Nation Before Self
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GUYANA has now reached a stage in its development where the contributions of all Guyanese are critical if the country is to reach its full growth potential. This includes Guyanese in the diaspora as well.

With the country now having attained the status as the fastest growing economy in the world, all hands are required to be on deck as the country is now blazing a new trail of economic growth and prosperity, and in the process leaving behind a dismal past of economic and social retrogression caused by close to three decades of PNC dictatorial rule.

There is not much to be gained, however, by looking backwards, even as the lessons of the past cannot easily be erased from the collective memory of the Guyanese people. In a real sense, the 1970’s and the 1980’s can be regarded as the ‘lost decades’ which regrettably left the country at the bottom of the economic ladder by the end of the 1980’s. Guyana at the time was ranked along with Haiti as the poorest countries in the western hemisphere!

As pointed out by President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, we all have to work together to bring prosperity to every single home, to every household in order to uplift the lives of every single Guyanese.

“It is not only about love, but loving each other. It is linked to the development of our country. It is linked to the aspirations of our people. It is linked to the development trajectory and the transformation that we are going after- bringing a new wave of development and prosperity,” the President said.

This, as observed by the President requires every single stakeholder to shoulder the responsibility of transforming Guyana into a leading economy. And the time for so doing is now. Never before in our history has there been such a convergence of favourable circumstances to, as it were, leapfrog our development in ways that could potentially catapult this country to one of the most prosperous not only in the region but in the world at large. Guyana is already referred to as the ‘Dubai’ of the region.

Without any doubt, this is our moment. All that is required of us is to seize the moment and be positive and have confidence in the glorious opportunities that lie ahead of us. It is a case of thinking big. It is about putting nation above self. This is not the time for negativity and pessimism as the political opposition is seeking to do.

Take the recent 2023 Budget which is not only the largest in terms of money but is highly developmental and pro-people. The budget was dubbed by the political opposition as ‘anti-poor’ despite the fact that significant sums of money has been allocated to the social sectors including salary increases, education, health, housing, water and a host of other areas all aimed at enhancing the quality of life of the Guyanese people especially the more vulnerable segments of the population.

As pointed out by Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, a substantial sum of $107 billion has been budgeted for employment costs for the public sector which will eventually find its way in people’s pockets.

In debunking the opposition misleading narrative, Dr. Jagdeo commented on the opposition’s “hand to mouth philosophy” adding “you will never accumulate anything if you manage a country or a party like that. You will never own a house like that, you will rent one. Under the PPP/C Government, we are trying to make sure that people can own a house,” he said.

What the above speaks to is a philosophy of development which is aimed not only at putting food at the table but ensuring that all the elements for a successful life and living are provided to each and every member of society. Among these are affordable housing, access to potable water, basic sanitation, access to quality education and health services, security and by no means least the intellectual, cultural, spiritual and recreational needs of the Guyanese people.

As observed by Vice-President Dr. Jagdeo, the developmental goals as adumbrated by President Ali are not only visionary but practical. It sets out a framework for development of the country which is ambitious, transformative and modern. In the words of President Ali, “like all ambitions, we shall have to mould it to life’s changeable realities, to the realities of Guyana as impacted by the world of which we are a part. It is the path we shall follow in fulfilment of our dream for Guyana.”

Guyana is now firmly set on a pathway to sustainable development, one that will impact the lives of all Guyanese in positive ways; one in which no Guyanese, regardless of race, religion, colour, class, creed or political affiliation will be left behind.

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