On the face of it, nobody should have cause to complain. Sounds good. Looks better. Feels like the best thing that could be thought of, and then delivered to waiting, hoping, needing citizens. But that’s on the face of things only. From the outlook of this paper, there is so much more involved in the position making the rounds of oil cash to citizens.
The benevolence of good intentions, and implementation of visions that mean well and could do well. There can be no arguing with that; except there is much more that should fall within the broad, long arc of considerations.
Cash from the state serves many helpful, timely purposes. Many individuals and families that could have used the helping hand, any helping hand, benefited from the kind and well-intended consideration of government. But there is another side to the picture, a dark shadowy side.
It is because the extensions of cash and coupons are also exploited to satisfy cravings that are characteristic of empty and depraved standards lacking in purpose and drive; and contribute in so small measure to a reckless, meaningless existence.
Meaningless, that is, until the next check from government. And then the cycle of depravities and dependencies began all over again all the way to the next pay period or whenever the handout ran out, whichever occurred earlier.
We have seen them, haven’t we? The many Guyanese travellers to the Big Apple may have come into close contact with those who dot the subways, line the streets, and lurk in small assemblies outside the liquor shops. Their monthly checks are long gone; they gather and wait to appeal to the unwary passerby to replenish empty pockets and satiate addictions. Systems well-intended and altruistic-gamed and taken advantage of; compassionate people, too.
But when the waiting and yearnings are too long and intolerable, then all too easily crime is the answer. Violence results. There is a purposeless existence. Why not? Everything is taken care of, with a guaranteed helping hand from Big Brother standing as sweet, rich, and irrefutable proof. It is the view of this paper that this is not the way to go.
To emphasise this point, there is no need to travel all the way to New York to get a firsthand look. Those souls can be observed here daily. Right here, in front of the shops and yards that deal in a certain kind of trade; of responsible living abandoned, and of life itself lived in liquid or smoky hazes and satisfactions. Surely, leaders and society should think twice, if not multiples of that, before supporting such a way of life. And here is the key and warning: of meaning well, but enabling the actual expansion of such an underclass, a dependent class, a lost class, a possibly criminal class and a definitely unhealthy class.
So much more could be extended through different thinking via many different channels. All would be helpful, and better serve recipients as well as the nation at large, through more constructive use of those oil monies. The whole spectrum of infrastructure comes to mind: more ports and roads, more quality medical care (specialists, facilities, medicines), more places to house this society’s growing company of addicted, homeless, and helpless, more learning institutions at every level with attached laboratories and the highest calibre people to run them optimally. These things cost real money, as in a billion here and some more there.
No Guyanese needs any introduction to what happens in low-lying areas – usually, well populated – when it rains, or when incoming tides are high and heavy. That means money to mend and manage. To energise and attract business, the tax structure must be more hospitable (still more money to incentivise). And we have not spoken about real deep draught, ocean-going vessels, airports and bridges (and cities) to capitalise on oil and ecotourism possibilities.
Cash in hand does not contribute to sustained, quality work ethic. It ends being more of an entangling net than safety net. By the wayside goes savings discipline and the sacrifices to being family-oriented and future focused. Cash could condemn to cluelessness and classlessness. Cash could convert to the costly. Cash could kill character.
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