The Alliance For Change and Guyana Action Party are concerned that the Government of Guyana is proceeding to host Mashramani celebrations in the midst of the recent killing of 23 persons and the displacement of many communities as the joint services hunt for the perpetrators. The AFC and GAP are of the strong view and opinion that the vibrant celebration of Mashramani will be inconsistent with the poignant fear and frustrations of Guyanese being experienced at this time, and will only add fuel to an already frightened society, confused as to what our national priorities and focus are presently. In a democratic society people are free to do as they please but ought to be aware of the concerns of others.
We therefore urge all Guyanese to spend the day of February 23 - in a solemn manner and to have very limited celebrations at this time when there should be national mourning and to reflect on what has transpired in the last month, and where we are headed.
For those who choose to celebrate Mash we would suggest that they wear a black armband or place a black flag/cloth on their vehicles or homes as a mark of respect. These persons should be aware of the fact that the excessive use of alcohol and the images of merriment could, and are likely to be, considered insensitive and offensive to the families of victims and to the hundreds of thousands of Guyanese who remain in shock and mourning at recent events. Celebrations should therefore be softened if they are to be proceeded with.We therefore call for Saturday, February 23, 2008, to be a day of National Mourning, Prayer, and Reflection. All Guyanese should take time to honour and remember the lives lost, and to reflect on the condition and ill health of the Republic on its 38th anniversary. Guyana is in a perilous state and only a combination of divine intervention and a display of unity at every level on the part of our leaders will lead to the establishment of a just, peaceful and wholesome Republic. The Inter-Religious Organisations and all religious leaders are urged to mark Republic Day observances by joining the call for a day of mourning, prayer and reflection.