, depicting ‘the purchase’ of the village, was launched in November 2016.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Victoria Village Day Committee, Basil Williams, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, called on the villagers to honour the struggles of their ancestors and to celebrate their accomplishment.

The event was held at the Victoria Community Centre Ground under the theme: ‘Magnifying our African ancestry, celebrating our cultural diversity’.

A dramatic piece done by members of the National Drama Company

The thousands in attendance were treated to a rich cultural programme, which included drama, song, dance and drumming.

Among those present were Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, who is performing the duties of Prime Minister; Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock; Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland and several Ministers of Government. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency)

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