It is that time of the year when people from far and wide come home to celebrate a unique Christmas—the kind of Christmas that only Guyanese can make happen.
No one who has lived in this country can ever forget what it is like at Christmas time because that is the time in this country when people forget all animosity and share whatever they can with the needy and the less fortunate.
It is the time when people open their doors and welcome even strangers because Guyanese always want to see a smile on people’s faces this time around. It is this spirit that has every organization taking Christmas cheer to the less fortunate in the senior citizens’ homes, orphanages and hospitals.
In recent years, the government always ensured that people had something extra to spend by paying them money that represented increases in wages and salaries.
Before the government intervened when the wages talks broke down people were paid their increases at the start of the year in the wake of budgets that analysed rates of inflation.
The critics should also remember when a previous administration reneged on paying a promised wage on the grounds that the government needed to build a hydroelectric plant.
This government still constructs whatever is necessary but finds money to ensure that the people are adequately compensated to combat whatever inflation there may be. Evidence is found all around, not least in the bauxite industry, in the sugar industry and across the Berbice River.
This year was harsh in many respects. For one, food prices soared and on the back of that speculators pushed up the price of oil that keeps the wheels of industry turning.
People in poor countries like Guyana did not escape the harsh reality of globalization but the government ensured that Guyanese did not feel the full effects.
There was the payment of what has become known as the cost of living increase that accompanied a five percent pay rise.
The government did not allow the fact that it was being called on to spend so much more on imports to cause it to ignore the human element. Instead, it turned its attention to the people without whom there can be no economic development.
That being the case, people were made to feel reasonably comfortable although they were not in any way rich or earning at levels that could be considered extravagant.
The trade unions did not grumble or threaten any industrial action because they knew that the government had done the best it could for the people.
Indeed, the workers in the sugar industry pressed for higher pay and made demands that the Guyana Sugar Corporation could not bear. In the end they received a pay rise that sufficed but in reaching this agreement they hurt the industry to the extent that it lost significant sums of money.
For all the gloom that the critics kept lamenting about, airlines increased the number of flights to and from this country. That could only have been possible because they knew that Guyanese were not so poverty stricken that they would not be able to maintain traditions and customs.
The increased flights also come on the back of a successful fight against hardened criminals who were prepared to snuff out the lives of the innocent; people who had killed nearly three dozen people in a series of massacres that this country will never forget.
When news spread that the police had captured or killed some of the most dangerous criminals that walked the land, those who had vowed never to come to Guyana once these killers were on the loose immediately made arrangements to come home for a Guyanese Christmas.
It has long been said that Guyanese are a truly resourceful people and although the economic crisis hit hard in the Diaspora, the Guyanese there kept remembering their relatives back home and they maintained the tradition of packing and posting barrels and crates for their families back home.
To further nail the lie that the government has further impoverished the people, the very people are out on the streets filling the shops and stores.
Everyday the streets are chockfull of shoppers although many of them have not even received their salaries for this month because they were able to save for this season despite the so-called hard times.
To help them the government has subsidised many of the basic necessities. It intervened to ensure that transportation costs were slashed.
The government has other measures in place to further make life comfortable for its people and in the days ahead these measures would be unveiled.
Already the government is spending millions of dollars to ensure that homes are not without electricity at this time when in the past there were almost incessant blackouts.
The critics should remember the days of a previous administration when blackouts were more certain that electricity. The government has ensured that this would no longer be the case.
There is no one who would rush to blame the government because they know that their financial position could have been worse. Those old enough to remember would know.
They know that the New Year would bring additional comforts because some very large investments promise even more jobs, not least among them, dozens of additional jobs in the bauxite and sugar industries.
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