Who says Guyana is a poor country? Okay, we can hear the resounding `me’ being belted out by many because after all it is no secret that our country is poor compared to many.

But there was a reason for asking that particular questions. Recently we decided to sit down and do an analysis of how much money Guyanese spend on ‘sporting’ and clothes and a number of other seemingly unimportant things in life. And while we don’t claim the credentials of an economist we can tell you that the sum is astronomical. We consider essential things as food, clothes (but not the fashion slave outlay), shelter, education, church and a few other things. But we certainly do not consider going to every ‘tinning cup that knock’ as important but unfortunately (and that is our opinion) many Guyanese seem to think so.

We heard a comment recently about how many persons would be “sponsored” for tonight’s Music Festival billed for the National Stadium and it was said that many of them have their monies coming through Western Union. We have no reason to doubt that statement because it is highly unlikely that so many Guyanese would be able to afford sponsorship for the million and one events they attend on their salaries. And then they are many of them who do not work but yet they are at all the different shows wearing clothing that some of us can only dream of possessing. And when there are no shows you can bet that they are hitting the clubs every weekend having a jolly good old time while many of us are struggling to just put food on our tables.

So because of what we have been observing we decided to ask that question but mind you we were not looking for an answer as we are quite aware of what the reality is. Guyana is a poor country. And there is no shame to that, after all we are a developing country, but sadly what is also true is that many of us do not depend on the support from our overseas relatives only for our mere survival but also to fund the fun part of our lives. As soon as some of us hear of a function coming up we get on the phone and call up our many relatives asking for sponsorship. And in some cases many of us lie to our relatives claiming to be ill or claiming to need the money for some other urgent business. When all we need is money to purchase a new outfit which will be worn to an upcoming event.

In our haste to get the money for our enjoyment some of us never take a minute to think how hard our relatives have to work for the money they send. Or how the relatives leave themselves undone many times to ensure that you get the money for the ‘illness’ or to satisfy whatever urgent need you would have indicated to them. So Guyanese have developed this culture of dependency on their relatives overseas to assist them in every little thing they think they need to do. We are not saying that assistance from overseas is not good or that some of us would definitely not survive without that extra piece we receive from our relatives. However, there is no way we could condone what we would describe as the blatant disregard for the hard work of our relatives. Disregard we say because if we had any regard for the work of our relatives we would not be asking them for money to attend shows. And mind you there are some relatives who ‘spoil’ their loved ones back home by sending money for them even though they are aware of what the money will be used for. They should know that many times parents spend the monies on shows tonight and tomorrow they have nothing to give their children to eat.

That is the reality and it is something that we just thought we should touch on. We know that not everyone would agree with our sentiments but what we also know is that it is the truth and most times the truth hurts. We strongly feel that Guyanese should spend their monies more wisely even though we know all work and no play ‘makes Jack a dull boy’. However, how could it be right that we spend money to go to all the shows? Money that we do not have until it is doled out to us by our relatives, as against spending it to sustain ourselves and families or on education for ourselves or children.

There is no need to go to all the shows, unless of course you are wealthy and can afford it. But if you cannot afford it why overstretch yourself? Once in a while yes we agree we all need some recreation but why must so much money be spent on partying. And before we go just a little bit of caution, Christmas is just around the corner and we know many of you ladies are already counting the number of things you need to purchase for the home for the holiday season. However, we would suggest that the curtains you used last year, which came down just after the season and have been packed away ever since, could be used again this year. We beg you not to spend unnecessarily because you know you would need some of that same money come next year. (thescene@stabroeknews.com)