The Anniversary of our achievement of Republican status occurs at a time when our people especially those on the East Coast of Demerara are still reeling from the destruction of homes, property and infrastructure. Many families are still struggling to recover from this tragedy which has destroyed their livelihoods and peace of mind. Thousands are still unable to come to terms with the effects of the floods, the loss of lives and the many challenges ahead. They are still in mental turmoil as they consider by what means they will commence the restoration of their livelihoods. This has compounded the existing difficult situation of the people of Guyana who are already reeling from the consequences of poverty, unemployment and a lack of faith in the future.
We, Guyanese are a sensitive and understanding people. The pains of our affected brothers and sisters are felt by all. We are heartened by the response of our people as they support, comfort and sympathise with each other. We showed great resilience under the stress of our troubles. The readiness with which our people moved to help and cater for the needs of others is commendable and points to the possibilities for national unity and cohesion. This readiness has been complemented by the generosity and sensitivity of the international community which did not fail the people of Guyana in our time of need.
The events surrounding the flood, its impact and the nature of our varied responses remind us in dramatic and poignant way of the responsibilities of Republican status. We are responsible for our security and our destiny. We are responsible for protecting our fragile environment. We are responsible for ensuring that we are able to respond to similar challenges to our peace, safety and security. Republican status is neither a mere formality nor the symbolic removal of the formal ties of colonialism. Republicanism includes the nurturing of a national ethos which encourages us to accept our national responsibilities and the need to protect the land and people of our beloved country.
At this time as we celebrate the 35th Anniversary of our Republic, let us be reminded that we have to transcend partisan politics and be inclusive in our Governance to achieve the objectives of that status and realize the possibilities that have eluded us over the years. Unfortunately, the recent handling of the floods in Guyana seems to ignore this reality.
Let us therefore use the opportunity of this Republic Anniversary to renew our commitment to protect our precious land and its people. The lessons of our current tragedies should be that freedom; development and prosperity are only won and preserved at the price of vigilance, care and preparedness. 
Obviously, we are unable to celebrate our Republic Anniversary with the usual festivities and joyousness. We are rather moved to sober contemplation and prayer. Nevertheless, the sobering thoughts of the possibility of destruction and our need to be more prepared as we defend our young Republic against all odds.
People’s National Congress Reform
Flood Crisis Centre
Tuesday, February 22, 2005