The past year has been quite eventful for several reasons. As we put 2012 behind, we must do introspection of the past 365 days. We must, too, appreciate the fact that we have lived to see the end of another year and have survived the many challenges that came our way during the past year.
It is the human resource — people of every corner of our country – which is responsible for nation-building. When our people work hard, our nation develops and grows. Guyana’s economy is said to have grown a certain amount during the past year. Undoubtedly this is not by accident; rather, it is as a result of the hard work and determination of our people, combined of course, with the policies of our national leaders.
Speaking of which, our country has failed miserably to bring about political cooperation during the past year. Our national leaders have not been role models to our young children and the youth in society to show what it means to build cohesion and work together for the common good of the country. Instead, our parliamentarians have shown discord and rancour, putting themselves and ambitions first, forgetting their constituents and taking advantage of a one-seat majority, abusing the situation and resulting in the House not being as effective as it should have been in 2012. It was a failed year for the Guyana Parliament, and Guyanese are woefully disappointed in this. On the world stage, we are being mocked. This is not how we build a democracy.
And Guyana is in dire need of building. Just look around; see the unsightly surroundings, and unfriendly spaces. Customer service in stores, restaurants and other business places is very poor. People are no longer courteous in their day-to-day dealings. Police stations are not encouraging places that encourage citizens to go and make reports or tell their problems. Bribery is the order of the day, everywhere and on every tier. You don’t need any fancy international report to tell you that. It’s as plain as day, and to go about denying it and telling fallacies is just sinking our heads more into denial.
2012, in my view, saw the tragic demise of the University of Guyana Berbice Campus (UGBC). As a result, there is currently (for the past 2 months) a sitting professor/scholar – sitting at home, doing nothing, ready to work to advance our nation through his fantastic ideas, but at home at the will of those in the corridors of power. Sad indeed. Since when can we afford to have such servants as Dr Daizal R Samad being treated with such disdain? This is nothing short of intellectual punishment. It is said that the best way to punish an intellectual is to have them confined in their spaces and have them incapacitated, so that they cannot do anything. It is this pain that is being inflicted on Dr Samad, a true patriot and servant of this nation.
In 2012, we have anything but progressed in the arena of internet experience. In fact, we have regressed and Guyana just cannot seem to have reliable super-fast internet connections. The sole provider of telephone and internet services is taking advantage of the situation and ripping off the consumers in Guyana. Customers, in 2012, continued to pay for internet services and speeds that they do not access. With a weak internet backbone, our nation cannot really move forward to keep up with the rest of the world.
Blackouts continued last year; in fact, we had more blackouts than the previous year. The power company and government continue to give excuses. Amaila would not come on stream for many, many years, so Guyanese will continue to suffer these blackouts this year, with more excuses from the powers that be – pun intended.
2012 saw Guyana having its first FM private radio station. This was a positive for the country. It will give the other FM station a run for its money, and competition, too. The new FM station has a very reliable online stream, unlike the other FM station whose managers clearly do not value online broadcasts or see the internet as a pivotal source of broadcasting. I hope we have more private stations in this new year.
2012 saw me going through a physical transformation; one experienced as a result of weight loss. My weight- loss revolution which started in October 2011, flourished and climaxed during the past year, seeing me lose 100 pounds of fat. For the first time in my life, I started to wear smaller clothes and I was healthy in all aspects. I know a lot of persons thought I was sick, and I had to answer a lot of questions about the weight loss, especially the number one question: What made me do it?
But my transformation has allowed me to feel new, feel more confident about myself and deserving of the finer things of life. Most of all, I am thankful to my family, especially my mom, dad and sister who supported me through my weight-loss journey and to a very special person who made me do it all.
Penning these few lines for the conclusion of this year, I am full of thanks, and relief too. Hope has opened many doors, many of which were closed over the past weeks and months. The clouds seem to be moving away, bringing to the fore sunshine and bright, blue skies. Things seem to be falling into place. God is good. I am stronger and more than ever determined to go full thrust into the future, into 2013.
The new year will bring much more work to be done. I am prepared to spread my time doing what I love, teaching, helping others, and reporting in a fair and unbalanced manner.
There is so much work to be done in Guyana. And I am prepared to take the bull by the horns and do it. I am there to serve. I am appalled by the violence towards women and children, and the corruption of high officials and the police. I wish I was superman, but I am not. I wish I could do so much more for my country.
I wish I could do more for women who are abused and battered by their partners. I wish I could do more for those who are underprivileged in our society. Particularly, I wish more could be done for gays and lesbians in our country; so that their rights and preferences may not be trampled upon by those in the corridors of power and in society in general. They have no voice in our nation; no saying at all in the shaping and formation of policies that can benefit them and that can protect their rights and guarantee them a place just like the rest of society and heterosexuals. Gays and lesbians are marginalized in Guyana, like they are in most Caribbean states, with few rights and a lot of condemnation by our society, especially some religious leaders. They are denigrated by music and in slang and insults. Boys who appreciate the more tender and softer side of life and find pleasure in reading, music, art and such like activities, are taunted and looked down upon by their peers and by those in their schools, and even by parents.
They are viewed ‘lesser males’. Many males, too, live in a form of denial just to please those around them for fear of being victimized and tormented. After all, being a homosexual, especially in this Caribbean region, in Guyana, would not at all be acceptable in terms of what the ideal ‘Caribbean male’ is. This is what a lot of males in Guyana face today. I wish I could do more to help them. They need a voice. They need a loud voice.
I wish I could do more to help those animals who turn roadkill on our roadways. They are sliced, diced and strewn left, right and centre on our roadways by careless motorists. Our animal population of dogs and cats is on the rise. We have lost all control of the pet population in Guyana. So many cats and dogs roam our surroundings, with no one to care for them, no food, no medication for their health, and they keep multiplying, over and over. I shudder to think how overrun by dogs and cats Guyana would be in the coming year. And we have not a plan in the world to deal with this.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Let us work to build Guyana in 2013. But more importantly, let us work harder to build up our brothers and sisters around us; build their spirit, build their joys. If we can do this; if we can build upon each other’s strengths and weaknesses, our world could be a much, much better place.