At long last, it appears that our political crisis is coming to a close. Only a few hurdles remain before we actually have clarity on our election timeline. Guyanese rightfully despair the way our democracy was put to the test over the past several months by our leaders and politicians. But we must now quickly refocus and ask those same leaders what they plan for Guyana’s future.
While an election is approaching, we have seen no clear declarations of party platforms or visions. Proper lip service has and will continue to be paid to the usual areas of concern – “free education!”, “better jobs!” “more opportunity for all!” – yet we all note the lack of concrete plans with great concern. Having those plans is all the more important with first oil due in 2020.
It goes without saying that an unprecedented amount of capital will flow into our Government’s hands immediately following the results of the upcoming election. Nonetheless, as we go to the polls, it’s crucial that Guyanese elect the party that is best equipped and ready to guide Guyana to economic prosperity and well-being. It is clear to any observer that we are unprepared and making slow progress while the powers that be have been busy fighting amongst one another.
Guyanese are looking to our oil windfall as an asset that could have a net-positive effect in the long run, not merely the short run. But how to spend it? It seems apparent that strides in the Guyanese education system will make the greatest impact on generations to come. The labour market today is not what it will look like in two or five years.
We must provide Guyanese youth with the proper technical education, specifically in the field of engineering and the sciences, so that when oil companies are looking for labour they look to Guyanese first—instead of outside Guyana.
As the demand for highly skilled labour will only continue to expand with first oil, we are obliged to grow this type of technical skill-building across our educational institutions. The University of Guyana has already acted on this initiative—sending university professors to primary schools to teach Guyanese youth basic computer science skills.
The electorate has been treated to an entertaining soap opera for most of this year. But now it is time to make a decision which will fundamentally impact the direction of our future. Reasoning from this fact, we must call upon the politicians of the APNU, PPP, and various political factions to put forth tangible plans for Guyanese welfare.