By Selwyn Collins

We have to be better and do better to attract the better we want and expect to come.

It is natural, a human thing, for any group to seek and appoint a leader. But it isn’t always easy as most usually fail to meet the standards.

So, when leaders are difficult to find, we’re compelled to become the leaders we seek.

We must become what we seek. If we seek better, then we must be better.

Young people of Guyana, it is your birthright to demand better from us. Demand that we be better brethren, better mentors, and better stewards of your inheritance.

Young people of Guyana, please, for yours, ours, and our nation’s sakes, be better by first rejecting any notion that you are not capable, but far more important, the generational curse of ethnic malaise. If we are to build a great nation and usher in the better we want to come, we have to inoculate ourselves from this disease, exorcise its curse, and be better citizens.

Selwyn Collins

It doesn’t matter who lied by trying to convince us that we can achieve greatness divided, or who taught us to hate and wound each other; know we are much more than our circumstances, differences, and distrusts. Guyana needs ‘ALL’ hands on deck.

You deserve better. Our nation deserves better. Our region and the rest of the world expect better. Better beckons us.

It takes a nation.

But we’ll need courage, determination, leadership, forgiveness, love, and a collective will to forge the generational alliances necessary to connect the experience and wisdom of age with the energy of the young. We can get there if we are willing to try. We’re in this together, so all must commit.

Our forebearers didn’t get it right and neither did our generation, but you have the keys at your fingertips – an opportunity to figure it out, get it right, and build a better nation.

You can do this!

You are destined to be great, greater than we have ever been. Do not let anything or anyone stand in your way.

Make it happen.

Reject the notion that another race cannot lead you to greatness. That’s madness. Anyone who’s familiar with Guyana’s history, will concede that race is a major problem, but it’s only part of the problem.

Race is the default reason everyone defers to, but from how I see it, if one wants to get really down to the good stuff, one has to begin looking at people’s socioeconomic status.

Many people, regardless of administration, are forced to run on the wheel of hope, backs laden with needs far greater than the inadequate means of paying for those needs. To add insult to injury, they must listen to the proverbial rhetoric while an insidious promise of prosperity, if one dares to hope, dares to be patient, dangles within reach.

Leadership, everyone cries … bring us leadership. But are we ready to be led? Do we have the patience?

If Guyana is to be great, it will require great leadership, vision, and personal and political will. It will require someone who has courage, integrity, and is strong on principles; a great listener who embodies ‘country before me.’ Someone with the fortitude to make enormous personal sacrifice.

It’s believed that each generation is expected to be greater than the previous.

Young people, while you are capable, the unfortunate reality is that you have inherited a sociopolitical narrative shaped more by distrust, animosity, and personal motives than truth.

If you’re willing to be better, you’ll have to do better. And if you want to build a great nation, you’re going to have to want it badly enough to reject race as a compass, or any part of your motivation. No one will give anything to you if you don’t demand it.

You have to find a way to be bolder, brighter, smarter, and more determined than your parents and their parents, and adopt an attitude of inclusion.

If we’re to achieve the greatness we know is possible for Guyana, you have to find the courage to embrace ALL Guyanese.

The truth is we’re in this together, battered and bruised, but brave brethren on the same voyage.

If we’re to bring the better we expect to come, then each of us has to be and do better.

I am not asking you to agree with me, but ask yourself, can we grow as a nation, and achieve greatness, as divided as we are? Also, ask yourself, can we do this if we don’t commit to breaking the cycle of racial animosity?

I hope after some self-examination and examination of the current situation relative to what you believe is possible, you will join with me to adopt an attitude that recognises that we’re better than what our history suggests; we’re Guyanese, we can change the agricultural, socioeconomic, and sociopolitical realities of the Region; we come from a great land – we can do this and we will. This is a mantra of hope, if you choose to call it that, and in the absence of a development battle cry, I’ll settle on this for now.

Guyana must chart a course that will free our nation from the bondage of disunity and distrust; burdens no youth should have to bear, encumbrances no innovative mind should have to confront.

We can’t ignore the possibility that each generation is traumatised by stories of the past, forced to deal with experiences they never had, and inherited a hate they shouldn’t have to process. Like a brutal dictator, our history confronts and condemns us to be unwitting participants impaled to moments in a past most of us haven’t experienced.

Guyana’s preoccupation with racism and ethnic differences, these malevolent masters, will continue to injure and leave us stranded in the desert of despair.

Battered, bruised, broken, and buried to our necks in regrets, we’re incapable of escape from the sordid sands of politics. Blinded and stung, our mouths filled to overflow with its contempt, we, citizens of hope, dare to imagine positive change and glory without ALL our brethren. But how can we be so naive; how can we hope to achieve greatness without ALL hands on deck?

If we don’t deviate from racist ideology, the beliefs that suggest we exclude some among us, if we don’t change our ways and get it right, we’ll choke to death. And as we gasp our final breaths, no reason, no scripture, no politics will save us.

Tell our children something different, the truth is an option, anything that transcends all our failings, flaws, and insecurities, so s/he doesn’t become what we see all around us every day.

We must be better to create the better we expect to come.

Reject hate.

Reject racism.

Reject that you are not capable and ready.

Selwyn Collins is a Guyanese author, webTV Talk Show Host and an entrepreneur who resides in New York. He is passionate about education, empowerment and preserving the past and present so that future generations could have a rich collection of references.

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