Kaieteur News – “Development will only occur when we learn to get past our differences.” This was what a Guyanese shared with me the other day. I totally agree. It is why I have the interest, take the time, focus energies to contribute my two cents, or half a cent, to the urgent national need for getting to where we should developmentally, by overcoming what stands as the rigid differences inhibiting our way.
Development for today’s purposes is defined as the national spaces and heights that Guyana should occupy, considering our cornucopia of rich gifts. Differences are that combination of negatives, handicaps, and limitations that dilute national potential, drag down individual and collective will. We can and will attain a state of development that sparkles, but first there must come the willingness to learn from our past mistakes, our present errors. I have made them, am almost certain that faltering will visit again.
One of the major differences that haunt and hurt badly is that we tell ourselves that the fount of knowledge and wisdom is ours exclusively. Notice that I say ‘we’, so all are included. Development will not occur with the quality, speed, and durability that it should, when what is seen are enemies in the midst. Indeed, it is an almost insurmountable difference, for there is instant dismissal of any idea that clashes, no matter how slightly, with what is held as infallible. Because it comes from me, from this side of the social equation. For example, I say to a leader of standing that this oil can be managed better, and the result is not just merely hard disagreement, but attacks with weapons dripping and reeking of malice and vitriol. The acids within have corroded whatever ability there was to think expansively, cleanly, unselfishly, and nationally. Truly nationally. Therefore, narrow purposes are served by the willful abandonment of any ethos that lifts past differences, that holds the probability, however unlikely, to power us to the development mileposts that should be ours for the taking.
It starts with managing ourselves better. I call on our leaders and groups. No idea should be too radical, or too alien, that it is swept off the table of consideration. No individual is so treacherous as to be detrimental to national progress. No conversation is so contrary that it is instantly derided. As a sign of my own expansiveness, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo is very much part of any formula that works. So, too, is the Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton. It is a sign that, despite the handiwork of Dr. Jagdeo (and he knows that ultimately the sum of it is his) hurled in this direction, I can still rise and encircle him as part of the solution. I publicly table that as standard, a tiny value paradigm, for getting past grievous differences that infest any one side. I totally disown any association with what embitters.
We all know that raw bitterness has poisoned us so much that we have come to love to drink from that lethal cup. Our history hobbles. Our punishing memories do not allow recalibrating and restarting. Unless differences, whatever they may be, are worked through honestly, worked around constructively, they will forever haunt this nation, and dilute its raw development potential. Racial differences can be overcome, but they will not be, if we permit ourselves to be enslaved by the demons that twist thinking, warp spirits, cloud eyesight. Political differences will never be given a chance to mend, but fed with any fuel to fester. Leadership differences (they with me, or vice versa [or with each other]), will perpetuate when grudges tarnish mentalities, make the environment radioactive. I will not participate in the self-destructive, what devastates nationally.
The nourishment of wisdom rests with sincerity, plus a little humility, as bolstered by a lot of integrity, which can only provide us with the attributes that make us into masters of our own destiny. The insights will come, and the courage of convictions. This is neither concept nor of the abstract: apply all of these in our economic and political environments, and the results will confirm.
About five years ago, I stated publicly that the oil contract is disliked, but that it is infused with blood money, and terms to match. Nobody listened, everybody smirked. Today, the Venezuelans speak about their fears [allegations] of American intervention on Guyana’s side of its border dispute/controversy. The detested 2016 oil contract bonded Guyana to Exxon, which meant America is bound to Guyana. It is the steepest of premiums, but today that genie fills the room. I hope that our differences with Venezuela can be dealt with satisfactorily.
We can develop, but there must be harder, really genuine, trying at getting past our debilitating differences. It starts with developing ourselves, and in the quest for self-improvement. As thinkers. As writers. As leaders. As a citizen, a neighbor, and a contributor. The unselfish and self-sacrifice are mandatory ingredients of any national success story. It starts with me, and not the other man, must be my mentality. It begins with what I can do today, with learning from what happened yesterday. There is growing, with growing there is developing, and with developing, there is the opening for differences to be overcome. Maybe there are many Guyanese who think the same way.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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