We are a nation of different ethnic and religious groups. Our fore-parents and parents have been trying to build unity in this rich, unique diversity. And yes, there has been much success.
Many commentators are inclined to present this rich diversity as an obstacle rather than an opportunity for us to make Guyana a bright model of tolerance. Already, our unique, high level of religious tolerance and cultural understanding is admired here and abroad.
But as another year comes to an end, we need some deep introspection as a nation. What have we done with our personal, community and national lives? Is our country much richer and united than it was when compared to the previous period? At the end of the day, the answers lie in the quality of interaction with each other.
Overall, the country has achieved remarkable success, especially in light of the devastating flood of January which, expectedly, will seriously retard economic growth. Very few had expected the government to afford the impressive increase in public sector wages in light of the natural disaster and the shocking rise in fuel acquisition cost that have bled our economy. ECLAC estimated that 60% of our GDP was wiped out by the flood and that portended a negative growth rate at the end of the year.
Notwithstanding, we see more investments, better opportunities for our young people and a country, which is affected by crime, still continuing to make incremental advances in a hostile world economic environment a la the EU sugar price cut for ACP countries and a drop in international development assistance to all developing countries.
Our pensioners have just received a whopping 75% increase, followed by the public sector payout of 7%, additional support for the rice industry and a special bonus for our Disciplined Services. With the little we have as a country, it shows that our priorities are right. There is emphasis on rewarding those who keep the engine of our State and economy turning.
In fact, Guyana continues to be a place where good things are happening and still many brighter days lay ahead. Look at every single community and there are signs of progress.
We need to reject those pessimists and doomsday preachers who sound like all is lost. They only seek out and even invent ills in our society. They celebrate what is wrong. They find little time to recognise the good, positive and promising things amongst us. They sacrifice the interest of society on the altar of power, greed and opportunism. They are the first to complain and the last to offer solutions. They are from a bygone era. They belong to the past and preach anachronistic solutions. They certainly do not capture the imagination and aspirations of our future generations. With them, we can hardly go anywhere as a nation.
As we prepare for the New Year, we must think more positive and clearly. Let us do not allow anyone to make us despair, and be less than positive about the future of this country. Next year being an elections year will see continuing efforts to frustrate our people and more of an effort to drag the country into a climate of despair and hopelessness. Efforts will be made to instill fear about this period. But we all must fight back these efforts and do what is right for our family and country.
For too long some have preached unity and tolerance, but quietly all the while and in their little corners, do things which are contrary to this spirit. Some of our leaders have been failing in this regard. They need to lead more from the front than from the flank. There is too much emphasis on what divides us rather on than what unites. We seldom speak about the collective dream of our nation and people. Or is it we don't dream about our country?
Children dream of becoming the President, a policeman, a soldier, a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, a farmer, a journalist or an accountant. And this is good. Individually, we must dream of bettering ourselves and families.
But we must see Guyana like a bed occupied by different people. In so doing, we must then reflect whether we all share the same dream. Is it a case of same bed, different dreams? I hope not!
The positive collective feeling in us must overflow. This season is a most opportune time for us to move in this direction. The dream we all must entertain of Guyana is a land of unity, peace and security.
As we contemplate over this long holiday weekend, we must spare sometime to dream big and bright about our country. This is our own space or our own precious bed.
Let's make next year one in which we share the same objectives and certainly the same dream for this beautiful country.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Same bed different dreams? - Robert Persaud
Here is Robert's Persaud's Christmas message. He never fails to amaze me.