Since 2000, Guyana has been struggling to find strong, competent and unselfish political leaders who will place the country and its people first. The fact that things have not evolved the way they should have over the last fifteen years is due largely to the greed and selfish behaviour of the nation’s leaders, especially those in the last administration.
The people have found themselves in a seemingly never-ending nightmare, where they have had some of the same parliamentarians for the last two decades. And even though some have proven to be noble, others were out of touch with the needs of the people and, in some cases, are believed to be corrupt, but they have managed to stick around.
The last administration governed Guyana into the ground and rocked its foundation with corruption, endless scandals and theft of state funds. Numerous charges of embezzlement should have already been filed. This may not be considered politically correct, but the people, especially the poor and the lower working class have suffered terribly.
Unlike the PPP, this government seems to understand that the most crucial elements needed for the development of any nation starts with education, health care and public transportation. Each must be accessible and affordable. By the natural order of things, a healthy, educated and mobile population should bring sustainable development.
Unfortunately, Guyana has had to deal with illegal drugs, crime, extra-judicial killings and a government that was considered the second most corrupt in the Caribbean, after Haiti. Apart from raping the treasury and violating the rights of the people, the former administration had no vision of how to develop the country. Educating the masses was not part of its agenda.
While the poor struggled to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, the leaders enjoyed the luxury of never having to concern themselves with such necessities. While the roads in poor neighbourhoods had huge craters, the leaders had good roads leading to their high-end properties. While the leaders drove around in the most expensive SUVs paid for by the taxpayers, the poor continued to pay ridiculous transportation costs to and from work.
And while their children go to the best private and public schools in the country, the poor have to send their children to the worst public schools. The leaders ensured crime is controlled where they live by having regular police patrols; they also had access to quality health care overseas and from the best private facilities at home, whereas the poor had to endure the poor services at the public hospitals.
After almost 50 years of independence, the poor still do not have access to proper health care, education, affordable housing and decent paying jobs. They have nothing much to celebrate.
Since independence, successive governments have handed Guyanese a six for a nine in every election cycle.
With a struggling economy, chaos in the sugar and rice industries, high youth unemployment, increased poverty, falling commodities prices and a huge national debt, the country can ill-afford the extravagant amount of G$300 million to celebrate its 50th independence.
This government has essentially maintained the status quo where the rich continue to get richer at the expense of the poor. The distance between the rhetoric and reality is so wide that it has become injurious to the average citizen. The political speechifying and empty promises must be a thing of the past. A new kind of politics has to be injected into Guyana. The people must seek proper representation. They must be given a greater role in policy-making if this country is to develop and move forward.
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