Many public speakers like to use the phrase “Children are our Future” but in reality I believe children are our today. We have to nurture them in this disconnected world and teach them that if we want things to change, we have to change things. By this time in our life as a country we should have been proud of our accomplishments, we should tingle when we sing the National Anthem or say the pledge, and we should be flourishing as a nation with one destiny as one people.
Guyana is like no other country on Earth – and Guyana is like many other countries in the world. The story of our history is one that has been told a million times over for the years, yet it is unique in that the people of Guyana own it. In fact, we live it every single day.
This could be a classic, tragic love story with the citizens playing the part of the naïve and trusting doe-eyed lover and the leaders playing the part of the shrewd and conniving trickster who takes everything the sweet lover has to offer, knowing full well the lover will give every ounce of heart and soul, and then runs off leaving the unsuspecting lover with a shattered heart and an empty pocket.
In short, this tragedy is the story of Guyana – over and over again, until our pride and determination have been utterly crushed. Jaded cynicism and a weary heart have replaced our once vibrant spirit and optimistic worldview.
GUYANA IN CHILDHOOD:
During our childhood days after independence, life seemed fine until the teenage years kicked in. Like rebellious teenagers, wanting to do their own thing, Guyana did just that. Nationalisation, Socialism and Dictatorship were all components of the young teenage years.
GUYANA THE ADULT TODAY:
Our young adult years to this point at 42 have been characterized as a nation in “a crisis of governance.” These are exactly the words used by a World Bank report. Among the many problems facing Guyana are the following:
• The existence of an autocratic and racially divisive government
• A small stagnant undiversified economy
• Cultural separatism
• Social disintegration and social ills
• The existence of death squads
• A nation in exile
• A government pursuing Marxist philosophies
• A major transhipment hub for drug trafficking
• Human trafficking
• A government pursuing that is hostile to the West
REBELLIOUS AND WAYWARD:
Guyana’s political culture was born in a crucible of ethnic strife even before it gained independence from Britain in 1966. Its political culture has been premised on racial defensiveness and competition, political tribalism, adversarial politics, leaderism, clientelism, party paramountcy and finally patronage.
This political culture permitted Burnham to abandon political morality and the noble quest for national consensus and then move to dictatorship. It is also this very culture that permitted Dr. Cheddi Jagan, despite his fine works in Opposition, to turn his back on a promise of a national government and move instead to consolidate one-party rule through the PPP/C, which has now deteriorated into a high-handed, unaccountable, inept, racially-driven and racially insensitive governance that has further encouraged and sustained the political instability in Guyana.
The PPP/C’s overall strategy is to rule unilaterally and with impunity. The PPP/C leadership believes the West will not intervene because Guyana has had free and fair democratic elections and because the PPP/C has shown the world that the USA and UK (“The West on Trial”) illegally and conspiratorially kept them out of power under the pretence of preventing another Communist country in the hemisphere during the Cold War years and they continued barrage about the PNC days.
This attitude demonstrates the wild young adult attitude, unwilling to settle down and nurture the young generation of today. Guyana is a political failure in many ways. Racial competition, ideological differences, leadership ambitions and geopolitical issues have all attributed to the state of Guyana today, which is the total institutionalisation of a weak, racially polarized and un-progressive political culture.
As the saying goes though, at 42, many people go through what is known as a “Midlife Crisis” After this crisis, many settle down and become stable and parental realizing they must make it in life for the benefit of their children. Guyana is going through its midlife crisis, but not as fun as many may believe it can be. The repercussions of this crisis are significant. The declining economy crisis, the drug crisis, crime crisis, nothing is fun of our midlife crisis.
John Stuart Mill said, “The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.” Fuelled by futility, mediocrity has long been the acceptable attitude for so many Guyanese. It is so easy for a single individual to feel overwhelmed at this daunting task and believe there is nothing he or she can do to change the state of our country. However, the question should not be “Should I try?” or “Why should I try?” The question each Guyanese is obliged to ask themselves is, “How can I not try?”
We have allowed this mediocrity to rule in our hearts and as a consequence, instability has ruled our nation. Any type of growth, whether political, social or economical, has been stunted in the wake of our indifference. By allowing ourselves to be duped, we have no one but ourselves to blame for not tossing the lying and lazy politicians into the overflowing drains that they have neglected to maintain. Fortunately, all is not lost, for the drains as well as the nation can still be repaired.
If the people of Guyana rise up to their moral and civic responsibilities as citizens, we can ensure a future of hope for our children and for their children. This is our country and it is time to reclaim it by asserting our responsibilities to each other as friends, neighbours, business associates and fellow countrymen.
We are ready to come out of the wilderness, out of our midlife crisis, we are ready to settle down, we are ready to exploit the six key assets of our nation and to ensure a successful economy and a flourishing society through the implementation of the National Development Strategy in the areas of our:
• Strategic location
• Abundance of natural resources
• Highly qualified human resources
• Potential for oil
• Incredible biodiversity
• Large landmass
Take heart WE Guyana, because our future is not in the hands of the current tricksters. Our future is in our hands alone. In my book “The Road to Eldorado” I wrote that Guyana’s future, as did her past, lies in the hands of the people. When as a nation WE Guyanese realise and act upon this crucial point, then and only then will we see the type of changes that will turn the wretchedness of our nation around.
Happy Independence. God Bless. ([email protected])
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