President Irfaan Ali remains committed to bridging divisions across the country with the hope of leaving behind a more unified Guyana where advances in reducing racial and political separations, which have permeated the country for decades, are finally noticeable.
Since becoming President in August 2020, he has consistently spoken of his ‘One Guyana’ vision and as he commences work towards achieving this, Dr. Ali earlier this week engaged members of the entertainment and arts industry in a recruitment drive.
The Head of State believes that these creatives can help him to accelerate the vision even as he drew attention to the impression left on him following their performance at the 56th Independence Anniversary and Flag-Raising ceremony at Damon Square, Anna Regina in Region Two.
“I want to recruit all of you because the ‘One Guyana’ goal can be accelerated with all of you here today.
“You have the passion, emotion, expression and you have a stage that is essential in pushing this One Guyana,” Dr. Ali said during a meeting with the artistes at State House.
Through the ‘One Guyana’ initiative, Dr. Ali hopes to create a more equal society, guaranteeing that everyone is afforded the opportunity to lead productive and happy lives, as well as, reducing inequality in access to education, health, employment, income and justice.
Dr. Ali said he had hoped to engage this group of creatives and mostly young people on this front, noting that already the government is supporting the advancement of the industry.
He used the opportunity to charge the performers to see their importance in promoting social cohesion.
Dr. Ali was joined during the meeting by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson. Jr and Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond.
They both also expressed optimism that this group of people can help bridge political and racial divides.
“We are really the happiest when we are celebrating together and embracing each other as one. There [at the flag raising] was a celebration of differences and we want to build on that. That is truly what One Guyana is about, everything coming together in a true celebration of who we are,” Walrond said in support of the President.
She said the presentation on independence eve was resounding testimony of celebrating of differences and said the arts offer a unique opportunity to sell that to the nation.
In a wider context, Dr. Ali announced the development of an action plan that will target every category of the industry and unearth talent nationwide.
The Head of State reminded the performers that his government has returned $100M to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport’s budget for the development of artistes and the industry as a whole.
After the conversation with the performers, President Ali came up with several initiatives aimed at addressing some of the concerns that were raised. He said that the government will identify a space in every region of Guyana for the development of the dance industry as well as arts and culture.
The President also proposed for there to be a summer dance programme instituted in every region of the country to target people from all facets of society.
In addition to this, President Ali announced that a National School Choir Championship will be launched in August.
For the technicians specifically, the President noted that he will help to find an institute or an organisation to execute training programmes for engineers and technicians in the industry, especially for sound. He added that the government is supposed to receive US$50,000 for the training of technicians in the industry.
For the vocal artistes, the government will support a consortium of studios that will give access to locals to record and produce their music.
The President reminded the performers that there will be a Guyana Night during the Cricket Carnival celebrations this year and a Regional Night, where they are also expected to shine.