A letter that thousands may read should be composed with a sense of responsibility. I have viewed letters from Craig Sylvester, Nigel Hinds and Harry B and cannot help but ponder whether the intention is to be frivolous and appeal to social frustrations and political petulance, or these writers are politically ambitious and really have no substance to actually make sensible contributions to their own profiles, much less to inform readers on the topics they presume to address.
Nigel Hinds I am told is promised the PPP’s prime ministership of the future and he does match the last Sam Hinds in respect to staying with the PPP’s shallow promotional script. Craig Sylvester is described as the party leader of DNC, and he also fits into a PPP infiltrating method of creating sudden political commentators with parties. Sudden, because both of the latter mentioned were invisible in the era under the PPP which the World Bank described as a ‘crisis of governance’ in 2003.
Now let’s embrace national issues in Guyana: the APNU+AFC have sound policies; they have in 2-1/2 years reshaped the physical environment of Georgetown, and have reformed the Ministry of Health with a cadre of nurses, that can limit the death toll. Education requires a resurrection, and I’m confident they’re aware and are working at it. The world changes, regardless of our politics. British Guiana to Guyana has never been a first world country; we were a colony and were always plagued by housing, health and employment issues. At independence the roads to McKenzie and Rosignol were sand roads, and they became highways after 1966 under the PNC government. In Georgetown from the 1900s the main single employer was the waterfront that never changed until the modernisation of merchant marine shipping terminated those jobs in the early ʼ80s.
The dilemma of employment in Guyana is complex, driven by forces we are not in control of, when the schools started giving children assignments that required internet research. Many homes did not have computers, and money had to be scrapped for Internet cafes. Government can no longer employ all our graduates, not within the economy we have and will have, with computers biting into the human work force, and inadequate training in diverse areas. However, they can build a platform for niche industries, and it’s an uphill task to revolutionise its own bureaucracy and public service to meet those challenges. The USA now has 30 million home run businesses; technology permits that, so the modes of employment have changed. We have a large amount of barely literate young citizens, products of the troubled times, when inner city unemployed and village young men were recruited as bodyguards, assassins and thugs of the criminal-politically connected ‘Big Man dem’. Most of the critics today were silent then; the ‘Big Man dem’ have dumped them, thus, our gun-toting crime wave. The previous education system implemented ‘No child left behind’, that resulted in a multitude of young people passing through the school system with no skills and lacking in literacy. Our main technical workforce including teachers, fled our shores, leaving for the Caribbean, Suriname, Venezuela, Brazil, African countries and the first world; their remittances sustained this country. Those countries are not economically the same today; remittances have dried up, and people are back home in a global economic crunch.
This is where we’re at. Any letter writer can write a list of hypercritical directives as Sylvester Craig did in Kaieteur, April, 2, as a formula to take Guyana towards ‘Utopia’, but in the real world we have to work with what we have. I suggest that letter writers with political ambitions read our history from at least post emancipation to commit a letter of consequence to posterity. On March 20, 2018, Kaieteur News, a letter writer named Harry B of Ontario Canada, possibly a pseudonym, compared Guyana’s political management to that of Tanzania, referring to Guyana as ‘The Rich and Useless’. Well Tanzania is a country of over 33 million, with a National Assembly of 324 seats, 31 regions, and 99 districts peopled by 114 councils governed by Tribal, Islamic and British Common Law, all presiding over 11 ethnic groups including the island nation of Zanzibar. Its cabinet might be smaller than Guyana’s but its paid administrative structure doubles the Caricom group including Haiti, with Cuba added on, exposing the true intent of this letter.
Finally, readers must understand that there are no oil experts in Guyana, but they make reference to Trinidad. Trinidad was oil effective in 1913, and they became independent in 1962. Nigeria had a petroleum industry in 1956, and they became independent in 1960. To use these countries in 2018 without clarifying these facts is implying that we’re referring to current history. The first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania, USA in 1859. That they had time to hone their hoodwinking skills is obvious. The objective here is that we will benefit in terms of restructuring our economy, and that there is room for further negotiations towards infrastructural development and in relation to the contract. Most of all we will bring some closure to this tormenting border controversy with Venezuela, enabling us to explore other areas of our natural wealth. A geologist that has participated in oil negotiations over the past weekend illustrated their methods of bargaining, psychological and tactical; all of these daily critics would have been chewed up. Our national ignorance of the oil industry is allowing a political propaganda campaign of half-truths to invade our consciousness. It must cease. We must identify the truths, understand the fictions and unmask and publicise the true intentions of those who promote them.