In a letter published in SN on August 24, ACDA is supporting Professor Clive Thomas’s proposal for cash handouts from the expected windfall from oil revenues.
In an earlier letter, I complimented Professor Thomas for his stewardship but I proposed the following seven areas be dealt with instead of cash remittances.
1) Make our educational system solid and top class geared to produce that new Guyana person we talked about even before Independence.
2) Increase post-haste salaries of the Security Services, Educators including Teachers and Medical Personnel. This should be non-negotiable.
3) Provide a state of the art health service where complex surgical and medical procedures are available to all, either free or at an affordable cost.
4) Retool the NIS, so that we make good the objective of those of us who first conceived and implemented the National Insurance Scheme. And so for example, remove the present absurdity where health care benefits are available to contributors up to sixty years of age, but not available beyond sixty, when you are more than likely to be in need of medical health support
(5) Have an ongoing massive clean up in urban and rural areas.
(6) Provide delightful holiday resorts at affordable rates so that young and old can share in the natural beauty and charm, of our country.
(7) A retooled-remigration scheme, geared to encourage young and experienced professionals to return home to contribute to development. This should include second generation Guyanese.
In addition, I hereby suggest that we identify safe and secure financial investments overseas, so that the money will ‘work’ for us. We can have regular drawdowns.
Such funds can be used to elevate those who are now trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty.
Be reminded that in Guyana, we have instances of poverty among all ethnic groups.
I plead with my friends in ACDA and other Afro-based Organisations to rethink this simplistic solution – it will achieve little, save as a ‘one time belly full.’
What I suggest is this, ACDA should demand that some of the new money be made available in order for them to expand the commendable training of young people, which they started some time ago.
You see the wisest of all, LFS Burnham took the portfolio of Education in 1953; because he understood the value of education and training, to help the dispossessed and the disadvantaged as a way to make the small man a real man and to therefore, realize some level of equality.
The problem from antiquity, has been that some folks begin life, at a disadvantage, primarily, due to a lack of educational and recreational opportunities. This disallows them to optimize their inherent talent, preventing them from climbing up to the higher rungs of the ladder of life.
I further suggest to ACDA that they launch a campaign to deal with an awkward justice system, which throws our young men and women into prison for a few ‘joints’ while those who rape and plunder millions are welcome guests at cocktail parties.
Additionally, ACDA should campaign for the swift return of National Service (a costly exercise).
Our month of celebration of Emancipation is good but we need a sustained programme to rekindle a sense of pride in who we are.
ACDA with others should set more programmes, in collaboration with the Government, to set our youth on the right, royal road of religion and righteousness.
Here are another seven points:-
(1) creating stable family units.
(2) getting them back into various religious and learning institutions
(3) inculcate a sense of pride by understanding more of our history, our successes and our failures.
(4) teach the truth that there is no substitute for study, hard work and sacrifice all the time
(5) as a corollary, persuade our people, in particular, our men folk to practice the philosophy of deferred gratification.
(6) Love and respect for all mankind.
(7) Be passionate to put Guyana first no matter what.
All of the above, will require a massive investment of human and financial resources, and should therefore be part of a national plan.
Glory to Guyana and a Good life, with Granger as our Helmsman.