President David Granger has repeatedly underscored his vision for national development. The President has made it clear that the coalition administration views development as the improvement of the standard of living of all Guyanese.
Moreover, His Excellency has expressed the conviction that it is the duty of government to ensure that every citizen be given equal opportunities to pursue a happy, productive and meaningful life.
That being the case, it is evident that government must necessarily invest more resources in some communities compared with others, because, in the past, under the previous regime, the residents of some areas were neglected and virtually forgotten. Therefore, going forward, if equity of opportunity is to be achieved, government must carefully plan how resources are to be most efficiently utilised.
It is no secret that the most neglected citizens of Guyana during the 23 years of the PPP administration were hinterland residents.
In His Excellency’s address at the National Toshaos’ Council meeting at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Georgetown, on August 28, 2015, President Granger noted that, “The former [PPP] administration’s hostile attitudes and divisive policies impaired social cohesion, undermined our sense of solidarity and impoverished a large section of the population, alienating the hinterland regions and gradually creating ‘two countries’ instead of cementing our people into one nation.”
It is public knowledge that the previous regime, deliberately and systematically sought to drive wedges between and among groups of Guyanese. This policy of division by the PPP was part of a strategy that offered favours to its favourites but inflicted unbearable burdens to others. If there remains any shadow of a doubt that the actions of that administration were intentional, one needs only to observe the current disruptive behaviour of Bharrat Jagdeo, Leader of the Opposition and pay attention to his poisonous rhetoric to confirm that he — and by extension his party — continues to pursue that destructive agenda.
One major consequence of the PPP’s agenda of division was the creation of a syndrome of dependency in neglected communities. The motive for doing that was evidently to create and maintain a situation where hinterland-based Guyanese were forced to be quiet in the face of massive injustice because they were made totally dependent on handouts from the PPP government and were therefore also forced to cooperate with the despotic regime.
The APNU+AFC coalition is determined to reverse the damage, repair our broken nation, and foster an atmosphere of community partnerships, social cohesion, and national unity. After all, it is only in such a context that all Guyanese can have equal access to the rich resources of our country to which we are all entitled.
In the words of President Granger, “All Guyanese are entitled to a ‘good life’ in the country of their birth. The foundation for such a life rests securely on ten pillars — a sound education, satisfactory employment, economic opportunity, individual equality, political empowerment, a sustainable environment, good governance, national unity, public security, and social protection.”
It is with those objectives in mind that President David Granger proposed a five-year, ten-point Plan of Action for Hinterland Development. The Plan is intended to raise the standard of life of hinterland-based Guyanese, thereby closing the gap between conditions on the coast and those in Guyana’s interior. The ten components of the plan are:
1. Hinterland Education Support Programme
2. Hinterland Poverty Reduction Programme
3. Hinterland Infrastructure Extension Programme
4. Hinterland Energy Development Programme
5. Hinterland Employment and Youth Service
6. Hinterland Happy Household Programme
7. Hinterland and Indigenous Peoples Land Commission
8. Hinterland Language, Cultural and Sports Commission
9. Hinterland Tourism Development Service
10. Hinterland Public Service Provision Scheme
The President has said that his administration is committed to the democratic course towards the realisation of inclusionary democracy, equitable development, equal opportunities for all, environmental sustainability, economic self-sufficiency, preservation of cultural identity, elimination of extreme poverty, rapid economic convergence, end to exploitation, and educational opportunities for everyone among other goals. It must be noted, that even though those goals are worthy objectives in their own right, they are also steps along the road to the ultimate ideal of a good life for all to which the administration remains committed.
As government continues to work towards the goal of equality for all, the administration encourages all Guyanese to continue to bear in mind that we are all our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. As a people, we should work towards fostering a culture of caring about the wellbeing of our fellow citizens. We should endeavour to develop in our own minds, a mentality of unity, and an attitude of national oneness. Division and enmity have not worked in anyone’s interest; it is time to adopt a different attitude.
This coalition government remains committed to building bridges among all communities and groups in order to enhance mutual understanding and improve the well-being of all our citizens.
The APNU+AFC coalition in government will continue to work towards promoting inclusionary democracy in local or village communities and also at the regional and national levels to ensure that all voices are heard.
In the words of President Granger; “The APNU+AFC coalition is a visionary combination of political and social forces that will ensure that a real government of national unity emerges, not a bogus civic alliance; that our multi-ethnic, Multi-cultural society provides a place for all citizens to prosper; that our people- regardless of their gender, geographic location, class, creed or ethnic origin- enjoy a good life; that an environment which is free from the ravages of poverty and discrimination and from the scourge of criminal violence, epidemic disease and ignorance is created and that information and communications technology is extended to all corners of our great country.”
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