Flag hoisted in Umana Yana compound

Stabroek News
May 27, 1999

The hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead on the country's independence anniversary took place on Tuesday night in the Umana Yana compound next to the site of the African Liberation Monument in Kingston. The traditional venues are the National Park and the National Cultural Centre.

It was the first time that the symbolic gesture to mark the country's independence anniversary was held at the site of the African Liberation Monument in the compound of the Umana Yana.

The flag was hoisted by Second Lt Kester Craig. Simultaneous with the hoisting of the national flag in the capital city, a team of Guyana Defence Force soldiers hoisted the Golden Arrowhead at Mount Ayanganna. That team was headed by Captain Heyliger and included Lt Peters and Second Lt Glasgow.

Guyana gained political independence from Britain on May 26, 1966 and then Second Lieutenant Desmond Roberts had the honour of unfurling the flag at the National Park at midnight on that historic occasion. Since then second lieutenants have hoisted the flag on major national occasions.

The short and simple ceremony was devoid of any speeches but President Janet Jagan on arrival was greeted by a guard of honour mounted by the Women's Army Corps of the GDF.

Mrs Jagan, Prime Minister Sam Hinds and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Gail Teixeira who were also present were escorted to the fore by Major General Joe Singh and Police Commissioner Laurie Lewis to witness the symbolic hoisting of the flag.

After the recital of the National Pledge and the singing of the National Anthem fireworks exploded and lit up the night sky.

Also present were a number of other government ministers and senior government functionaries. Some members of the diplomatic community left when a shower of rain fell as there was no place to shelter since the doors to the Umana Yana were closed to the public. Another hitch was that invitations to the flag raising ceremony indicated that the programme was due to start at 2300 hrs however, there were no activities until the arrival of the joint services contingents with their flambeaux at 2335 hrs. The programme actually began shortly before midnight with the arrival of Mrs Jagan.

In attendance, too, were several contingents of members of the Joint Services who assembled outside the Umana Yana compound following a torchlight parade through city streets.

Scores of Guyanese who braved the downpour and steady drizzle assembled outside the compound. Some onlookers on the road booed Mrs Jagan and Hinds as they arrived and departed.

Prior to the torchlight parade and flag-raising ceremony the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports staged a cultural presentation called 'Reflections' at the National Cultural Centre.

Though the performances were of a very high standard and highlighted aspects of the country's movement from the time of the first people's arrival to independence in 1966, the attendance at the National Cultural Centre was poor.

Among the performers were the Mainstay Dance Group, the Marigolds, the National School of Dance and Robin Van Velzen and Group, the Police Force band, the Cane Grove Matticore Group and Miriam Williams. The choreographers were Linda Griffith, Vivienne Daniels and Sr Rose Magdalene. (Miranda La Rose)

A page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples