by Peter R. Ramsaroop

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Demand Change

By Peter R. Ramsaroop

We have recently seen a government official finally talking about VISION for the first time after fourteen years into their administration and now only during an election year. In August 2005, I wrote a column with a similar title in the Kaieteur News. The people have had a significant amount of vision for our nation over the years, but this vision has never been implemented because of resistence by the current administration to making Guyana a better place for the next generation.

We first had the Guyana 21 plan, then the National Development Strategy and my book, Hope for Our Nation, Guyana Vision 2020 and other well thought out plans. During the month of March, I will release an update to my book outlining the implementation plan of the vision (The Road to Eldorado). All of these strategies, when combined, have a common goal of changing the economics, political and social well being of our nation.

A column written by a government official with the titles Vision 1 and 2 is an insult to the numberous well thought out stratagies and a clearly demonstrates of a lack of detailed research on the complexities of implementing a practicable plan that would create a viable legacy for the next generation.

History is the best example of how long the human memory can be. We can sit in our comfortable homes in the 21st century AD and analyse the reign of Julius Caesar who was born in 1st century BC. We have a propensity to over-analyse with the hope of not repeating the same mistakes of those before us.

Does it do any good? If we learn from our past, yes it does a great amount of good. However, if we gaze history full in the face and comprehend the errors of our ancestors without changing, then we only waste our time in studying history.

Guyana’s children study her history every day. They are expected to know the good and the bad so they can identify with the national history that connects every citizen. But will it help them lead the country any better when it is their turn? Did our history lessons help us lead the country better than the generation before us?

This year we will celibrate our 40th year of independence and I have been contemplating the legacy of this generation. I wonder if Guyanese 40 years from now will have a reason to show their appreciation to today’s leaders or if they will use our generation as one more excuse to justify the continuing sad state of the nation. If the latter, then it will surely be a well deserved critique.

Forty years ago Guyana was on the brink of the most potential ever to that point in history. The future held nothing but promise and we were ready to make a beautiful country with our own hands. We had a clean slate and could write our own remarkable history. Unfortunately, there has been nothing remarkable to record in the last 40 years.

Our predecessors failed us and left us with a legacy of racism, dictatorial governance and poverty. Will our legacy be the same?

The issues that plague Guyana have been analysed to death. We have debated, debunked and declared, but we are still defunct, debased and defeated in the eyes of the rest of the world. We need more than the VISION now, we need the measured implementation of the VISION.

We can use the next 40 years to build a substantial and viable legacy and leave our children a country for which they are proud. All it takes is a little initiative and a lot of hard work. There is one more very important factor needed to transform Guyana for the better – direction. We must be willing to step out of our comfort zones and toss the old system in the trash heap where it belongs.

Apathy has been our downfall. This is the first necessary change if we are to see our country develop. The change cannot be in just one or two Guyanese; it must be the entire nation – one strong voice demanding progress and reform.

In unity we can call for a new government, demand a healthy economy and change our country for the better. It is the only way to offer a legacy worthy of the children of Guyana. Even if no one else in the world sees our worth, we still know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are a strong, intelligent and innovative people. We know we are capable of so much more. The untapped potential in our country is brimming at the rim and just waiting for the opportunity to bubble over into the rest of the world. We are inspired daily by this knowledge – it is what keeps us going.

A myriad of new strategies have been proposed to no avail since none have been implemented – thanks to those who have put us on this crazy merry-go-round in the first place. We go round and round. Someone says, “Stop this merry-go-round and let me off”! The leaders say, “Sure” – as they tell the technician to go even faster.

This is a strategic point in history. We can choose to end this crazy cycle or to allow our children to inherit the same legacy that was passed down to us. Quite frankly, I’m not all that happy with the legacy handed to me and would like to give my children something more valuable; I want a country full of success.

Dare I say there is a better way? It seems there have been countless attempts at creating an economic and political system that actually works for Guyana. Dare we propose a better way to infuse life into our limp economy, new techniques for a stronger infrastructure and a systematic approach at an educational system that will prepare Guyana’s children to be competitive in the career of their choosing regardless of where they live? Not only do we dare, but we ask others to help us as well.

Our non-profit organization VISION (Visionaries Inspiring Success In Our Nation) – continues to be involved in making contributions to our nation through commuinty service, sports and civil advocacy issues.
The dynamics of our country are like none other in the world. We get swept away in an emotional whirlwind every time a politician yells racism. We sit idly by as the government runs our country to their liking with total disregard to what is best for us and what we want.

If we are serious about leaving a pleasing legacy for our children, then we need to start by demanding change right now. There is no more time to wait around for the government to change; they have made it abundantly clear that they see no reason to change at all. But you and I see the reasons every single day.

We see the squalor and the lawlessness. We see the fear in our children’s eyes when they look at the front pages of our newspapers. It is the same fear we lived with daily as we grew up. Every day our headlines scream of death, poverty and an insensitive government. I want to give the children hope and the only way that can happen is if we demand change.

When opportunity meets potential the outcome is dynamic. When an intelligent child is provided a proper education, success is the only expectation. Likewise, when a country brimming with this much potential makes its own opportunities and refuses to be held down anymore by the unseen forces of social and cultural expectation and dictatorial rule, the only outcome is success.

Will you work to make our country better? Can you see the same beautiful Guyana we can be? What legacy do you want to leave the next generation? Guyana, with headlines blaring, awaits our reply.