As we celebrate Christmas tomorrow, it is time for reflection on the year that is about to end. This year like last year are unlike another in the past Guyana like the rest of the world has been impacted significantly by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Millions of people worldwide have plunged on the poverty line due to loss of jobs, slow down in economies and in some instances complete closure of businesses.
Guyana has not escaped the impact of this deadly pandemic many of our fellow Guyanese have navigated the impact of COVID-19. Over a 1000 persons have died locally as a result of the pandemic.
As we celebrate Christmas – the birthday of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem over two millennia ago – the narrative of his birth is very important for us today, and not only because the religion founded in his name is easily the largest and most widespread among the seven billion or so humans on planet Earth today, but for the message encapsulated in his life.
Born in a manger among the domesticated animals kept there, the baby Jesus was of humble stock since his nominal father Joseph, was a carpenter. Joseph was made the patron saint of workers by the Catholic and even some protestant denominations, while Jesus ministered mostly to the poor during his sojourn on earth. In the Bible it is written: “When he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic we are convinced that this country has a bright future ahead and all our leaders must look beyond politics and work together in the nation’s interest.
There are still many challenges confronting the nation; for example, quite a number of persons are living below the poverty line, public infrastructure is not up to standard, social services such as health and education need to be improved, many young people cannot afford to further their studies or acquire specialized training, constant power outages and so on. Our oil wealth, despite the heightened level of optimism it brings, will not solve all of the country’s problems, but if managed properly would certainly give a tremendous boost to our development potential. There is no doubt that with our oil wealth, the opportunity to become a progressive and modern state are now right in front of us. It is now up to our political leaders, the business community, civil society and citizens themselves to work in harmony so as to ensure that all this talk about oil and the huge potential it has for our development, could really translate into actually improving the quality of life for everyone here. The fact is Guyana is now considered a country with massive opportunities and everyone must position themselves to benefit from the oil sector.
So, as we celebrate Christmas tomorrow, let us remember that Guyana has another opportunity to become a wonderful country; a place where young people would be happy to stay and help in its development.