It’s time to fix it, it’s time to get it right for our people

Dear Editor,
As we continue to celebrate our 58th Independence, it is important for us to accept and appreciate that Independence Day celebrations hold profound significance for the inhabitants of our nation, particularly those born Guyanese citizens.
These celebrations mark the transition from the inhumane shackles and bondage of colonial subjugation and imperialist domination to self-governance and self-determination.
This 58th anniversary of our country’s independence is a poignant reminder of the journey from colonial rule to a nation capable of forging its own identity, culture, and destiny. However, despite the passage of nearly six decades, the aspiration for true independence wherein all citizens can benefit equitably from the nation’s resources remains for us an unfulfilled dream and aspiration as articulated in our country’s motto: “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”
The scars of colonialism, slavery, and indentureship have left a legacy of economic exploitation and socio-political fragmentation that continues to influence our post-colonial society.
Guyana’s independence from British rule in 1966 was a critical step towards self-determination. It is important to note, however, that genuine independence encompasses more than political and national sovereignty; it involves the ability to harness and manage our natural resources for the collective benefit of all our people.
This notion of independence should transcend way beyond mere governance, it must touch upon economic self-sufficiency and equitable distribution of wealth.
The question therefore is how can this be attained? I dear say, only through unity.
The time has come and should be accepted that the path to true independence is inherently linked to national unity.
Our motto, “One People, One Nation, One Destiny,” should not be recited as mere words, for it is much more than that, for it encapsulates the vision of a cohesive Guyanese society, working towards common goals.
This unity is not merely a slogan but a necessary condition for maximising the benefits that can be derived from our vast natural resources.
As our elder statesman and former Prime Minister of Guyana, comrade Hamilton Greene highlighted, the unification of the country’s leadership is essential for the optimal exploitation of our resources for the true benefit of all citizens.
Without a unified approach, the management and distribution of resources risk becoming fragmented and unequal, perpetuating disparities and hindering collective national progress.
I put it to us, that it is no secret to Guyanese and the wider world, that Guyana is well endowed with abundant natural resources, including significant oil reserves. These resources represent a shared heritage, the benefits of which should be experienced tangibly by all Guyanese at home and abroad.
It was Eric Williams, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago who famously remarked, “oil doesn’t spoil,” emphasising the enduring value of a country’s natural resources.
However, the true value of these resources can only be realised through a deliberate and concerted united effort to manage and utilise them effectively.
This involves transparent and accountable governance, equitable policies, and an inclusive approach that considers the well-being of all citizens.
This consciousness requires good and united leadership which will play a pivotal role in achieving the ideals of independence.
The call for unity by former Prime Minister, Hamilton Greene underscores the necessity for cohesive leadership that prioritizes national interests over partisan agendas and political desires.
I believe that true independence requires leaders who are committed to the greater good, who can transcend divisions, and foster a spirit of collaboration and shared purpose.

Such leadership would ensure that the exploitation of resources is conducted in a manner that maximises benefits for all our people, paving the way for sustainable development and prosperity.
Realising the ideals embodied in Guyana’s national motto or the now popular slogan “One Guyana ” requires a collective commitment to unity and a shared vision for the future. This involves not only the government but also the opposition, civil society, the private sector stakeholders, and the Guyanese people at large. Unity of purpose in our resource management ensures that the benefits of Guyana’s natural wealth are distributed equitably, fostering social cohesion and national development.
I put it to our leaders that the achievement of true independence and prosperity for all Guyanese hinges on a united approach to managing the nation’s resources, and renegotiation where necessary for the benefit of our people and country.
By embracing the principles of unity, transparency, accountability, and equitable distribution, Guyana can fulfil the promise of independence and build a future where every citizen, every Guyanese, enjoys the benefits of the nation’s wealth.
As we reflect on 58 years of independence, let us recommit to the desired vision of “One People, One Nation, One Destiny,” and work together towards a truly independent and prosperous Guyana for us all.
Big men/women, it’s time to fix it, it’s time to get it right for our people.
Happy Independence
Jermaine Figueira MP