As the 180th Anniversary of Emancipation dawned in Guyana, President David Granger delivered a hard-hitting speech at Beterverwagting (BV) in which he implored those gathered not to be “slothful”, to desist from seeking “raises” and to get prepared for the oil economy.
“Do not be wicked and slothful, go out and use your talent to enrich yourselves and your children that is economic emancipation. No matter how much we sing and dance in the final analysis our lives will be determined by how we make our living. If we make our living by hanging around the corner and liming at the Guinness Bar, we will be forever poor but if we go into our farm, go into our workshop, go into our schools we will be able to bring prosperity,” Granger told residents at the 8th of May Movement’s `Cultural Night’ at the BV/Quamina Primary School, East Coast Demerara on Tuesday evening.
For 30 minutes President Granger gave economic advice to residents urging that they invest in boats, buses and bicycles rather than vodka, rum and gin.
“Let’s put the children first. If our fore-parents were drunkards, we won’t be here today but they saved their money and they bought these villages not for themselves but for future generations…your forefathers did not intend you to be destitute do not sit down on your hands,” he stressed
While he presented no information on unemployment trends in the villages or Guyana as a whole, he noted that residents must be ashamed if they do not have work.
“Some people are proud that they don’t have work. They want a raise. They always want a raise. People get a raise today, they expect to come back… to want another raise, but we’ll have to promote self-employment in this village and other villages,” Granger said, though he provided no policy directive on which entrepreneurial efforts were proving most successful or on any governmental measures aimed at securing markets for those he has urged to return to the farms and workshops.
Granger urged all villagers of all ethnicities to look to a future that is not just next week or next month but the next 10 to 20 years.
“I believe in villages which are the cradle of Guyanese civilization…most Guyanese live in villages and most agricultural produce come from villages…we must not allow our villages to degenerate into dormitories if this happens the village economy will shrivel,” he stressed adding that once that mighty Atlantic starts to generate wealth for Guyana oil revenues will benefit all Guyanese in a fair manner.
He argued that it was up to villagers to gear up to be hired in the petroleum sector.
“I can do everything possible to make sure that the profits and benefits are equitably shared but you and your children, your sons and daughters must be educated and must be empowered to make use of that new talent…this is a chance of a lifetime and you, who are living today, are witnessing the most transformative event in Guyana’s economic history- the coming of the petroleum industry. Don’t be sidelined, don’t be left behind. Go to school, educate yourself so you can do for your grandchildren and future generations what your fore-parents did for you,” he encouraged.