After Guyana’s 50-plus-year history, the politics of the nation has an opportunity to move from politics based on race to politics focused on Economic Development.
There are a number of reasons why the state of the economy and economic development will be more of a prominent feature as we continue to develop as a nation. The principal one being the nation’s opportunity to experience an accelerated increase in growth in coming decades if properly handled. Hence, it now becomes more important to go beyond who benefits economically while a particular party is in office, to an orientation which asks and addresses whether the party that will be voted into power is capable of maximizing the economic benefit for the nation as a whole. This orientation becomes vital as our population continues to remain small and the personal development of each successive generation progresses.
Good economic management is the order of the day as Guyana continues to compete on the international stage for resources and foreign direct investment. We must ensure that each citizen has a promising outlook for the future and the limited capital resources we have must bring clear returns that allow for long term sustainable development that can capitalize on our limited human resource capabilities.
In the productive sectors some of the key considerations going forward are the following:
1. Will sugar rebound and reduce unemployment while fostering growth in the economy?
2. Will the nation choose and develop with international business partners who provide healthy and stable levels of return on our investments? This is a question that impacts the oil, rice and bauxite industry directly in the near and medium term.
3. Will regulatory strength be added to the fishing, mining and forestry sectors that allow for long term sustainable investment and the continued development of the sectors? This is also another immediate concern.
4. How well diversified is each revenue stream and how much risk has been reduced during the nation’s development? Our nation’s ability to access international financial markets at low rates will help clarify progress made in this area and will reflect the perception of the level of country risk associated with Guyana.
In 2020 a national debate amongst Presidential candidates covering such key economic areas of development (both productive and enabling non-productive sectors) should be required. Thus allowing the nation’s citizens to better understand the ability of each candidate and their team to govern effectively. Also it will make clear what each candidate’s approach to these pressing issues have been and will be going forward. Candidates should also have the opportunity to address new special circumstances such as national security in such a public debate. This will allow the country as a whole to hold each subsequent administration clearly accountable for their actions and performance while in office.
The vote of the nation in 2020 should grab the opportunity to transition to a clear competitive structure where each Political Party will be judged not only on their historical performance, but also on what they plan to do and how they plan to responsibly accomplish their goals while eliminating corruption. Measuring an administration’s performance while in office using such unbiased economic and social measures will show clearly what they have and how they have accomplished the nation’s development.
By using such an open and transparent forum citizens will also be able to better determine the strength of new political parties and those parties’ ability to set a clear vision for how they will govern. This is becoming more important as more citizens become independent voters with less traditional party bias.