Georgetown, Guyana – (September 30, 2017) The youth of Orealla and Siparuta, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) dazzled Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. George Norton with their cultural performances, which were held as part of their annual Heritage Day celebrations. The Minister travelled to the far-flung Indigenous communities on Friday and today to participate in the observances, which were held under the theme ‘Guyana’s First Peoples; Sustaining a Rich Cultural Environment”.
“We have been celebrating heritage month for a number of years and every year it is becoming more and more authentic, the real thing… It is good that we are carrying on and living this culture; it is the children who have to carry on the mythologies and the stories…when they start dancing and singing at this age you can rest assured that when you’re gone they will carry it on,” he said.
Technical Officer in the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ms. Natasha Singh-Lewis expressed similar sentiments noting that the Ministry will continue to promote respect for diversity and culture. “Social Cohesion helps us to understand that we all must benefit and I want to underscore the word all - it means equal opportunity for every one of us regardless of who we are as Guyanese. Our ministry, Minister Dr. Norton, has a passion for culture and sport and there is no other way in ensuring that our culture goes on [other than] by using the younger people in your community,” she said.
Toshao of Orealla and its satellite village Siparuta, Mr. David Henry, in his remarks at the Heritage Day celebrations at both villages, expressed gratitude to President David Granger and the members of the Cabinet for respecting their heritage and for allowing observations to be held in various areas throughout the month. He then encouraged the villagers to be proud of their rich heritage and the fact that they are known as the first peoples.
Meanwhile, before the close of the programmes, Minister Norton presented a quantity of footballs and volleyballs to sport groups in both communities. He also inspected the playfields in both villages. Dr. Norton, who said he felt right at home in the villages, spent some time with villagers on Friday along Siparuta’s waterfront viewing and cheering on teams participating in water sports such as canoe racing and swimming races. Later in the afternoon, the Minister joined the exuberant villagers in cheering on footballers, who participated in a high-energy match on the football field.
In Orealla, Dr. Norton and his team participated in the village’s Heritage games, which included a competitive match of tug-o-war between residents and visitors.