This week, as we prepare to usher in 2013, we want to reflect on the past 365 days. At the same time we want to map a mental blueprint for the next 365 days.
In reflection on the past we find the wisdom and knowledge of experience. In resolving to plan and design the future, we prepare the way to achieve our dreams.
As a nation we failed in 2012, in a number of important areas. Our most telling failure has got to be the continual acrimony and strife that tear apart our body politic.
But, also, our capital city, the beloved Georgetown, remains mired in backwardness, filth and atrocious mismanagement. Local communities remain without elected leaders.
Our State media remain the laughing stock of the Caribbean media landscape.
Sadly, in 2012 we saw the slide of our cricketing prowess, with incompetent political interference damaging the administration of the game.
In these important areas – cricket, the capital city, municipal elections, disharmony of national leadership, and the strangulated State media – we lost our opportunities to rise in 2012.
Personal growth and development starts with an inner resolve to make something of this life, to strive and work hard and train and push against the odds.
It is no different for a nation. We must resolve in our hearts as a people to want to make something of our gifts and our blessings in 2013.
We must resolve not to waste another year, not to again stagnate as a poor nation, ranked with Haiti and Nicaragua as among those with the lowest per capita GDP in the Americas. We must resolve to rise, to be innovative and responsible for our destiny.
We start 2013 with dreams in our hearts. We start the new year hoping, believing that it will be a good year.
For the Guyanese nation, do we start this new season of life with a resolve to make the Guyana Dream real?
That, in essence, is our blueprint. We must harbour a national dream in our hearts. We must feel the pounding of that hope for Guyana shaping the rhythm of our days as we each work to build our nation into a world class society.
Building anything takes special effort, inner resolve and determined discipline. Thus it is for our nation. We must, with resolve and discipline and belief, determine to make 2013 our best year yet. Many citizens see this as quite the impossible task, blaming our national leaders.
The leaders in turn blame the people. Among the Parliamentary leadership, the Government and the Opposition slam each other as the scapegoat for why Guyana is this way.
In our brain drain we face a crushing problem, with no real wisdom from the leaders on how to attract the skills we need for developing this land.
As we look to shape our destiny, as we advance along this second decade of the 21st century, we must start thinking innovation. It’s a new world out there, with technology now so pervasive and so easy to use that real development actually lies at our fingertips.
We don’t have to build big factories and massive highways and industrialize our land.
All we have to do is encourage our citizens to develop their human capital, to live as innovative thinkers and be entrepreneurial in outlook.
We could leapfrog the development process right into a modern 21st century society. Others have done it, including South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. We see it happening in Caribbean nations, with Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados rising in the global development index.
In our homeland we face a society with invisible problems.
The problems of the brain drain, the fall of the national literacy rate, and the slow deterioration of our human knowledge resource base, happen gradually, invisibly. We do not see the effects.
But the society suffers, slowly rotting away at its inner core. We could find scapegoats to blame, and the State education system comes easily to mind, along with an incompetent Government and a failing Parliament.
But finding scapegoats won’t solve our problems.
As much as pervasive corruption, organized crime and political stupidity stifle our nation, we cannot afford to give up. We cannot afford to let the society’s rot become so fragile that we collapse as a civilization.
We have a rich cultural and literary heritage. We are a gifted people. Our land is among the most blessed in the world, with no natural disaster and a natural landscape that is truly a promised land.
What’s stopping us? Why do we face 2013 with the same old problems crippling Georgetown?
In 2013 would we see a great Guyanese novel storm the global best seller list? Would we see great sportsmanship, as we saw in the Olympics from Jamaicans, with our cricket team, our national football team, our athletes?
Would we see global statesmanship from our leaders at UN forums? Would we see our people rise as an Internet society claiming its place in a wired 21st century world?
As we look back we have some cause for rejoicing. In Shivnarine Chanderpaul, we fly our flag high on global cricket fields. We remain largely a peaceful society. We have not fallen apart.
Yet, we must be very careful to eradicate the inner rot that slowly gnaws away at our national literacy rate, our local community governance, our capital city, and our national leadership.
We must turn our nation around in 2013. We must resolve to work hard to become a great nation, an innovative people, a society of 21st century class.
It takes sober reflecting on 2012, seeing what we’ve lost, facing up to our shortcomings and those missed opportunities that we failed to convert to national profit. And we must resolve to make 2013 count as a significant year for positive development in the history of our nation’s development.
Let’s make 2013 the year of the Guyanese nation leaping forward.