Latest update March 22nd, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 11, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – History speaks richly of the early, lengthy glory of the Roman Republic that became the Roman Empire. Rome was the world power of its day, and then it all went to pieces, with decay and self-destruction ruling for centuries. Leading men consolidated near absolute power in themselves, and a cabal of cronies and elites, while the landless and powerless lived in poverty and helplessness. Rome stands as an abject lesson of an Empire that had it all, then squandered it all, through internal bloodletting, and the partisan wars that pitted men against men, class against class, leaders against subjects.
It is that term, ruthless partisan warfare that should strike a chord with Guyanese, of what destroyed the Romans. The internal bickering, endless squabbling, draining, self-destructive wars that knew neither limit nor logic; only that they were, and they damaged beyond repair. The message for Guyana, every citizen, is how having it all could still result in being left with having nothing at all.
Today, we, the Guyana people, our approximately 750,000 citizens, stand on top of the world. In the estimated great wealth per head that is ours, in the rich promise that our destiny could hold, in all the measurements, calculations, and projections that can be made and attached to us. We have it all, and all the world rushes to pay homage to us, so that what can be extracted from us, is done so with speed, energy, and skill, and come to pass. Guyana is the latest, greatest, oil wonder of the modern world. Guyana is the darling of all, the envy of all, and the joy of all. And it is all because of our almost overnight oil wealth that is the stuff of fable.
Yet here we are wasting the moment, sabotaging our own great flight to the heights. Our biggest thrill is to stick it to neighbor and fellow citizen demonized as hated adversary. Our energies that should be concentrated to fight for the best possible returns from our natural resource endowments are hemorrhaged away with partisan battles that cloud our visions of what could be, that limit our sight of how we are hurting and damaging ourselves in senseless conflict, ongoing contradictions, every step of our way.
In parliament, this is the rotted state of what should be our noblest of institutions. In what passes for national discourse, exchanges, debate, there is almost never any agreement on where the gaps are, where we are going wrong, and how we must turn the corner, if only to give ourselves a fighting chance with the great gifts that are ours. In our relationships with each other, there is the folly of disunity, the ugliness of bigotry, and the pervasive disharmony that dogs the existence of Guyanese. This contributes in many ways to the horror and terror of being left out and falling behind in this time that should be the most rewarding in all our existence.
The poor resent the powerful; the rich dismiss the demands of those who are without. Leaders live more for lies than what could lift up the people. The irony is that when just a fraction of the nation’s extraordinary patrimony is set aside for exclusively the benefit of the needy and poverty stricken, then that same small fraction could spark the prosperities due to the lot of them.
As Guyanese leaders and Guyanese citizens consume themselves in the self-wounding, self-weakening, and self-defeating, circling predators that covet our wealth prosper from our divisions and deep hatreds, and they grab at the richness that belongs to us for themselves. Our wars leave us prostrate, our politics mangle us, and our culture continues to kill us. Like the Romans caught in the throes of their self-destruction, it seems that we also are similarly helpless, and unwilling to stop and start towards a new vision, a more enriching destination.
Oil makes all things possible, but only if we are at our most sensible. Togetherness must be first. For, if it is any other way, then we rip ourselves apart, and our exploiters pick up the pieces. This cannot be what this incomparable oil wealth means to us, what we gift to our children.
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