Home Letters Careful planning and harmonious development are the watchwords
During my primary school years, I read a story in one of my reading books of a man, his son and a donkey who were travelling through some villages on their way to a distant destination. As they traversed each village, someone would somehow offer advice to the travelling trio. As the story goes, during their passage through the first village someone shouted out to them, why chase behind the beast instead let the man get up on the donkey and have his son prod the animal on, so they gratefully obliged and the man got on the donkey.
During their trek through the next village another villager called out what a lazy big man why not have the little boy ride on the donkey and let the adult gentleman chase after them, so they readily heeded the advice and the little boy got on the donkey.
Passing through another village they all shouted out to them in chorus, look at these two senseless people, they should be carrying the poor animal! At the advice of the last set of villagers, the little boy suddenly got off the donkey, the father and son then made a raft and thereafter went struggling on their way through the streets carrying the heavy animal. It was a sight of laughter and humiliation as the two went through village after village carrying a heavy beast of burden. Now the moral behind that story is when you try to please everybody or act on every piece of advice, the most ridiculous things will be the result.
With the above premise in mind, I turn your attention to our situation here in Guyana. Now that we are an oil-producing giant, US$342 million and counting, the call comes as to what should be done with our newfound wealth and how best it should be utilised.
1. Coming from one source, let us plough much of the oil wealth into a fund to develop that industry to full capacity, that is, put more money into the oil industry so that we can maximise profit. A nice-sounding idea, but how much of that would redound to the benefit of the people of this country is left unanswered.
2. Yet another says that we should do some more on the border with Venezuela. Let us buy some fighter jets to combat any aggression from our neighbour to the west of us.
3. Put the oil dollars into medicine and fight the COVID-19 disease. People are dying and the death toll is rising, come on people, let us channel more of our resources into the medical field.
4. Let us put a major part of our earnings into agriculture, after all, it is the productive sector so let us focus on the modernisation, retooling and refashioning of this sector. It will bring in much-needed foreign reserves which will work towards the development of our country.
5. Place all our monies into the pockets of our frontline workers. Definitely a pet project for the Opposition, they constantly clamour for these workers whom they claim risk their lives for our health and safety. They are the most important people in our country today, so let us put all our resources into this avenue.
6. Another one of those in the stomping ground arsenal of the Opposition, is the housing and water sector. Water is life – they will argue – we also need a place to live, why should a country as large as ours and richly blessed as ours called the “Land of Many Waters,” have a problem accessing these. Much, if not all our resources should be put into housing and water.
7. Then infrastructure should take centre stage. As a nation, we must have good roads, highways, bridges, buildings, sewer systems and a reliable power supply. Without these, we would be a backward and underdeveloped third world economy. More, if not a major part of our resources ought to be put into infrastructural works.
8. Crime and crime-fighting is crucial to development. Lest we forget this fact we shall soon be overcome by the criminals out there. The very fabric of society will come crashing down should the criminals have their way, so why not put a hefty part of our reserves into crime-fighting.
9. Job creation. People need jobs, we need jobs so that we can work and earn and feed ourselves and our families. This was the top priority during the election campaign and the Government should provide more jobs for its citizens.
10. Education training and people development. Without an educated workforce, we would be backward and at the mercy of outside forces. Guyana can ill afford to be uneducated at this period of our development.
Yes, we subscribe to a democratic process, but with everybody shouting from every corner let us do this and let us do that, then, we will certainly be in a position like that man, his son and the donkey. I am talking about being bogged down by every titbit of advice. Truly it would be democracy gone mad and nothing will ever get done if we only source that line of reasoning.
Then it behoves us to rely on the Government who has the intelligence and brainpower in calling all stakeholders to the table in discussion as to the way forward, that is opposition and the wider society. Those ideas, projects and programmes are now marshalled into a national development strategy.
The point I am making is there must be a harmonious coordinated approach of all sectors of society with varying degrees of intensity. Only then can true development be effected. Careful planning and the putting together of those programmes for the most viable outcome. If this process is followed then and only then can true progress be achieved. No doubt Guyana is in good hands and I implore all of us to put our best foot forward as we build a nation we can all be proud of.