Building “One Guyana”

As the PPP Government had promised, it held this year’s Independence commemoration outside of Georgetown, this year in Linden, Region 10. Last year, it was in Lethem, Region Nine, and the year before in Anna Regina, Region Two.
The Government was demonstrating that it was moving away from the pre-independence British model of ruling from the centre in Georgetown and the outer regions had to accept the “capital’s pre-eminence” in all matters – even though most of the income was generated in the regions. Today, we can do no better than quote extensively from President Dr Irfaan Ali’s remarks that he delivered in the mining town on the creation of One Guyana.
“Today, we live in a Guyana that is much different from our first Independence, a Guyana that is shaping her own way globally, a Guyana that is creating her own brand, a Guyana that is creating new opportunities, a Guyana that is re-energising itself as we work towards a singular goal of bringing all of us together under the umbrella of One Guyana and bringing prosperity to every single family and every single home.
“Our vision seeks to ensure that we can build a society that is not only free and just but a society in which the aspirations of every Guyanese can be realised, a society in which we become truly our brothers and sisters’ keepers, a society in which we abide by the rule of law, in which we cherish our cultural heritage, in which we lift each other in unity, in which we make continuous sacrifices so that the next generation that comes after us can live an even more prosperous life in this beautiful country of ours.
“We recommit ourselves on this occasion to building a Guyana that is resilient, a Guyana that is strong and sustainable, a Guyana that is competitive, and a Guyana in which the citizens of her country, the citizens of our country must and will enjoy the best quality healthcare services, educational services, infrastructure, and recreational facilities.
“This is the Guyana that we are creating, a Guyana that is managed by prudent and sound financial policies, a Guyana in which all our productive sectors are working to ensure that the revenue generated to support modernisation and transformative plans are realised, a Guyana in which the rule of law and order is consistently working to protect the people, a Guyana in which we will build a society that supports national prosperity for all, for the society and our society, national prosperity is about ensuring that our working-age population can be gainfully employed.
“It is a Guyana through which we can have access to world-class educational and healthcare services, a Guyana in which we can own our own homes, we can own our own motor vehicles, we can live, celebrate and honour our religious heritage, our cultural heritage and do so in a safe environment.
“This is the Guyana that we are building and the Guyana in which we are seeing so many strides and physical manifestations of development, a Guyana in which we will have the benefit of reliable and modern infrastructure utilities, a Guyana in which we can enjoy a dignified life while actively pursuing different paths, a dignified retirement, a dignified aging process.
“This is the Guyana that we are building and I will demonstrate to you on this, our Independence celebration, how we are systematically ensuring that we build this Guyana, how our children here tonight can look forward to a future that is not only bright and beautiful, but a future in which their aspirations, their goals, their dreams will be met by the investments we’re making.”
The President went on to illustrate his remarks with concrete programmes that are giving life to what only four years ago were mere aspirations, mouthed since we were granted “independence” under the PNC in 1966. The actions of the PNC in the subsequent twenty-eight years caused us to be mocked by other West Indian leaders as “walking with a begging bowl” in the international community.
Today, our independence is palpable as we witness a constant stream of world leaders jetting into our One Guyana to develop relations with the fastest-growing economy in the world.