Home Letters It is people and their social relations which matter most
As we look to this New Year of 2020, all of us are understandably wondering how our year-delayed elections would turn out, and how much of a boon would the recent commencement of the production of crude petroleum far off our shores, bring us. The answers to both questions lie in what our heads and hearts understand and what we make our hands do.
For me, I remain strong in advocating the PPP and the PPP/C in being the better team to be in service of all Guyanese and Guyana, opening up pathways of development which are better matched to our circumstances of an early-stage developing country, providing opportunities for all from whatever their current positions may be, and such safety nets which we as a society value and can provide.
Some may boast that this year-long delay in our elections demonstrates how smart they are, but for all honest, earnest Guyanese, knowing that there was really no question that elections were to be held within 90 days of the passage of the NCM on December 21, 2018, the succession of events of the year-long delay should demonstrate again the commitment of the PPP and PPP/C to keeping Guyana whole, avoiding paths that might lead to the reversal in the gradual coming together of our people. We of the PPP and PPP/C have been putting our people and country first. We have invested more in people and country and therefore have more to lose in any failure of people and country. There shall be no failed people and country as far as we go.
I welcome without any reservations the discovery of and beginning of production of crude oil far off our shores and I do so as one who as Minister responsible for the GGMC in the 1990s welcomed Esso (and others) to explore for petroleum (and other) resources within our borders. But I do so tempered with my experiences of one who as a child shared the awe in which we held our bauxite production, a goose laying golden eggs; and who as an employee before and after nationalisation from 1967 to 1992 and as Minister responsible from 1992 to 2011 saw our bauxite operations from many sides and in various circumstances and needing massive subsidies from the mid-1970s. I can recall also the Trinidad and Tobago that I had learnt about in primary school, as the place of grapefruit and orange juice and of cocoa – the site of the Imperial College of tropical agriculture; the rise of petroleum and the construction of the Hilton Hotel in the 1950s; Prime Minister Manning talking at a shared table at a Petrocaribe Conference about challenges in finding the monies to keep the prices of oil products low in Trinidad and Tobago. And, again looking at possibilities for employment at the newly built Inter-alumina Plant in Venezuela in 1980, hearing the local people swearing that the Bolivar was backed by oil and will always be 4.3 Bs to the USD.
It is people and their social relations which matter most, their worldview, their sense of responsibility, their ability and their pursuit of the greater good. This is what I think Cheddi was working at in his NGHO (New Global Human Order) in his last year.
Whatever comes, let each of us endeavour our utmost to make ourselves the best human beings we can be.
Samuel A A Hinds
Former President and