Last evening the APNU+AFC held a moving tribute to reflect on the two hundred Guyanese who lost their lives due to COVID 19. The emotional tribute was held at the Promenade Gardens which saw a display of 200 candles lit in memory of the each of the precious citizens who have died due to the pandemic.

At the simple ceremony chaired by Natasha Singh-Lewis M.P. the APNU+AFC Members of Parliament stood in quiet reverence to the lives lost. The programme of quiet reflection was filled with prayers from Moulana Asif Williams, Pandit Dineshwar Jaiprashad M.P. and Pastor Rev. & Prophet Dr. Orlando Vasquez. Musical renditions by Yolanda Adams and Chhor Jhamelaa by Pandit Dineshwar Jaiprashad filled the quite evening breeze.

In his statement reflecting on the pain of the moment, Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon M.P. highlighted the many Guyanese families troubled by the pain of this loss and cautioned against us becoming numb as a nation to the devastating effects of the pandemic which has plagued our Country and the rest of the world for the past year.

He stated “this candle light vigil is a gesture that represents our commitment to every Guyanese citizen. The pain we feel unites us to one another as a single people with compassionate hearts. May our prayers strengthen the consciousness of our shared humanity and advance national unity at a time when harmony is a vaccine that seeks to comfort and empower us as one people, one nation facing the COVID-19 pandemic threat that is no respecter of age, race, culture or gender.”

He continued “We also do this as an acknowledgement and reminder that more needs to be done by the Administration to enforce the measures which are meant to keep us safe and prevent more loss of life. May this be a resounding gesture of gratitude for the health care worker who tried their best to comfort and restore health and wellness. To heal we must remember, not just as individuals but collectively as a nation. And as William Bruce Cameron said ‘Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts’. We are here because every life is important, every life matter, every Guyanese counts.”

In her closing appreciation M.P. Catherine Hughes urged all citizens present to spread the word and shine a light on the need for all citizens to wear a mask for their safety and of others. “We must be our brother’s keeper”. END

Note: Full text of Mr. Harmon’s speech is attached with photos of the ceremony.

Tribute to 200 Guyanese lives lost due to Covid 19.

Address by Leader of the Opposition Mr. Joseph Harmon M.P.

March 5, 2021

We gather here tonight as a nation in mourning, to pay tribute to the lives we have lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is now 200 Guyanese that are dead and for many months we have grieved by ourselves but tonight, we grieve and begin healing together.

As the poet John Donne wrote: No man is an island entire of itself; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.

We pray for those that died and for the families they’ve left behind. We also pray for the countless relatives who had to surrender their loved-ones without the familiar funeral ritual due to the imposed COVID-19 guidelines which only intensified their sadness and sorrow. Further, as we acknowledge the deaths, we remember each person and the life they lived.

We have been fighting this pandemic since March 2020 and appear to have grown numb and desensitized to the statistics of the death toll. Hence, I encourage you to see that every number represents a life and the families that are affected.

Covid-19 left in its wake a sobering awareness that we are all united in the sadness that we recognize tonight. It is my abiding hope that we as Guyanese emerge from this ordeal with a renewed wisdom to appreciate simple moments, to imagine new opportunities and to open our hearts to each other.

Therefore, this candle light vigil is a gesture that represents our commitment to every Guyanese citizen. The pain we feel unites us to one another as a single people with compassionate hearts. May our prayers strengthen the consciousness of our shared humanity and advance national unity at a time when harmony is a vaccine that seeks to comfort and empower us as one people, one nation facing the COVID-19 pandemic threat that is no respecter of age, race, culture or gender.

We also do this as an acknowledgement and reminder that more needs to be done by the administration to enforce the measures which are meant to keep us safe and prevent more loss of life.

May this be a resounding gesture of gratitude for the health care worker who tried their best to comfort and restore health and wellness. To heal we must remember, not just as individuals but collectively as a nation. And as William Bruce Cameron said “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts”. We are here because every life is important, every life matter, every Guyanese counts.