Let’s start by changing the way we think

Dear Editor,

It is time, we understand and accept that the world is changing and when we look at our country, it is not. Guyana has always been about 20 years behind some of our Caribbean neighbours and about 30 years behind countries in Europe and America in terms of development.

Our political system is tribal and regressive; it lacks vision and a leadership structure that fosters growth and progressive thought. It is clamped under a steel web rooted in a revengeful and hardened mentality of race politics, corruption, greed, ego and a lack of empathy for the poor and the middle class. They are not able to see or cultivate wealth for the people by empowering us to flourish; instead the politicians cultivate wealth for themselves while selling our future to foreign interests.

Our bureaucracy is archaic, slow, burdensome and costly. There is no concept of innovation and the use of technology to create efficiency.  No one is putting forward the idea that speed and competency equals wealth. Instead we have become accustomed to public officials making money from the broken system by taking bribes for favours. They are not seeing that our public systems are moving us deeper into poverty for the many while they enrich the few.

Our business leaders are Machiavellian, either because of their environment or simply because they are unable to change the cycle of things. Therefore, businesses are not taking the initiative to develop human resources but rather to remain one-eyed kings in a country of the blind. However, it would be fair to say that the political system came before the private sector and therefore, they’re in some ways, victims of a toxic system.

The people have become frustrated and given up hope that our political system will change for the best and have accepted the current climate as a way of life; therefore, they simply do their best to survive and get by. They have also found refuge in the racial divide because at least it gives them a voice for something, even if it is at the expense of their own countrymen and women.

After half a century of so called independence, we have progressed so little that we can only get a meagre 1% for our natural resources, while other countries like the UAE, Singapore, Malaysia and Brazil have gotten better deals. Companies are not interested in our wellbeing; their interest is in making a profit and they only give lip service to social causes and even less so to foreign countries, since they have no social or historical bond with those countries they exploit.

Let 2018 be a start of a new way of thinking; we must see our future without backward thinking politicians; we must see ourselves becoming more resourceful without the help of government; and we must liberate ourselves from the racial divide and see our Guyanese brothers and sisters as one. We must demand that our leaders put the country first and not their political interest. We must learn to accept criticism and learn from it and not hate someone because they disagree with us. Conflict is good if we are able to transform it into purposeful and productive solutions. This we must expect as a minimum from our leaders. We must start asking why it is we can’t see more areas of agreement among the opposition and government instead of only conflict.

Let’s start by changing the way we think and the rest will fall in to place.

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Watkins 

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