Big investments, little hope?

On manifestoes, and Mashramani again

From my teenaged years, through adulthood to my current pre-seventies, a word associated with my Guyana, which I’ve long been impatient with, is “potential.”

Guyana, with its creative people and vast, varied natural resources, has been described, for decades, as “a country with enormous potential.” Alas, will I ever experience first-hand, the actualization of this now legendary “potential?”  The management of our economy’s resources under successive administrations since the fifties has never made manifest for the masses the results and rewards this potential should have offered.

Through shrewd economic management at personal levels, through dedicated persistence and by way of crookery, corruption, nepotism and discrimination, many individuals and groups have indeed been “fortunate” enough to reap the rich fruits this “potential”—the land, the rivers, the minerals, the agriculture, the sand, the trees—but honest, hardworking folks have managed to remain only “the employed poor.”

It seems that the combined efforts of government and the private sector do not really result in the small man enjoying the generally good life.  Actually, there are times when self-employment, with a little illegality or exploitation, is a better bet for personal prosperity in this land.

Why does real wealth not trickle down to the poor and dispossessed? Employment at a new company, work on a government project, expansion by an overseas group in Berbice, labour on a ship, even the rich Bishop’s preaching all never really see “the workers” being able to build homes, own creature comforts and save for illness and death.  This might be the order of things for class-ridden society (?)

Let hope spring! The projects!

Yes, hope and optimism keep the poor going. Hopelessness in any society paralyses the very spirit! “Hope springs eternal; in the human breast,” I’m told.  One month ago, I actually heard “testimony” from Barama Company drivers, joyfully explaining how their tough forest employment gave them the good life when they made the time. Small miners often “make it” too.  That’s more like it, but massive development programmes must enable the private sector to empower the working class.

Now just check this impressive list of hope, published over the past fortnight. News of projects galore! Here goes: the European Union is giving our sugar sector 24.9 million Euros this year. A CGX oil rig has just arrived to commence drilling  offshore. Australia has indicated its willingness to “collaborate” in our mining sector. REPSOL Helicopters are just here in connection with the offshore drilling.  The EU will also fund a $615M hydro system at Kato, Region 8. 30,000 houselots will be delivered over the next five years, assures young Minister Ali. Guyana’s Middle East envoy is to promote “re-invigorated” ties on our behalf.  Canada’s Reunion Manganese Company will quickly plug US$250M into the Matthew’s Ridge area to mine that ore. Matthew’s Ridge expects a boom.  A giant American oil and gas company—ANADARKO— has just reminded us of Guyana’s potential in oil and gas.

Oh! Our beloved DEMICO is opening a brand new sports bar at Stabroek Square and the fried chicken will taste better!

Okay Guyana, I now curb and control my cynicism.  Let’s check on the progress and happy consequences by July-end of this year.

One from the manifestoes

Election campaign manifestoes always tell of the best desirable intentions.  The PPP/C, the AFC and the APNU promised us the good life,

Good thing I kept all three manifestoes.  Because all three parties are now in a position to deliver, my people!

But for the first in my “series” I choose one of my favourites from all three: how they will approach the Guyanese Diaspora.

PPP/C says, “We intend to very aggressively mobilize members of the Diaspora to bring their capital and knowledge…”

AFC promises to “conduct a global survey in the diaspora to determine their skills, talent and investment in Guyana…” this is one of a 7-point AFC Diaspora policy, the best of the three parties’ offerings.  I did not find APNU’s Diaspora programme.  (My eyesight is limited?) stay tuned for more on campaign promises.

More on Mash

Pointedly, respectfully, I appeal to stores and companies on Regent, Robb, Sheriff and Water Streets in Georgetown to participate in some aspect of the Mashramani festival!

The Float Parade? The Matticore Ceremony? Steel band concerts? Prizes for the Best Decorated building? Children’s drama? Call the Secretariat please.  Telephone 226-4764. Thanks for being part of our/your celebrations.

See you…

Prisoners have rights too. However let’s examine quickly how we could make them proactive and self-employed. In Georgetown and elsewhere.
Check out hard labour for violent crime in T&T

Both the ICC and WICB contradict themselves. More next week.
’Til next week!


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