In a world that shrinks as the microprocessor squeezes every bit out of every nanosecond, this nation must start thinking of our place in the global village.
What space do we want to occupy? What role do we want to play among the nations of the world?
The space on this global stage, this 21st century world, that the Guyanese nation plays on must inspire, energize, motivate each of us to reach for our potential.
As much as the nation harbours a corporate potential, a national dream, each person as an individual must nurture a personal potential, an individual dream. And we want to be so designing our space – personal and national – that we each day strive to reach that potential.
The metaphor of this world being a global village, shrink-wrapped in electronic technology, works well to define our generation.
Marshall McLuhan, a professor at the University of Toronto during the Cold War, coined the term ‘global village’ to mean a world shrunken and reachable at any instant.
In a world driven by the economic imperative of swirling market forces, two advantages arise from a shrunken world: we could get ahead if we educate ourselves, and the world literally lies at our feet.
This techno-driven global village works in a very democratic way. Because of a system of Meritocracy, and the ease of trading services, goods and information throughout the global economic system, anyone could get ahead, from anywhere in the world.
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As a Guyanese people, we stand integrally linked to the developed world.
Our identity as a British commonwealth nation, our affinity with the Caribbean peoples, our family ties all across North America, our geographic embrace of South America with the growing linkages between Guyanese, Brazilians and Venezuelans, our ancestral ties to Africa and India and China and Europe – these all position us for a dynamic and inspiring role on the world stage.
We have an Amerindian community that is our national treasure, a people of such beauty of character and gentleness of spirit. As a people we’ve got what it takes.
Maybe we lack personal dreams. Across the land people seem less inclined to dream of personal achievements.
Peter Drucker, the great management guru, noted that people in the situation of a global village social environment would aspire for personal satisfaction. We would, he said, live for aspirations rather than acquiring stuff.
The global Occupy movement sweeping the world shows that young people reject their parents’ idea that a house and car and career were worthwhile life goals.
These youngsters want to feel they play a role in shaping the world, in designing how the global village works for the global citizen.
Here in Guyana, people design innovative solutions to migrate. The government and other national leaders fail to inspire people to build a dream life here, and so they look to other countries, other social spaces, where they could aspire and grow and live a worthy lifestyle.
So opportunists and greedy, unscrupulous vagabonds fuel ways to illegally channel desperate people to North America.
This country has become a haven for back-tracking, human smuggling and illegal migration. And the government seems unable, or unwilling, to put an end to such practices. The nation loses as people look to this as a life solution. People stop thinking internally and start looking externally for their dreams.
Hundreds of thousands of our brightest minds have thus moved away from this blessed land.
In fact, word on the street is that illegal migration of foreigners, including Cubans and Chinese escaping communist oppression, is a brisk business here.
What’s the solution?
The government needs to engage the nations where Guyanese flock to – such as the Caribbean, America, Canada, Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname – to work out a way for bi-lateral people exchange to happen.
We need skills and other resources from them, including their systems and ideas of how to develop our social spaces, and they need our ingenuity and life-skills.
Guyanese have a unique set of life-skills, such as fluency in English, intelligent and hardworking, friendly and of a western mindset.
We export these around the world, only we use illegal methods and unscrupulous criminals who believe that they provide a vital service in smuggling people illegally into other countries.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said government’s open to the Diaspora playing a greater role in national affairs, without detailing how this would be done.
One way is to engage governments where Guyanese reside in great numbers, and since the local population is so small, offer an attractive incentive for a free flow of skills, resources and investments back and forth.
Well-to-do Guyanese already invest heavily in America and Canada and the Caribbean. Gafoors has some key holdings in Caribbean countries, including Barbados.
Stats show that an astonishing 10 percent of the Barbadian population has Guyanese roots.
This nation would take a huge leap forward if we approach the Americans, the Canadians and the British governments with a proposal for how Guyanese could contribute to those societies.
Guyanese are already doing exactly that, playing such a dynamic role in all those countries, and in several Caribbean nations.
We are an icon on the world stage, but our government shuts down any initiative that plays to that amazing opportunity.
With a President and Prime Minister of the previous generation, one is quite pessimistic that such initiatives would be adopted anytime soon. But let’s hope that the younger folks in the Cabinet and in Parliament, including Education Minister Priya Manickchand, Youth and Culture Minister Dr Frank Anthony, and others such as the Foreign Affairs Minister, would act on this as a matter of urgent national development.
In a world reduced to an electronic village, migrant Guyanese already play a dynamic role. Let’s incorporate the homeland in this, with a clear government policy as to our place in the world.
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