The highest quality of life is invariably found in nations which enjoy a certain level of prosperity. That is why once Guyanese go to New York, even though the houses are literally pasted to each other and the quality of life is a challenge, very few Guyanese who are of a productive age are willing to buy a one-way ticket from JFK to Georgetown.
Even in their basement they know that they have good access to quality healthcare, security from physical harm, opportunities for personal advancement and one of the best opportunities for their children to go to the best schools in the world. We read the story of the journey of a child from a single parent home in Brooklyn who has now earned a US$ million award as a research scientist at John Hopkins University. Do you think if she was in Guyana under a PPP regime, she could have unleashed her potential?
If the PPP leaders were focused and caring people, they would have been positioning Guyana for growth. However, their leaders continue their questionable practices in relation to the Kingston Hotel and pay millions to a best buddy to purchase medical supplies on a non-competitive basis. These actions continue to stifle Guyana’s growth potential.
The challenge of creating a stable, prosperous economy has to be done with the full engagement and support of the people. Solving economic problems often involves solving social problems such as crime, poor health care (two men on a bed in Georgetown Hospital), inadequate infrastructure, and an irrelevant education system. Talk to any private sector leader and they will tell you that 9 out of 10 high school graduates cannot even write a proper letter; so much for the Education Ministry’s boast of a 95% literacy rate. The official figure is just a massage number; it has no basis in reality.
The requirements for economic growth are as much political as fiscal; the rule of law, democracy, and free speech are strongly correlated with material prosperity in almost every nation on the planet. Even China is moving towards greater freedoms and democracy.
So we call on the regime ‒ enough of the pool houses and seaside palaces; it is time to focus. Let us use the political system to solve our socio-economic problems. But this would mean an end to cronyism, opaque financial transactions and autocracy in the execution of policy. Dr Luncheon must never have the power ever again to make a statement like, “Let’s get ready to rumble,” rather he must become an agent of change.
The question remains, do they have ears to hear and the will to act?
Harish S Singh