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It was a collaborative effort between the Governments of Guyana and India.
At the grand unveiling ceremony, President David Granger said that India’s continued concern for its diaspora is reflected in its decision to support the construction of “this magnificent memorial.”
“Indian Arrival Day is commemorated today with the unveiling of this grand monument dedicated to the memory of Indian indentured immigrants whose exertions contributed to building this nation of Guyana. We are richer for their arrival and for their remaining here,” said President Granger as he thanked the Government of India for its contribution and collaboration on the project, and the donation of the sculptures.
He said the Indian Immigration Monument symbolises the ties of blood and history between Guyana and India.
“This monument site is a shrine to Indian immigration and to the migrants’ adoption and adaptation to their new homeland,” the President said adding, “This Monument not only casts an eye backwards to our past and but can also help to advance towards a common future, a future for all of our peoples.”
The President noted that the Indian Arrival Monument recalls the Indian indentured experience, celebrates the migrants’ resistance, resilience and resourcefulness and attests to the immigrants’ sacrifices, struggle and the pursuit of a good life.
“Indians have made indelible contributions to the nation’s cultural, economic, political and social development. These contributions have ensured the community’s progress and has advanced the nation’s development,” the President stated.
Indian indentured immigrants first arrived in the East Berbice-Corentyne Region 181 years ago on 5th May 1838 in search of a good life. It was through the abolition of Indian indentured immigration intensified migrants’ efforts to integrate more fully into Guyana’s multi-ethnic society.
Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam said he is pleased that the Indian Arrival Monument was unveiled on Indian Arrival Day.
“India is proud of the Indo-Guyanese achievements and the role in the development of Guyana. It is India’s endeavour to continuously strengthen its engagement with the Indian Diaspora,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Shri Akhilesh, who is on his maiden visit to Guyana, said the erecting of the Indian Arrival Monument “is the finest example of working together.”
He said the moment is a symbol of deep ties, love and affection as he reminded that Guyana and India have always shared “deep, intimate ties.”
Following the collapse of the Monument in April 2017 during its construction phase, the Indian Government sent an Architect, a Sculptor and an Engineer to oversee the completion of the project.
The unveiling ceremony was also attended by First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger, Prime Minister Mr. Moses Nagamootoo, his wife, Mrs. Sita Nagamootoo; Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan and his wife Sita Ramjattan; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams, SC.; Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally; Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton and Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson along with other ministers of Government, Members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps and regional officials. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency)