President Dr Irfaan Ali on Saturday paid homage to the men and women who died in service to the Commonwealth during World Wars I and II, while praising the resolve of the Remembrance Day veterans.
The Head of State was joined by Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, other government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and members of the Guyana Veterans Legion (GVL) among others at the wreath-laying ceremony, which was held at the Georgetown Cenotaph (War Memorial).
According to a statement from the Office of the President, President Ali in a brief address noted that the examples set by the veterans serve to strengthen the Government’s resolve for a world at peace with justice and freedom.
“We are forever indebted to them [the veterans] for their supreme sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom. We also recall with gratitude those who, through the years, have made similar personal sacrifices in the continuing struggle for human dignity, social justice and freedom from all forms of oppression wherever these exist,” he was quoted saying.
The President urged citizens to use the solemn occasion to rededicate themselves to the search for peace everywhere and “renew their commitment to the development of our beloved country,” the Office of the President said.
The Remembrance Day ceremony is held each year to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers from the two World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945).
Guyana’s oldest World War II veteran is Benjamin Durant, who will celebrate his 102nd birthday in the coming week; there are currently nine surviving veterans.
President Ali led the charge in laying the wreath at the War Memorial, followed by Prime Minister Phillips and members of the Diplomatic Corps, including British High Commissioner- Greg Quinn, Canadian High Commissioner- Lilian Chatterjee, U.S Ambassador- Sarah-Ann Lynch and Indian High Commissioner Dr K.J Srinivasa.
Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Godfrey Bess, Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie and a representative of the Guyana Veterans Legion also laid wreaths.