If you have ever walked, drove or just simply passed by the northern entrance into the Avenue of the Republic, you probably would have noticed a group of four busts with a number of large stones
in front of them. For most, this is simply just another one of our many monuments, since only few actually know of its significance. As a matter of fact, only a handful of persons even know the name. This memento is called the Non-Aligned Monument.
For those who have no idea where it is, the monument is located on Company Path in Georgetown, in front of the St. George’s Cathedral and opposite the Bank of Guyana.
It commemorates the 1972 Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-Aligned Countries historically held in Guyana from August 8 to 11 of that same year. The four busts depict the founding leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), President Gamal Abdel Nasser from Egypt, President Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana, President Jawaharlal Nehru from India and President Josip Broz Tito from Yugoslavia.
The monument was unveiled by the then and First President of Guyana, Mr. Arthur Chung, to pay tribute to the work done by the founders of the NAM.
Beautifully and intricately designed, each of the four busts was sculpted in their country of origin and then brought to the site of where the monument now stands. Three are made of bronze and one of plastic. The mount on which they stand is a plinth made of concrete, possessing a base made of quartz stone obtained from the district of Mazaruni. Added to the four busts on the plinth are four rocks of jasper, taken from the Orinduik Waterfall. These adorn the front of the monument in a pool decorated with multi-coloured stones taken from the riverbeds of Guyana. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was made up of a collection of countries which were not formally or completely aligned or associated with or against any of the world powers. That is, any of the leading nations of the world, like the USA, England, China, Germany, etc.There are currently 120 members of the organization, inclusive of Guyana and a vast number of other third world and developing countries.
The organization was founded in 1961 by the four presidents mentioned above as well as Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, who was not included in the monument found on Company Path. All of these men were great advocates for remaining neutral and non-aligned as developing countries during the Cold War between Western Powers and Eastern Powers. The Cold War was the feud remaining between the supporters of Germany and the allies just after the end of World War II. Although the war was over, some powerful countries still had minor battles that did not change the course of any outcome. To prevent this from affecting the now developing countries, the founders of the NAM decided to band together to keep neutral and solicited the support of many other nations who wanted no part in the Cold War.
To date, the countries of the NAM represent almost two-thirds of the members of the United Nations Organization and 55 per cent of the world’s population. As was mentioned, most of the members are of developing and third world countries.
Because the NAM was a gesture done in an attempt to stop the Cold War, after it ended, there was little relevance to it. Because of this and some other issues, the Non-Aligned movement was never established as a formal organization, but simply became the name to refer to the participants of the Conference of Heads of State or Governments of Non-Aligned Countries first held in 1961. It remains that to this day. President Nehru, in his speech in 1954, described the five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations, also called the five restraints. These principles would later be carried over and serve as the basis of the NAM. They are as follows:
1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
2. Mutual non-aggression
3. Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs
4. Equality and mutual benefit
5. Peaceful co-existence
Despite all of the issues faced by the movement, it remains strong and the memories of its necessity remain in the minds of those who were there. For those who weren’t, the fruit of its significance stands strong at Company Path, Georgetown as the Non-Aligned Monument.