It is 2018 and the future is now. The foils and coils that have surrounded oil will fade into well-remembered toils of the past. They always do. They were worthwhile though: standards set; expectations registered; horns and fangs blunted. The past should be past.
But here in savagely memorable Guyana it never is. The buoyant imaginations and defining transcendent visions to soar to where this nation rightly belongs have always eluded, riveted to the chains of the past. Minds are mauled; spirits are maimed. The time is now for this pathetically underachieving country to gear itself, to develop the machinery for pending tests. The future is here, it is today.
This land and its leaders and peoples stand poised on the edge of known encroaching realities. All had better be ready to capitalize fully, to leverage sensibly, or forever there will be laments and musings of what could have been, and the grey nostalgia of the lost opportunities that followed from the squandering of a precious birthright.
The New Year and beyond will be a test of mettle and character ‒ and the spine of the soul, too. What is this nation truly made of? Does this nation have what it takes to break away from its limitations, to overcome its suspicions, to travel towards a collective vision and destiny? Who in the midst is ready to challenge and challenge constructively self, friend, neighbour, adversary and leader? Who is there prepared to prioritize quality of existence above quantity of luxuries? This land has had much of the latter for the few, and little of the former for the many. It has been an accursed time, a desolate past; a history poorly lived, an experience best given over to the mists of amnesia.
As 2018 arrives and unfolds, I remember these words from an address some twenty years ago: “The challenge of our past remains the challenge of our future. Will we be one nation, one people, with one common destiny ‒ or not? Will we all come together, or come apart? The divide of race has been…constant curse.” That was President Clinton in his second inaugural in 1996. He was talking to America about America. He could have been talking to Guyana, as I seek to do today, to my fellow Guyanese. The future is right now. Through all the toxic thorns and endless tears, it had better be seized.