By Vidyaratha Kissoon
(This is an edited version of a blog which was posted on http:// churchroadman. blogspot.com on All Fool’s Day 2015 )
It is All Fool’s Day before the 2015 elections and perfect for a Fool’s Manifesto for those like me who might have dreams of things to come which have not been planned and which in the spirit of the day, might seem absurd to those who take these things seriously.
My Fool’s manifesto for Guyana is in the table below. It is not complete because I am limited in my Foolishness. This Fool’s manifesto was created without a fear of the past repeating itself but acknowledging that the fear does exist.
- Guyanese human beings will be centre and priority of any development strategy for Guyana
- Guyanese Human beings will not destroy the environment. Guyanese who want their rights to be recognised will not litter.
- There will be no beating of children in schools, regardless of what the beaters say. The beaters will be sent to the Marriott for one week for workshops on how to be decent people facilitated by former Presidents and Prime Ministers. If they continue to beat their children, they will be allowed to stay at the Marriott until they learn how to deal with children without abusing them.
- Parents of children who are sent to NOC, will also be sent to NOC.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer citizens (LGBTIQ)will have the same rights as others and the laws will be amended as such, regardless of what the homophobic say.
- The recommendations made through the various UN Treaty Bodies will be implemented. There will be no excuse for consultations with those who want to oppress others.
- Guyanese will work on their violence and rage. No excuses.
- All political parties will have child protection policies and sexual harassment prevention policies.
- All of the people who attended school since Independence will know how to read and write. Those who do not know how to read and write will commit to learning how to read and write.
- No child who reaches Grade 6 will be allowed to leave unless they can read and write
- There will be working toilets in every single school
- Teachers will not beat children;
- There will be a maximum teacher to class size ratio of 1:20.
- There will be no pictures of Ministers or Presidents or other Government imposed heroes in the classrooms. Instead the children will put up their own pictures of what they think Guyana means to them.
- The University of Guyana will be fixed.
- One woman to one bed in all hospitals. In the event beds run out, the Marriott will be used.
- Georgetown Hospital will be the speciality Hospital.
- Quality universal health care will be guaranteed.
- Incentives, laws, violation of WTO treaty agreements will be used to flood the markets in Thailand with Guyana made tamarind balls, and the markets in Costa Rica and Suriname with Guyana plantain and cassava chips. This learning is needed before the decriminalization of marijuana and before Jamaican marijuana floods Guyana’s markets and kills the local industry.
- The Sugar industry will be reformed to produce enough sugar for local consumption. This will decrease as Guyanese try to reduce their sugar consumption.
- The idea from the Guyana 2030 plan to try quinoa is a good idea. The Guyana 2030 plan was developed by Stanley Ming and others. There are many other crops that were introduced to Guyana over the years. However, insisting on growing crops to push market price demands instead of thinking about food security will see us ending up in the mess with sugar and rice.
- The rice Industry will be sorted out, once it is confirmed if it is flourishing or in crisis. Since the sugar industry will be reformed, alternatives to molasses will have to be found to flavour the rice cereal that will be made in Essequibo.
- Guyanese will try to plant more. I will try to grow mushrooms instead of daydreaming.
- The Lamaha Street Railway Embankment in Georgetown will be used as a plant nursery instead of parking lots for fast food joints and other entities.
- All people who are big ones in sports and who cannot read and write will learn to read and write, and even pass some CXC subjects
- Every Guyanese will engage in some healthy physical activity
- Costa Rica’s energy experience will be studied and replicated. There will be a proper renewable energy policy that will be implemented with incentives for those who want to use renewable energy sources.
Each Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) will identify a space or spaces to be used for exhibitions, performance, classes, education at no charge to the participants. Each NDC would have a voluntary Arts & Culture Group to stimulate local cultural expression.
- The Executive Presidency will be abolished.
- Talk of Unity will be scrapped. There will be recognition and acceptance of differences, promotion of healthy conflict and use of consensus building to work on all the things that need consensus.
- The Ministries and all Government buildings will abolish the dress code they have on the gate.
- There will be a local definition of what corruption means. Public Servants who ask for a lunch/raise/Christmas will be engaged as stakeholders in the discussion about how to deal with corruption. Police who get a raise/ticket sold/whatever will be asked about how to deal with corruption.
- There will be local Government elections at fixed dates without any intervention by the President or anybody else.
- All work will be valued – house work, caring work, domestic work, teaching.
- The rest of discussions on the economy s up to the experts who will never agree.
- All roads will have pavements for people to walk on
- All roads will have speed humps
- Persons with mobile disabilities will have access to special transportation at no cost to them.
- Drunk Drivers will not pay fines. Instead, they will do the value of the work at two times the fines in cleaning community playgrounds, teaching, reading and writing to their peers, and in educating the public and their peers and alcohol sellers about not drinking.
- The Guyana 2030 Infrastructure plan should be considered.
In the nineties before Cheddi Jagan died, Guyanese were involved in a National Development Strategy. The process was a good one, lots of specialist groups and consultations. It died quickly or evolved into the LCDS depending on who is talking.
Businessman Stanley Ming and others have written the Guyana 2030 plan which is impressive in its use of research to create a vision, but limited in my opinion on the issues related to recognising the human development aspects which are vital if this vision is to be achieved.
This fool’s manifesto is to encourage other Fools who want to dream of better things.