Kaieteur News – It is natural for every soul on Planet Earth to ask what a new year will bring to them and their country. For Guyanese this becomes a pressing mental inquiry each year.
It has not been a country where things positive and comfortable have been happening for decades and decades. I have always listed Guyana in a category of stagnant countries where pessimism is obvious to those who are not even looking. It is a group of three countries – Cuba, Russia and Guyana.
It does not appear way into the distant future that the people of Russia will ever discover a mountain of freedoms and rights that so many countries have enjoyed even if interrupted at times. Vladimir Putin is a deadly autocrat that would not hesitate to kill those who oppose him
But Russia is not as poor as it was 50 years ago. At the moment its economy is doing fine and has been in steady shape for years now. Cuba is a sad example of a country the past 30 years that has gone absolutely nowhere. It must break the heart of all human beings to see how Cubans are running all over the world just to ensure survival. Doesn’t that remind you of a certain nationality when Guyana collapsed under the weight of Burnhamite dictatorship? We here in Guyana must welcome the Cubans and allow them to have a future.
Guyana has never had a prolonged period of economic and social deprivation as Cuba. The Guyanese character has never been shaped by centuries of pessimism as the Russian temperament has been. The Russian character is an introverted, maudlin one, while the Guyanese personality is based on a West Indian style of life even for the religious communities of Hinduism and Islam. There is too much psychic integration between Canada, the UK, the US and the Caribbean for Guyanese to be forever gloomy.
But in a comparative context Guyana has been an unhappy place whose philosophical efficacy is stultified when compared to our neighbours. We have never produced anyone coming close to Bob Marley, Rihanna, Harry Belafonte, Sydney Poitier, Garfield Sobers and Usain Bolt. The Caribbean has three Nobel laureates. None is from Guyana.
We have not produced a triple centurion in cricket – Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica have. We never had a Premier League footballer, Trinidad and Jamaica have. A Guyanese is not the cricketer with the most wickets and the most runs among West Indian nations.
There have been winners of Miss Universe and Miss World from different CARICOM countries but not Guyana; not that I approve of those types of contests and think they should stop. We have no Olympic gold medalist, other CARICOM nations have.
In an act of insane decline, our GDP and GNP were ahead of Malaysia and Singapore in the 1950s. It is comical to make the comparison now. We have been a sea of storms since the 1950s. From the internecine conflicts in the 1960s that produced the most tragic act of violence in the Caribbean in Wismar right up to March 2020, we have given the Caribbean a bad name. People around the world know about Guyana only for Jonestown. Both the world and the Caribbean tend to be fed up with us. Now we give the world another sickness in what happened days ago in parliament.
Things funny, weird yet morally and philosophically unacceptable happen in this land that simply do not happen and perhaps will not occur in any other country no matter how shambolic those societies are. Which country has a human rights body that remained silent when the world watched an incumbent party trying to rig an election for five consecutive months?
Which country has a NGO whose raison d’être is to ensure the society maintains a culture of transparency but turned a blind eye when the election commission of the country that administers the national elections was the very body that was involved in rigging the national poll and that NGO was completely silent? Name a country in the world where a newspaper columnist wrote that the grandfather of an engineer knew the columnist’s father and because of that the engineer wants to sue for libel. Name such a country where such incredible non-logic would occur.
Can things change from 2022? No one can predict the future so the answer can be yes and no. But it was the famous Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci who observed that the optimism of the will must at all times be greater than the pessimism of the intellect. Speaking for myself; some sections of society’s acceptance of the rigged March 2020 election has driven home the lesson that Guyana has deep-seated monsters that should be exorcised. If we don’t do that, there will be no tomorrow.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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