President David Granger has dismissed the criticisms of his recent pre-Emancipation speech at Beterverwagting (BV), saying that he sees no issue with his comments since they were both relevant and important.
“I believe those remarks are very meaningful and the persons who invited me appreciated those remarks. So, I feel that that is the direction I would continue to travel,” he told reporters on Thursday, when asked about the comments he made about Guyanese occupying themselves meaningfully and being employed.
“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 Beterverwagting/Triumph 8th of May Movement’s ‘Cultural Night’ at the BV/Quamina Primary School, East Coast Demerara. Granger told reporters shortly after swearing in members of the Police Service Commission at State House last Thursday that he received a letter of appreciation and congratulations from the movement, which praised him for his remarks. “They felt that they were very pertinent,” he said, while adding that he has had similar engagements in other communities and plans to visit another community sometime this weekend.
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.
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.
The president’s comments drew mixed reactions. Some felt that while what was said was true, the situation can’t be corrected with words but rather urgent measures ought to be implemented by government. Others applauded Granger for his honesty and posited that it should serve as a wake-up call for those who waste their time.