Today marks Guyana’s Golden Jubilee as a Republic. This date pays homage to the Berbice Slave Revolution led by Cuffy, our national hero. 257 years ago, he and others struck a decisive blow against slavery and 207 years later, that uprising remains testimony of a people’s determination to rule their destiny.
Whereas their eyes have not seen the glory of 1970, Guyanese owe it to ourselves and forebears never, ever, to be caught in this vice again.
This has been a remarkable journey for us, regardless of race, class, creed or geographic location. For ours is a proud legacy fighting with all our might against the brutal systems of slavery, indentureship and colonialisation. We fought not only for the moment, but to ensure we are governed by our own laws, live by our own culture, and have the welfare of state managed by our elected representatives in the thrust of building a nation of one people, working towards one destiny.
Guyanese could walk tall and speak proud under the Golden Arrowhead. And we must. Every citizen/worker has a right to participate in this nation’s bounty, shoulder the responsibility to produce for our collective good, and a duty to stand in defence of nationhood.
The processes of shaping our destiny have not been without challenges and we must continue to assiduously work to overcome. This election offers us an opportunity to enter a new chapter as one. Go boldly in your numbers on Election Day and make your choice for Guyana’s future!
Last Friday, members of the Disciplined Services voted for a party or group of their choice. Two Mondays hence the general population will vote. It is incumbent upon the state and GECOM to ensure the process is not only free and fair, but conducted in an environment free from fear and hindrance, and the results declared reflect the will of the people.
There is confidence that all Guyanese want a fair share of the national pie. Rightly so. To not vote is an abrogation of duty and disregard for a right fought for and achieved through blood, sweat and tears. Not voting denies the opportunity to determine how the revenues from oil and gas will be managed.
Thus, there is strong objection to the call to make March 2nd a national holiday. We went down this road before and it was disastrous. A public holiday hinders a commute to the poll because the minibus service, which relies on workers for their livelihood, will be sparse or not work. Guyana does not have a public transportation system to offset this reduction.
We cannot not vote, sit it out, or have hindrance in exercising this right. Your vote is your voice, and when voices are resoundingly registered, they not only serve in electing persons, but also holding them to account for the day-to-day management of your affairs. All are aware Guyana is on the cusp of economic greatness, and this election is the most consequential within recent times.
Post-election will determine what is in store for us. We acknowledge the media for their coverage on oil and gas, and are hopeful of the bounty in store for us, equally as it is recognised the media’s right to tell their truth and reference their sources. Their role has not only aided a more empowered society, but confirms how important it is in holding leaders to account and achieving a just society. These are vital components for transparency and more even development.
It has not escaped attention that the coalition government has demonstrated responsiveness to public criticisms and recommendations. Amidst criticism of the Local Content Policy, Kaieteur News on 20th February reported the Energy Department said the policy remains a “live document,” and stakeholder comments on any aspect, including levels of disclosure, continue to be welcomed.
Score another one for Guyana! Were this a Bharrat Jagdeo administration, or he playing a role in any, this would not have happened. His is a record, and the party under his leadership, where whatever he says or does becomes edict.
This year Guyana is entitled to five million barrels of oil. Announcement by the coalition that should they be re-elected citizens will receive benefits in various forms (school, education, single parents, nutrition programme, farming, elderly, health, etc.) after a feasibility study is noted.
The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) publicly advocated for government to examine direct and indirect oil benefits/cash transfer, with or without conditionalities, after Professor Clive Thomas’ public call for US$5000 per household. We considered Thomas’ proposal worthwhile to stimulate national discourse.
GTUC registered support for disbursement of funds and/or approved programmes to be identified after careful research. This is essential for Guyana, because such programmes target the workers – past, present and potential – irrespective of diversity, and allow for equity in the system. Where there exist accusations of discrimination in this nation, such approach could represent viable measures to reduce discrimination and weld the nation together.
General attitude towards the industry indicates that even in the face of uncertainty, Guyanese are prepared to ensure they get what’s theirs. Where objective and constructive comments come from all quarters or sectors of society, from individual, media, and opinion shapers who may very well shape outlook from their commentaries, this bode well for nation-building. All groups, whether political, private sector, trade union or pressure group views should be entertained, provided they are meritorious, based on widespread consultation and decision-making.
Allowing people’s input in influencing our development gives meaning to Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution. This principal objective of the political system speaks to an inclusionary democracy, allowing for individuals and groups to be involved in the management and decision-making processes of the state that impact their well-being.
Come 3rd March, we the people must push Government and Opposition to create legislation, including a modernised Petroleum Act, that would realise the requisite programmes and policies in our unyielding quest to be beneficiaries of the nation’s bounty.
Happy Republican Anniversary!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
Apr 06, 2020By Zaheer Mohamed Port Kaituma Football Foundation (PKFF) is one of the leading sports organisations in Region One. The body was formed in 2009 with the aim of developing sports in the area. Its...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]