The Commonwealth Secretariat has this year emphasized peace as a major focus in its observance of World Commonwealth Day. This emphasis on peace is very relevant in today’s world characterized by conflicts and growing tension which have resulted in untold sufferings for a significant proportion of the population as a whole.
There is an unmistakable correlation between peace and development. Peace and development are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact, there is a dialectical relationship between peace and development. There can be no peace without development in the same way as there could be no development without peace.
This is why it is imperative for peoples all over the world to get involved in the struggle for a peaceful and harmonious society. In this regard, the resuscitation of the Guyana Peace Council is a laudable initiative for which the organizers must be commended. I encourage all Guyanese who have an interest in peace to find out more about this organization and get involved in the building of a peaceful and stable world.
Peace, however, is much more than the absence of war. It is about living dignified lives and a life free from hunger and disease. It is about creating an environment where our children can benefit from a good and rounded education which is key to building strong and cohesive societies. It is about creating an enabling environment for wealth to be created and for that wealth to be fairly and equitably distributed. It is about good and democratic governance.
There is too much poverty in the world. I am one of those who believe that there are more than enough resources in the world to provide a good life for every man, woman and child but it is the manner in which that wealth is distributed that is the root cause of so much poverty and underdevelopment. Too many of the resources are spent on costly and unnecessary wars and conflicts which bring in huge profits for the military-industrial complex at the expense of human suffering and misery.
Commonwealth countries with their vast resources both human and financial should consider the setting up of a Commonwealth Development Fund to aid poverty-stricken countries, especially those that practise good and democratic governance, but who continue to recover from structural deformations and havoc caused by past dictatorial rule. This will help to consolidate democracy and the rule of law.