New Year’s Messages
President Donald Ramotar
Fellow Guyanese, a Happy New Year to you all, wherever you are in Guyana and in the Diaspora. I hope that this New Year will bring more prosperity to you in all of your personal and professional endeavours.
I urge you to re-commit yourselves in achieving all of your goals.
As we bid goodbye to the year 2012, it is customary to reflect on the year gone by. For us, it has been a year of challenges and also positive developments. In the face of a very serious economic crisis that has gripped the world, Guyana has performed well on the economic front.
We have managed the economy very well and have made progress in continuing to expand our economic base. For 2012 we expect to record a GDP growth of about 4 percent making this the seventh straight year that our economy has recorded growth.
Our sustained strong economic performance is an impressive achievement in light of the prevailing international economic situation. It shows that although we are a small vulnerable economy, the policies we implemented have allowed our economy to be resilient to the external challenges that we face.
Looking to the social sectors, I want to particularly mention education. We have achieved universal primary education, we are well on our way to achieving universal secondary education and more of our young people are accessing tertiary and university education than ever before. Our children who wrote the CXC examinations have once more captured most of the awards, given by the Caribbean examination and certification board.
Investing in the education of our young people is important for progress in our country to continue and in this case what we see is that our investment is paying off. I congratulate all our successful children, their parents and more importantly their teachers.
The same positive results we see in education can be seen in other social sectors as health, housing and other areas which impact heavily on the lives of our people. In fact we will begin the construction of a new specialty hospital that will provide tertiary health care of a high standard to our citizens.
Our housing programme has helped to fulfill the dreams of many to own their own homes. We will continue to seek more innovative ways to help more of our people to experience the security of having their own roof over their heads.
All of these achievements that I mentioned above were made in the face of a domestically difficult political environment. I had hoped that with the new configuration in Parliament that we would have had more cooperation and engagement.
In fact, I was quite hopeful and had mentioned in my swearing in speech my willingness to work with the other political parties in Parliament. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Instead what all of us have observed is that the National Assembly was transformed into an arena where the main objective and obsession of the opposition was to score partisan political points counter to our national interests.
It is now in such a state that unconstitutional motions are being regularly taken in Parliament. In defense of the rule of law and the Constitution, we have had to resort to going to the Courts.
In fact it is these same misguided positions and actions that led to some citizens being harassed and abused in Agricola and the unfortunate loss of lives in Linden.
Clearly we need more dialogue and discussions in our society. History has shown that a nation’s all round progress is always enhanced when honest debates, dialogue and compromise are the tools used in the body politic.
While the government has been willing and has moved even more than halfway to meet the opposition and compromise, we have not seen that same willingness from the other sides. I urge the collective opposition to reconsider its positions and recommit itself to the betterment of our country and the lives of the citizens of our Guyana.
This New Year, 2013 promises to be a very exciting year for us. We hope to carry forward the major projects all of which have the potential to accelerate our growth rate. We intend to continue to invest in our people.
We are working to construct new schools in the interior to ensure that all of our children, no matter where they are have a chance at a secondary education.
This year too we expect our new fibre-optic cable to be operational and that we would be able to extend its services right across our coastland and through our interior. It is our expectation that this will create IT jobs not only in the centre at Georgetown but from Charity to Moleson Creek and into our interior. All of these initiatives will make steady advances towards a modern economy and society.
This year we will also be observing some important anniversaries in the history of our country. We will be observing the 250th anniversary of the Berbice Slave Uprising, the 175th anniversary of the arrivals of Indians in Guyana and the 175th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
These anniversaries are significant to all Guyanese. They must be used to allow us to foster a greater understanding of ourselves and a deeper appreciation for each other.
These anniversaries can help us promote our uniqueness as a Guyanese people and promote our Guyanese culture that has emerged and is enriched by all of our ethnicities, and the collective experiences of our people who have made this land their home.
On this new year I ask you to join with me on the journey of realizing our common Guyanese dream of making this country of ours a peaceful, modern and prosperous society in which we realize fully our motto of One People, One Nation, One Destiny.
Once more, a Happy New Year to you All!
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds
As we Guyanese, and people the world over, approach 2013, we of the PPP/C are keeping the faith, and hope, in our people and country, planning, and laying in opportunities for the continued development of our people and country.
Today, there are many things in our country that can be rightly criticised: things of which we could not be proud – things which we must change. As members of the Guyanese family, we urge that we refrain from joining in demeaning and dismissing each other, ourselves: rather, we must set about changing things to whatever extent true; discussing and finding ways for improving the collection and disposal of our garbage; reducing corruption throughout our society; reducing our road-accident rate which, admittedly, by the most favourable measure is said to be fifty times that of the USA. Speeding and driving under the influence (DUI) are the two largest causes which we must change: which we will change by changing our habits, ourselves.
From my 45 years’ experience in the workplace, I have no doubt that once we focus on our work, and on how we work, we will get better each day and become second to none, increasing thereby our earnings and finding untold satisfaction in that very work.
Let us make 2013 our best year ever!
Brigadier (ret’d) David A. Granger,
Leader of the Opposition
Guyana’s future, in the New Year – 2013 – lies, inescapably, in the hands of our youth. We must give them the best possible preparation to lead this nation forward. We should, therefore, resolve to make the New Year Guyana’s ‘Year for Youth.’
Young people today constitute seventy per cent of our prison population. They are the majority of our poor and unemployed. They are our street children and child labourers who are being robbed of a bright future. They deserve better.
Guyana’s ‘Year for Youth’ must be one in which our young people should be able to look forward to a good life. It should be one in which fewer of them become victims of crime or are forced to grow up in hunger, poverty, on the street or in jail.
Guyana’s ‘Year for Youth’ must be one in which our young people can be educated in well-equipped and well-staffed schools; in which the high rate of dropouts from primary and secondary schools is reduced; in which young school-leavers can expect to be employed and in which the high rate of migration of educated graduates is lowered.
Guyana’s ‘Year for Youth’ must be the beginning of an era in which the education, employment and empowerment of young people are enhanced. These needs must be embodied in a new National Youth Policy that is central to the development of our nation. Let us, therefore, as we all look forward with anticipation to “a good life for all,” make the New Year – 2013 – Guyana’s ‘Year for Youth.’
My best wishes for a happy new year to everyone!
People’s Progressive Party
As we embrace the New Year, we must reflect on our challenges, take stock of our successes and celebrate our many achievements as a nation. Also, it is a time when we must dedicate ourselves to work even harder for the betterment of our families, community and nation.
In this New Year, we must all strengthen our resolve to ensure we build upon the successes we achieved both individually and collectively as a nation in 2012.
The past year was an interesting one where we continued to experience progress as nation, but this was limited by the erratic behavior of the opposition alliance of the AFC and APNU in the National Assembly and on the streets which led to the loss of lives and harm to many persons and properties.
However, the PPP remains committed to and will continue to support a pathway of reinforcing national unity in the interest of the development of Guyana so that the lives and future of all Guyanese can be assured.
The year 2013 is pregnant with possibilities given the progress we have made under successive PPP/C governments. But progress can only continue in an environment of peace and stability. This conducive environment we urge all to contribute to and reject any attempts to derail progress in our beautiful land.
We urge all Guyanese as they reflect on the past year to focus on our individual and collective responsibilities so that we can continue to build a peaceful, progressive and prosperous nation.
Happy New Year to all!
Women’s Progressive Organisation
As we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another, the Central Committee of the Women’s Progressive Organisation extends best wishes for the New Year to all Guyanese.
For each of us, it is usually a time of introspection in which we seek to assess and evaluate our respective realties with the hope for an even more rewarding year.
Let us not look mournfully into the past but wisely improve the present. New Year is the time to unfold new horizons and realize new dreams, to rediscover the strength and faith within us and to gear up for new challenges.
These challenges must serve to motivate us in recognizing that as a nation we have a lot to celebrate even though sometimes some of us do not think so. Collectively, we have moved to different levels of development right across the country. Individually, each one of us would have had reasons to celebrate personal achievements as well as family successes.
Let 2013 be yet another year in which we can set realizable goals which can serve to motivate us.
For us in the WPO, we look forward to 2013 with much optimism and hope since it is going to be the year in which we celebrate our 60 years as an organization which has been championing the issues of women and children.
It is our wish that each day of the coming year be a truly peaceful one and that there will be much to celebrate in the year ahead.
Once again, we wish every Guyanese peace and prosperity in 2013.
Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana
Warmest greetings to all Guyanese especially the workers of this country who have toiled over the decades to make it better. FITUG has, over the years, been through many challenges but at the same time we have triumphed.
Looking back to the time of the industrial revolution, it is clear working conditions were at its worst. It was the formation of trade unions that helped to improve the working standards of the people. Public-spirited individuals who felt a moral obligation to themselves and to their fellow workers and thus decided to march against injustice and help create equal rights for working-class people who didn’t have a voice and who had to endure the worst conditions ranging from the unhealthy which resulted in them being exposed to diseases to the very dangerous which resulted in the loss of lives. They were also paid very poor wages and thus were unable to maintain their families.
Cesar Chavez, a Mexican-American farm worker, labour leader and civil rights activist said: “It is ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits and vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance, have nothing left for themselves”.
This was the sad case but with the rise of trade union and other labour rights organizations, the wages and working conditions of workers’ changed dramatically. Over the years, working conditions have improved not only in Guyana but around the world.
FITUG’s New Years wish list would have to include such working-class necessities which any workers-friendly government would know that it is in its interest to facilitate. We refer to the need for an improved national minimum wage.
Reform here must cover the widest spectrum of the nation’s work-force. Tax reform also goes hand-in-hand with measures such as the first mentioned above. For too long Guyana’s working-class has been carrying a tax lowest-paid and our super salaried professional and certain self-employed whose accountants are adept at evasion.
An improved hire purchase legislation safety next should also occupy the minds of our law makers as should the immediate attention to local government reform.
Power belongs to the people but we ran the risk of first having theoretical local government and mayors in towns for life. FITUG urges local government reform and elections now.
Guyana needs co-operation, foresight and selflessness in the interest of national peace, progress and greater development.
Guyana Public Service Union
As we commence 2013, the year in which we will be celebrating nationally our 90th year of existence effectively improving and safeguarding worker’s rights. The theme “In defense of Labour Rights Nationally” appears very relevant and most appropriate if only because the industrial relations climate relative to the treatment of workers and their rights continue to be undermined.
The continued arbitrary imposition of salary increases and other benefits and conditions, in the process repudiating legally binding collective bargaining agreements; failure to bargain in good faith with recognized unions in violation of agreements pertaining to such practices; while at the same time interference in the internal affairs of unions in full consciousness of their debilitating effects on trade unions and their activities; are all within our experience and the danger of continuing as a common practice in Guyana.
These practices and actions are in violation of the constitution and laws of Guyana, and of core ILO Conventions which the Government is under obligation to observe and respect. Instead, workers have been systematically deprived of elements designed for their protection.
Additionally, the failure of certain states, donors and international organizations in their dealings with receiving states that violate the rights of workers, adds to the problem. To recognize and treat such phenomena as unacceptable, and apply corrective action such as insisting on certain codes of conduct and conditional ties is necessary and must be done.
In this context the Guyana Public Service Union has made it, its main initiative to sensitize its membership and the public at large about the need to put such differences aside and focus on national issues that will ultimately contribute to national development and enhance the quality of life of all Guyanese under the banner of justice, equity, even-handedness and fair play.
We must recognize that power resides in us and that it is our responsibility therefore to fearlessly take up the challenge to achieve our goals and objectives. I urge and invite you to close ranks and let us move forward with resilience. In so doing we will be guaranteeing to our children, grandchildren, and ourselves securing a foundation for a safe, modernized and rapidly developing Guyana in a state of good governance, with credible institutions manned by people of integrity, respectful of the rights of all inhabitants.
I take this opportunity to thank members and friends of the Union for their unstinted support during the past year. It is also projected that new and unprecedented challenges, from which Guyana would not be immune, would have to be faced in the New Year however, it has to be appreciated that dealing with the challenges of 2013 will require continued togetherness and solidarity, enhanced awareness and consciousness of the members of our Union to successfully advance our causes and secure the viability of our Union. I am inviting all members, friends and well wishers to be a part of this process.
I wish you good health, happiness, and personal success in your aspirations throughout 2013.