Wishes and gifts in this Season of Giving inspired by the gift of a Christ Child whom many Christians believe was the Word made Flesh to walk amongst us.
This Guyana Christmas falls within the aftermath of a General Election and all that that brought with it. A new President from an Old Institution once steeped in Communist/Socialist dogma and an unprecedented configuration in the Parliament’s National Assembly must be reason(s) for Guyanese to harbour both hope and despair. In terms of a glimmer of hope, allow me to wish and dream – perhaps childlike at this time of year – relevant to what political gifts this Christmas could (or should) bring all Guyana for now, the New Year and far beyond.
And be assured that my list – based on President Ramotar’s utterances and indications, as well as on the new opposition’s intimations – is both practical and desirable. Check now to see if my wishes do not coincide with your reasonable and legitmate expectation:
Immediate and Practical
Using manifestoes’ promise and policy–guidelines, the three parties should embrace the President’s tax reform programme swiftly. And the AFC’s economists should submit their strategy to lower the VAT and raise salaries and pensions. The President’s Tax Reformers should eagerly consider.
Many State Corporate Boards should be quickly reconstituted, especially GUYSUCO’s and urgent overseas assistance sought in sourcing capable managers for a period of two years.
Our education system should now attract a national body of experts to assist the enthusiastic Minister now that teachers will receive better salaries; with the same approach being afforded the University of Guyana, and sure, private, corporate interest should join the academic community in running the refurbished University’s affairs.
Others have come up with their sentiments and suggestions with respect to our Police Force, so I need not dwell on that except to repeat the need to accept British and American assistance promptly. My list certainly demands freedom of information legislation. Corruption would take a solid punch of prevention when an effective FOI law is passed here. Notwithstanding the necessary “regime of legitimate exceptions”, all transactions, investments, negotiations done in our names, with our money, must be able to bear legally–enforced scrutiny, upon request.
Diaspora, my “Big One”
Oh for a clean, beautiful Capital City once again – as in my childhood. Local elections or not, let there be a swift transformation of governance and urgent specific projects for municipal improvement. (Weeks ago, as I walked around Paramaribo, I realized what a (more) wonderful capital we have but we have all made it ugly and stink!)
Cleaning and administrating Georgetown must accommodate my ground scheme for rehabilitating street people! I’d love to see new legislation empowering the social/public welfare people to invite long-term street-dwellers—homeless and junkies—to spend time at rural rehab resorts to benefit from all type of productive therapies until they can return to normal society.
Only the best and appropriately-qualified must represent Guyana abroad. Our new Foreign Ministry must appoint trade envoys and definitely a Department of the Guyanese Diaspora to do what the AFC envisages. As India and Jamaica now do.
My basic big one!
Lastly for now, my great big dream! (Do you realize that from Burnham to Jagdeo, one whole generation of Guyanese has grown up in electricity blackouts? In these modern times?)
Whatever the cost and expertise, I kneel down to ask all the new leaders to eradicate this national disgrace once and for all. (Who knows, if this is done, AA Fenty might even vote once again, next time around.)
So there you have it, my own summarized list of requests and expectations for 2012. What’s yours? Now let the Assembly, its powerful parliamentary committees – and us – make things happen. A hopeful New Year to you.
Christmas’ other sides…
Almost annually, at this time, I quote from a gentleman, who is not a Scrooge but really upset at our excesses in the Christ Child’s name. It’s probably a losing cause but I feel it merits sober consideration-
From Mr Panday: “Christmas in Guyana”…
“Christmas in Guyana has been the grandest instrument of an excessive consumerism where our people are psychologically cajoled and lured into unfettered spending, spending; that is, in the context of a poor country, a drainage of scarce resources. Spending that breaches the inclination to frugality that is supposed to be the foundation of our economic life. Spending that in no small way contributes towards the perpetuation of that vicious cycle of poverty in our country. To tangibly demonstrate the reality of this is not very difficult. Savings that could have been put to entrepreneurial use with long-lasting economic reward are frittered away with religious fervour. Parents who deprived their children of text books and additional reading material suddenly plunge into a spending spree. I have often wondered why so much has be historically expended in the strange ritualistic importation of “ice” apples, grapes, Christmas trees and the whole assortment of Santa Claus paraphernalia. What part of Christianity stipulates this?“
Oh yes he has a solid point with which the new APNU “Youth” Group could agree. But who is listening?
Then my acquaintance, Mr F Hamley Case, tells us that “God’s Design” – our body – was meant to last for decades! But we Guyanese have diminished that long time, by what we put into it especially at Christmas-time. Check this:
“Without a shadow of a doubt Christmas is the time of year we tend to overload God’s design with the stuff we pile into our bodies.
Imagine that over a period of three to four days we put in – a range of meats (“dead animals” God calls them) including garlic pork, pepperpot with beef, tripe, pork, cowheels, cook-up rice with more meats, ham, chicken, turkey, lamb (for the wealthy), a range of sweetened, home-made drinks, sorrel, ginger beer, fly, mauby, eggnog, wines, rum, vodka, whisky, then comes the cakes, a range of nuts with fat, and the chocolates, biscuits, potatoes…”
Case then mentions the cigars, cigarettes and other “toxic, mind-altering substances.” All in a short, five –seven day period of Christmas!
Oh you’re a vegetarian? Good for you. Jesus would agree. But seriously, even as you others ’buse Mr Panday and Mr Case, take care of your bodies and your spending by New Years Day.
’Til next week!