The double standard of Hamilton Green seems to have no boundaries. It never ceases to astound and mystify me as to why this gentleman feels compelled to continuously write in the letter columns of our dailies long winded, illusory and hypocritical epistles.
Could you imagine Mr Green, whose entire family (and I mean absolutely all of his relatives) has chosen to defect from Guyana , and with he himself opting to spend the majority of his time travelling all over the world; penning a letter captioned “Fruit which we once grew is now imported?”
Why is he advocating for the right to choose to be taken away again from Guyanese, when his family has chosen to live overseas, to consume foreign foods and other products, to obtain their education at foreign intuitions of learning, to work for foreign companies and organisations, or to obtain health care from foreign medical institutions? They have exercised their ability to choose and so should we.
In this twisted lecture to the Guyanese consumer, he hypothesises that Guyanese, since the colonial days, were made to believe that all good things came from abroad; and after 50 years of Independence this thinking still lingers, which he describes as a sad political saga of 3 odd generations. He seems to want to remove himself and his family from such depraved and disloyal thinking.
He goes on to state that had his hero, Linden F S Burnham, not passed away just as the Cold War was thawing, Guyana would not be importing food and fruits that can be produced locally; clearly in what would have been an autocratic and unpopular situation, he then rambles on about his refusal to purchase a mango because it was imported. When travelling around the world does he, Hamilton Green, dabble in fine dining, with meals that showcase his destinations iconic dishes or does he refuse these gourmet chef’s specialties, opting to instead take a “Buxton Spice” mango out of his pocket and consume it?
Mr Green, the problem is not with the message, but with the integrity (or lack of) of the messenger. Just the same way persons burlesqued the ‘Moral and Spiritual Revival’ message coming from you. Implicit in his letter was that it was Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, who started the campaign to persuade Guyanese to buy locally produced products. This is not so, in fact in the first national development plan coined in 1953 under Premier Cheddi Jagan, it was Dr Jagan who first advocated strongly for a “Buy Local” agenda. Prime Minister Burnham followed in 1969 with such a campaign, so it was both leaders, in their own time, that appealed to the people’s patriotic pride to drive the local economy, rather than depend on unnecessary imports.
But Mr Green must explain why he, upon the death of Mr Burnham when he became the Prime Minister of Guyana, did not ensure the continuation of the “be local, buy local” campaign that was advocated by his mentor, but rather joined those opposed to the policy of import restrictions, championing instead the development of a free market based economic system. So why is he complaining now that the market is free and open to import whatever we like?
Hardly anyone could dispute that the idea behind the “buy local” programme, was and is more so now fundamentally sound, and that our local farmers and food producers need to be encouraged and facilitated, but, Mr Green, there can be no banning; de-facto or otherwise; of any items as was done in the past.
Instead the local products need to prove themselves as good as, if not better than, the items now being imported as our citizens have become even more accustomed to the high quality of the foreign producers, including their superior packaging and therefore our producers have to rise to the occasion.
Mr Green, your lecture to the Guyanese public is more like “do as I say and not as my family and I do.”