Working the economy against political backdrop

Word on the streets is that people across this nation react with caution and pessimism to the political backdrop existing in the country.

We must come to a point where we achieve national cohesion on developing this nation, if we really and truly want to build the Guyana that we all dream of seeing in our lifetime.

The economy should never be subjected to, or become enslaved and entangled in, the prevailing political atmosphere.

We’ve had enough decades whereby politics damaged the Guyanese economy with wanton recklessness. We’re prone to this dangerous crassness of politicizing every facet of Guyanese life. Everything suffers under the diktat of the political establishment. This is grossly unfair to the average Guyanese citizen.

Our mode of being should be simple: we now have free and fair elections. Let’s allow that democratic system to function, outside the economic programme for our national development, and carry on with the business of building Guyana.

It’s the 21st century. We’ve got to move on from this quicksand of politicizing Guyanese life.

20130124shaun02We must mature to become a people who can rationally separate our political differences from our economic cooperation and cohesion that is so necessary to building our nation.

The economy comes first, for any society. This is why the world now largely tolerates ongoing dictatorships as happens in Cuba, China and Singapore, along with Saudi Arabia and the rich Middle Eastern societies.

The adversarial nature of contemporary democracy, with its inherent dichotomy of opposition versus Government always leading to one confrontation or another, should not spill over into matters economic.

Our history stands littered with the woeful tearing apart of our economic life, plunging us from among the best in the Caribbean when we got our independence, to where we’re at today, re-building from falling to the bottom, with Haiti and Nicaragua.

We got here simply because we confused and collapsed political concerns with economic mandates, fusing the two into dangerous freefall.

After the late former President Desmond Hoyte took over Government in 1985, he worked hard to dismantle the economic stagnation that had plunged Guyana beyond international recognition.

Since then we’ve worked hard as a people to dismantle and completely wipe off the ideological problems that had caused our decades of economic devastation.

When we won political independence in 1966, the socialist ideology of the political thinkers in our land caused widespread migration of the established economic class, including a lot of the intelligentsia and our creative souls.

Our first wave of migration happened just as we won political independence, with a lot of families moving to Canada, England and the Caribbean. Many saw their land become State property. Many private companies eventually also got nationalized and even the banks became State-owned.

Bottom line is that these moves to aggressive extreme nationalism damaged the economy. And the result of that? We’re still recovering from the immense damage that we inflicted on the Guyanese way of life.

Today, people on the street talk intensely of the political quagmire that hangs over the country. They see the political leadership turmoil between a handicapped Government and a hostile Parliament, and they despair. People within the past month started pulling back on their economic activities, and many just chose to adopt a wait and see attitude.

Yet, our economy is one of the most robust in the Caribbean and South America, and this is the opportune time to unleash the latent inherent potential of the Guyanese for entrepreneurship, personal initiative and hard work.

Isn’t it so frustrating to see Guyanese excel all across the global village, but take a waiting attitude in the homeland?

We should be buzzing and bullish and busy at this time of our development as a nation. Of course the road’s not all paved and smooth, but we’ve built a foundation on which we could accelerate our national development now. Indeed, many have achieved outstanding economic success, and all around us we see the buildings, vehicles, hum of economic progress, growth in macroeconomic indicators, and a world class booming real estate industry.

This year our top five private companies all declared profits exceeding a billion dollars.

So what’s stopping us? We must learn to move past the blockage of this political quagmire. It’s been dogging us for decades. We’ve got to grow up, mature. We’ve got to teach and train our political leaders to think first of the economy of the nation, of the welfare and socio-economic development of their fellow country men and women. This is the way of caring leaders of a society, caring not for personal ambition and power at the expense of people development.

People development comes first. Parliament must get this. Government must make this happen.

In the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, and up to today, the constant waves of migration took our best and brightest to lands where they could overcome political landmines, ignore issues of political parties, and develop their lives, build their dreams and secure their future, including seeing their future generations advance in education.

Here, we’re at the point now, as Christmas 2014 approaches, where the Guyanese citizen at home feels pessimistic about what’s going to happen to their country, and we see less spending, talk on the street of skepticism, and outright frustration with the political state of being. People are fed up.

But we must engage each other to build a national political consensus on the national economy. On matters economic, we should allow the managers of the economy to work on their development programme, and answer to the nation in free and fair elections.

It’s downright silly for us to freely and fairly elect a Government to office, and then proceed to stall and stifle and choke developmental projects, even if they are controversial. This way of being damages national morale and motivation for moving forward.

We must learn to instill in the citizen the confidence, like happens in America or Canada or Europe, that no matter what the outcome of the political system is, the economy would remain strong and economic activities would continue unhindered and uninterrupted.

Why can’t we mature in Guyana to see this happens too?

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