Latest update May 31st, 2023 12:59 AM
May 26, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We are so Independent 57 years later, that our elected leaders cannot face the Guyanese people and speak to them in a simple, honest, and trusted manner about the most important economic endowment that this country has ever received. Guyana’s oil wealth is a taboo subject for His Excellency, President Ali who is nowhere around when the interest is in oil. When Vice President Jagdeo, the man leading the charge with our oil speaks, he sounds like an echo of Exxon’s President of its Guyana operations, Mr. Alistair Routledge. The question is reasonably asked: who the real president of Guyana is, if not Exxon’s Routledge, who can speak freely about oil, dictate conditions to us, and be confident that President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo will toe his line.
The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Norton, is no different from the two government leaders. The Independence that Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham fought for, these three national leaders in today’s Guyana give up without a fight. Instead of all three of them leading a concerted charge for better for Guyanese, they are constantly turning around and charging upon their own hopeful Guyanese brothers and sisters. This is the Independence that we live with today, where our major political leaders are shackled and yoked to the foreign oil companies, and cannot open their mouths for fear of swallowing their tongues.
This immense oil patrimony, which should be even more wonderful for all citizens, given Guyana’s small population can provide for economic independence, social independence, and mental independence (emancipation, as Bob Marley exhorted), but only if husbanded and midwifed well. It requires more than intelligence and skill, and calls for more than lovely leadership soundbites. The kind of independence that this oil wealth guarantees could only result from leadership honesty, and political integrity of the highest order.
A truly independent and patriotic leader, a totally uncompromised one, can state his people’s case in the strongest terms and draw a line, about what moves ahead, or what must come to a standstill, if the fair and reasonable expectations of citizens are not fulfilled. Independent and uncompromised leaders do not camouflage truth, do not erect long verbal smokescreens, do not clothe themselves in the garments of concern for foreign investor nervousness. Independent, uncompromised political leaders of caliber, and of singular prowess, fearlessly prioritize the aspirations and interests of their own people.
We make no claim, cast no aspersions, as to who is not mentally independent, or who is compromised in some way or the other. All we do is to ask on this Guyana Independence Day is who among our leaders have stood up and stood strong in manifesting the kind of unflinching leadership when this oil and what Guyanese get from it must be the only conversation. Look at the facts and circumstances on the ground, as evidenced in their own words and postures, in what they face boldly, and what they shrink from timidly.
When our leaders should be advancing in a straight line with this oil, they make spectacles of themselves by crawling around in circles. When they should be talking in frank and authoritative terms, they are constantly hedging, splitting hairs, stonewalling, concealing, and obfuscating. The biting irony is that as they carry on in this pathetic manner, almost half of the Guyanese population are scratching out any living than they get. There is not enough spending power to access basic items to put food on the table. There is more often than not the situation where the children leave home with little in their stomachs, less in their lunch kits, and nothing in their pockets.
This is the hard and crying reality of Independence 2023, when Guyana is hailed and cheered as the richest country in the world. If Guyanese, who are the richest in the world on paper, cannot buy adequate food, then this oil has fallen into the wrong hands. As history has testified ever so frequently, foreign exploiters have always made good use of weak local collaborators in the leadership class to suppress their people, and then reduce them to economic slavery. Happy Independence Day, Guyana!
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