Your Eyewitness really can’t see the PNC stopping the developmental juggernaut that Irfaan Ali has become since assuming the Presidency. Since the day before was Emancipation Day, it seems he’s taken it as his single-minded goal to emancipate our nation from all that ails it. We’ve seen initiatives in infrastructure – with Bridges across the Demerara and Corentyne Rivers; highways to Lethem and La Grange-Parika, and around and through the city; the gas-to-shore project; a new Silica City; thousands of houses, just to mention a few.
And this week, the juggernaut continued inexorably! At the ACCC, the President launched his “25 by 25” Initiative – which translates into reducing our Regional US$5 billion food bill by 25% by 2025. In time for the next elections!! And he assured the Caricom audience that it’s not a matter of “if or but – it WILL BE DONE, he assured. Pres Ali didn’t pull any punches. With the Caricom “Jagdeo Initiative” in mind from a decade ago – which was stillborn – he said:
“Whether our ancestors came as slaves or indentured labourers, they all toiled in fields. That is a foundational principle of what makes us Caribbean people. Over the years, we have divested ourselves from this. And then we have simply been lackadaisical in some instances. We did not provide the political leadership and will that is required.
“Why would a politician stand here and say this? It is because if we will not take shared responsibility for the failure and successes for where we are, we’ll never be able to make it successfully forward. We have to embrace the failures. We have to embrace the successes. We have to woman up and man up to it, otherwise we would live in an illusion, and we couldn’t get nothing done if we live in an illusion.”
Can’t be blunter than that, can he?
The effort has already begun, of course, with that experimental cultivation of soya and corn in our Intermediate Savannahs by a consortium of private local, Caricom and Brazilian companies. There have been initiatives in the logistical challenges that’ve always proven problematic. The funding – which always depended on Trinidad, which never stepped up to the plate – will now be handled by Guyana. The President promised, “You not only have our commitment from Guyana; as far as our resources would allow us, we are going to provide the financing that is required to help to support the implementation of this strategy, because it is key for all of us.” On May 19-21, there’s gonna be a “CARICOM Agriculture Investment Forum and Expo” here to tie up loose ends!
To finally realise our destiny: “Breadbasket of the Caribbean”!!
…with “Day of Fasting and Prayers”
One of the problems with our leadership, President Ali pointed out when he gave the charge to leaders from the three major religions in Guyana on the “Day of Fasting and Prayers”, is a lack of values. And without boring anyone with the philosophical underpinnings, he asserted that no matter how you bend it or twist it, for the majority of mankind, morality is based on religious practices and beliefs.
There’ve been all sorts of secular systems invented over the years, such as Marxism that dismissed religion as “opium of the masses”. But over the last hundred years, these systems have foundered on the shoals of human nature, that seems to need a rock in time of challenges. This rock has proven to be religiously-founded.
Sure, it’s been said that religions can spur conflict. But the President’s initiative was intended to show that, if properly guided, each religion should accept that we must respect each other’s beliefs as valid for them.
And not wage wars to “show who’s right”!!
…for the PNC
Having outlined Ali’s PPP’s blitzkrieg for the hearts and minds of the Guyanese masses through their wallets, pocketbooks, houses, food and transportation, what does the future hold for Norton’s PNC?
Que sera, sera!