Nov 30, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – This is difficult to wrap the mind around. Child malnutrition cannot be, never should surface, in the country with the richest people in the world. Child malnutrition and Guyana do not belong in the same conversation. But this is the reality of children and their families in Guyana, as noted in a recently released report from the United Nations (UN). According to the UN’s report on Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition, children in Guyana are suffering from what is called ‘wasting’ which is rapid weight loss, or failure to gain weight in keeping with height. This child nutrition situation (‘wasting’) in Guyana is severe that there is the unwanted label of leading the region in this embarrassing condition.
Guyana stands as shamed before the world. After some seven years of the first discovery of oil, over seven years of being declared an oil rich state, and seven years with two different national governments, this is a slap across the face. Money is being borrowed in the billions of dollars, and Guyana’s children are struggling to get to a healthy weight level. Money is being withdrawn by the hundreds of billions from the Natural Resource Fund, but Guyana’s children are wasting. Money is being lavishly spent on infrastructure while the future of Guyana’s next generations is built on malnutrition and need in the country with the richest people globally. This is an economy that surpasses many others worldwide.
There has been much talk about food security and working towards that laudable goal. Meanwhile, there are those many families in Guyana, where underweight children stand as posters and billboards that advertise the pathetic nature of the priorities of political leaders. For a long time, Haiti has been considered to be the poorest country in this hemisphere. Yet Haiti’s level of child malnutrition is lower than that of Guyana. Haiti is not known for oil or gold production, and whenever the country’s name comes up, it is always in terms of how far it lags behind in many vital areas, and often in a condescending manner. The fact is that Haiti is doing better than Guyana where child malnutrition is concerned.
This is more than embarrassing and shameful; it is palpably disgraceful. It makes the rhetoric of both the President and the PPP/C Government look in the worst possible light. The PPP/C Government and its leaders have made it a practice to roundly denounce any message (report, comment, position) that leaves them looking less than competent, or about dealing efficiently and aggressively with the conditions that weigh down Guyanese. It is open to scrutiny on how either the President or some minister would respond to this child malnutrition (‘wasting’) report. It is from the UN, and if there is any group of experts that can deliver where Guyana and the region are on child malnutrition, it is the United Nations. We would hope that President Ali does not see it fit to resort to his usual dismissive reaction of ‘naysayers’ and what is ‘constructive.’
If the President of this fastest growing economy, and richest people, is serious about the ‘constructive’, then he should rearrange his government’s priorities, so that this is the last report from the UN, or any group, that speaks about the disturbing state of child nutrition in this country. Guyana should not only do better, but it must also be off of any such list that drowns it in humiliation. The richest country in the world cannot properly take care of its children makes us the butt of scornful jokes.
When strapped and struggling citizens do not have enough money to spend on basic nutritional needs, then there is the basis for a UN report, as now lived with, somehow. Once-a-year bonuses and handouts do little on a sustained basis to maintain health in the children. Putting up modern structures are eye-catching, but do little for those who don’t have enough to eat, and the quality foods that make for a robust condition.
This has to be where the President’s and government’s heart is. Nourish the Guyanese people properly from their wealth, so that they can contribute to development, then spending can occur with all the other priorities.
Leaders prostituting Guyana
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