Brigadier David Granger’s sensible cry for political cooperation in governance of this land comes at a crucial time in our history

Granger toured the Guyanese New York, USA, diaspora communities this week, and responded to widespread criticism of how his Opposition leads Parliament, with a dramatic appeal to the spirit of engagement, reaching out and cooperation.

The Opposition Leader wants a National Front government, and his open stance on this necessity, on the international stage, offers deep hope for this nation.

Ways of looking and feelingWith a national annual budget of less than US$1B, and suffering from widespread private sector-public sector corruption, a myopic Parliament that stubbornly refuses to generate solutions, a Government facing all sorts of governing shortcomings, and a society caught in the snare of a severe skills crisis, we must create a new path for us to generate a new future for us as a nation.

Granger is seeing how things could be, and not how things are now. That’s a crucial difference in this man’s leadership.

We see the same with President Donald Ramotar, and one hopes that these two senior leaders of our society would cooperate and work together, in the best interest of our future. Both demonstrate a sense of seeing what’s possible for the Guyanese nation.

We the citizenry must also move from seeing what’s ailing us, to see what’s possible for us, and get down to the hard work of creating the solutions necessary to create that future we see.

We’ve become a nation of whiners and complainers, with even our National Assembly descending into a place of quarrelling and strife and acrimony, most uninspiring to the citizen, and unworkable in the extreme.

Citizens who assume a public stance criticize and complain with loud banging of the blame game.

Today we suffer from unnecessary ailments, including in our democratic ideal, with Local Government Elections a sickening victim of how we’re being as a nation.

Trading blame across the divides cannot solve any crisis. Only cooperation, goodwill, acting in good faith, and a willingness to generate solutions would create the national space for workability.

It’s a grave pity that this nation lacks a wide pool of leadership talents and skills. The few who are around seem to do lone battle, with their team members insisting on being mediocre, unwilling or unable to exercise foresight, insight and hindsight in their supportive leadership.

Our society suffers from severe ailments in the body politic, built up over the past five decades, with the most crucial crisis being the brain drain. Granger knows that we cannot continue the way we have done our business over the past five decades.

We see such forward thinking across the top tier of this society. Most of our leaders of good conscience, with good intentions in their hearts, preach this sermon of engagement, reaching out and cooperation.

The Private Sector Commission leaders, President Ramotar, Leader of the Alliance For Change Khemraj Ramjattan, Parliamentary Speaker Raphael Trotman, these all advocate for this new way forward.

But we see vociferous mediocrity among lower ranks of the society, with vocal critics refusing to generate solutions, but criticizing everything they could.

Journalists must continue to be the watchdog of our democratic ideal, always championing the cause of the underdog, the oppressed, the poor, the afflicted, the downtrodden. For human society is never equal, and the media provide the platform for the voiceless to exercise their voice.

But public commentators must behave responsibly, exercising ethical and moral values in their work.

We cannot build a 21st century society if we insist on filling our national public stage with voices shouting at each other laced with prejudice, lust for vengeance, personal hatred and irrational vendetta.

We must introspect to cleanse our heart, to guard, with care and tact and good conscience, what motivates us.

Granger, Ramotar, Ramjattan, Trotman are personally open and approachable, and willing to engage and cooperate for this country’s good.

But one would never know that in encountering the public space in this country.

We must transform our national conversation. We must inculcate this spirit of engagement and cooperation and goodwill. We must foster this sense of reaching out, of tearing down the walls that divide us. Most times, these walls are imaginary, based on our prejudices, suspicions and biases. We see shadows and demons where there could easily be a workable space, if we were to take the time and effort to reach out and engage each other.

Ours is a crucial time in our history. We face a future that is global, interconnected and knowledge-based.

We cannot any longer afford to be the way we were for five decades. We must refocus. We must look ahead and readjust our bootstraps, and prepare for the road ahead.

We’ve got a knowledge society to build. We’ve got a task ahead to create a national pool of skilled Guyanese at home that competes around the world.

Now, the Guyanese brain is in demand all over the world, in Canada, the US, the Caribbean, Europe, and even Asia. The homeland is competing for the Guyanese brain on the world stage, and is losing the battle.

The only way we could win is if we foster engagement, cooperation and reaching out, in mutual trust, respect and goodwill, among all our leaders.

In business, politics, civic society, across religions and sub-cultures, we must create a public space for synergy, where that cooperative spirit defines who we are as Guyanese.

What motivates us in this nation, both leaders and citizens?

We must see what’s possible for us as a nation, and with hearts filled with good intention and good conscience and goodwill, engage each other sensibly and responsibly to generate the kind of Guyanese nation that we all know we want.

We applaud Granger for his laudable words, seeking just such a playing field on the political stage. President Ramotar has said he’s open to engagement as well, as have Ramjattan and Trotman.

They already advocate this new way forward, this new motivation to build the Guyanese nation into what’s possible for us, into achieving our potential.

It’s time we the ordinary citizens clamour for this quest of national political unity.

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