The leaked embassy cables come at a time when we are preparing to go to the polls, the timing I am sure is a Godsend for some, for I am sure that some of the revelations will be used for political mileage.. However, if these revelations only serve as political ammunition then we would have missed a golden opportunity for self analysis and change. For regardless of Mr. Jagdeo’s dismissal of the information currently being disseminated, these transmissions were not fabricated for malicious political intent.
These “secret” diplomatic communications represented the opinions of resident American diplomats based on their interactions with the key players, local sources, media and of course data collected by the resident CIA station chief, the consular for political affairs and other embassy staff. That the critique crosses all political spectrums is proof that there was no obvious political axe to grind.
Mr. Editor, these cables are damning, but they give us an opportunity to see ourselves through the eyes of our guests. From the PNCR’s leadership struggles, to the theories surrounding the assassination of a government Minister, the facts are laid bare. What we witness is a government that wants assistance and monetary help, but places restrictions on the donor nation.
We see drug cartels infiltrating the corridors of power, but senior government officials waffling at the establishment of a United States Drug Enforcement Agency office/ presence in Guyana. We see the murders and the troubles through the eyes of our diplomats and hear them using terms and statements, like, money laundering and Narco- state, convention center as “white elephant”, student scholarships being revoked because of parent’s political affiliation/ loyalties, and we get a picture that is not flattering.
When taken in conjunction with the current high percentage of un-employment especially among the youth, problems within the police force, out of control crime, government corruption, admission of failure within the sugar industry, and a total neglect of the poor and working poor of this nation by the government and the picture is just plain ugly.
Many of the supporters of this PPP/C regime will find ways to explain all that ails Guyana, pointing their finger somewhere else. Others will find it hard to see that as a representative body, their MP’s have not represented them well.
For their loyalty they have been given poor governance, terrible secondary roads, shoddily built kokers, schools and markets. Coastal rural Guyana is still mostly islands of poverty, while the hinterland remains a place where time has stood still, and even though vast wealth is extracted form the heart of their lands the Amerindians remain the poorest of the poor.
This is the result of a system where the ruling party in government is beholden to no one and accountable only to itself. There are no systems of checks and balances, no recourse for the disenfranchised and no consultation with stakeholders on matters of national development and national security, this is elected dictatorship.
This year we have an opportunity to put an end to this type of rule, and replace it with a government of national unity. To return to the politics of the past will only quicken the pace of our demise. From the same leaked cables we were informed of what we already knew, that more Guyanese are residing outside of Guyana, than are living within; the number of Expat-Guyanese is a staggering one million.
If there is no change and we continue down the road that we are on, the projections are for a 35 percent decrease in the population to fewer than 500,000, in the next two decades.
Mr. Editor, the future of this nation, come Election Day, will be in the hands of the two most neglected and marginalized sections of our society, the youth and the poor.
I don’t know what they will do when they enter the polling both, but the choice they make will have long term consequences for our survival as a nation. I therefore urge these two important sectors of our society to take their future into their own hands.
Change is needed in Guyana but it will not be achieved if we continue to do what we have been doing and expect a different result that is madness. Change is not a spectator sport, so be the change that you have been waiting for.
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