Skip to main content

Senior Advisor Sawislak Participates in Guyana Independence Day Celebration

As prepared for delivery


Remarks by
Josh Sawislak
Senior Advisor to the Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Guyana Independence Day Celebration
New York, New York
May 26, 2007


Thanks very much, Arthur Piccolo.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke …

Ambassador Bayney Karran …

Felicia …

and our friends and special guests from Guyana and the United States…

Good afternoon.
On behalf of GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, I’d like to welcome you to the magnificent Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.  We’re gathered today in one of the most significant historic buildings in our national inventory of 425 historic properties across the country. 
I am honored to stand in this 100-year old landmark building and celebrate Guyana’s independence.

How intriguing that this building honors a man who was not only one of America’s founding fathers, but also a son of the Caribbean.  Born on the island of Nevis, Alexander Hamilton came to New York as a young man to learn and prosper.  He was a true American patriot who fought along side George Washington in the battle for America’s independence.  With his words and his actions, Hamilton championed the rights of all men to be free and to be treated with dignity and respect. 

As a young man living and studying not far from this very spot, Hamilton wrote in 1775 that “the sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records.  They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature by the hand of the divinity itself and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” 

God has made us free, Hamilton argued, and no man, be he lord or king, has any power to deny that right. 

The bonds that link the United States and our ally Guyana go beyond our love of freedom.  Our two nations share a commitment to free public education and the belief that education is the key to raising the standard of living for our citizens.

I was impressed to learn recently that Guyanese account for the fourth-highest number of foreign born residents in New York City and are renound for their entrepreneurial spirit.

Another bond is our shared appreciation of the arts – I’d like to thank and congratulate all the performers who participated in the earlier festivities.  I’d like to close by congratulating the Independence Day award winners, and all of you who are helping to “Take Guyana to Higher Heights!”

Thank you so much for allowing my wife Elaine and I to be part of today’s celebration.