After two days of boat racing on the Bassac River in Kandal province’s Takhmao town came to an end on October 30, Prime Minister Hun Sen praised the event, saying that it had occurred because Cambodia has peace and progress across all sectors of the economy and society.
He noted that this year, the government is unable to hold an official celebration of the water festival in the capital as Cambodia prepares to host the ASEAN summit and related meetings this November.
“Though I was only able to attend [the boat races in Kandal] for a short time, I noticed mainly that all of our people, though of different political affiliations, still show solidarity with each other,” he said.
Hun Sen stated that racing boats had come to Kandal from across the country to compete and the boat crews were full of strength and energy, which he attributed to the spirit of solidarity and national unity that was the result of the peace Cambodia enjoyed.
“Because we have peace, we can have such celebrations without the fear of any gunshots or terrorist attacks occurring. Because we have peace, we have the development we’ve achieved today.
“Not just the government but all people must strive to maintain this hard-earned peace. At any cost, we have to maintain the peace,” he said.
Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn said that the two days of boat racing had 92 long boats and 5,330 boat racers participating.
He estimated that on the first day about 50,000 people had watched the races and on the second day around 60,000 people had attended the event.
“Everybody is happy and it is safe to attend this event thanks to peace,” he said, echoing the prime minister’s words.
Kandal province held its two-day boat racing event along the Bassac River bank on October 29-30. The province also held an exhibition of Cambodian products during the day while at night people released lanterns into the water and a fireworks display was staged along with a concert.
Separately, Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspections Men Sam An said that at the presentation ceremony for the prizes for the winners of the boat races held on October 30 that thanks to peace in Cambodia people’s livelihoods were improving and they had rights and the freedom to celebrate national holidays and religious celebrations.
“We held this boat race to provide the people with joy, so they can visit with each other and show solidarity with each other and our strength through unity will maintain Cambodia’s long-standing traditions,” she added.