The Irfaan Ali Presidency of Guyana begins today. Forged in fire, it is guaranteed the resilience and durability that will take Guyana to the heights that has been so long in coming – all the way from the days of Raleigh and his search for El Dorado. As we enter the third decade of the new millennium, changes in the world order are not only being generated by the technological innovations that have always telescoped development epochs, but right now we’re in the midst of a COVID -19 pandemic that’s forcing the entire globalized world to rethink almost every truism that has brought us so far.
For instance, are we ever going to return to fully manned offices when it has been proven that so much of office work can be done from home?? What does this do to commuting and vehicle sales?? The point is that in such a milieu, leaders ossified in their thinking: those who remember and don’t think really can’t cut it any longer. We need new and young leaders who can think outside of the box and seize opportunities that aren’t even visible to the older generation.
President Irfaan Ali combines the best of both world – while so young at forty, incredibly, he has the work experience of someone twice his age!! The new El Dorado with its black gold off our shores presents all kinds of opportunities to someone not locked into the old paradigms. Our oil revenues, for instance, offers us the opportunity to leap frog so many countries in the development trajectory once we focus, as the PPP manifesto has outlined, on the transformational possibilities of, say, the ICT world that beckons.
Within the vision of the PPP, in which Irfaan Ali has grown up, there’s no place for sectionalism. And he took time to declare this in his very first sentence as the President of Guyana, to promise this as the hallmark of his presidency. There’s been a perennial cry about “divisions” of our society. But what the confirmed votes that catapulted him into office has shown, is that this new PPP has now brought into its ranks Guyanese from all classes, races and ethnicities. So even before President Ali gets off the block, they’ve addressed the old bugbear.
But he promised to go beyond that expansive base to include all of Guyana into the vision for a new Guyana. While we have just come off a bruising post-elections contretemps, its end was presaged by a very realistic assessment by former President David Granger.
It is your Eyewitness’ hope that his example will be followed by his supporters so that, as his successor Irfaan Ali declared:
We are in this together!!
They say adversity can sometimes bring out the best in people. But evidently, this also extends to countries. Will we ever be able to thank our Caribbean sisters and brothers who stood by us in our hour of need?? There was a time when we had to flock their shores when we were down. But we now have the opportunity to show them our gratitude for both their past and present solidarity with us.
There’s no question our oil wealth will give us the wherewithal to become the driving economic force in the region. And we can show our gratitude by eschewing the insularity that can develop so easily. Within Guyana, we’ve seen all the small parties bringing in a welter of new faces into the political arena. And while they mightn’t have brought in that many votes, they stood tall in defending what’s right. Guyana owes them a debt of gratitude.
Of course, there’s all the non-political persons who became their brothers’ keepers after the pandemic hit.
Kudos to them all!