The advent of the New Year has always been a time when people reflect on the past year, perhaps what they have achieved in terms of their personal and professional goals and what they intend to accomplish in the coming year. In Guyana, we have always treated it as a time when we cleanse our houses and got our affairs in order, such as financial, business and even familial so that for the rest of the year, we will be able to accomplish what we did not manage to accomplish in the previous year.
The New Year is also a time when we make resolutions. Many have quipped that the New Year’s resolutions do not last for more than a week or so but we have known examples of New Year resolutions being very creative and helpful and we think that everyone could benefit from this experience. It is important that we set realistic targets/goals and work hard towards achieving them.
In reflecting on 2019, one can say that it has indeed been a year of both challenges and opportunities. In terms of politics, the drama between the main political parties was on full display with citizens becoming fed up with the level of political rancour and distrust between the main players. In APNU/AFC’s quest to hold on to political power, they used every avenue, including resorting to the Courts, to stall the elections which should have been held earlier in 2019.
To a great extent, this level of political uncertainty had a negative impact on the economy and on national life in general. Some foreign investors were not certain what would be the outcome and there was some reluctance on their part to invest their scarce resources in an unstable economy. The elections are now set for March 2, 2020 – almost one year after they were constitutionally due following the no-confidence vote on December 21, 2019.
On the positive side, citizens were greeted with news of more significant oil finds offshore Guyana. Also, the Liza Destiny, Guyana’s first oil production vessel arrived in the Stabroek Block after travelling for 42 days from Singapore and weeks after, the nation was told that oil production had commenced. Never before in the history of this country was there so much optimism and excitement as it relates to our development potential.
We are now in 2020. This year is significant and special in many ways as oil production and related activities will be picking up pace. Like citizens across Guyana, our hope is that the opportunities would not be wasted as a result of corruption and mismanagement by our leaders. The wealth garnered from this new-found resource could be used towards developing other areas which were once ignored due to a lack of resources etc. For example, there are still many challenges confronting our nation; for example, quite a number of persons are living below the poverty line, public infrastructure is not up to standard, social services such as health and education need to be improved, there is high unemployment, constant power outages and so on.
In a matter of days, political leaders will be on the hustings as the elections campaign gets into full swing. GECOM will also be heightening its preparations for the polls; their focus should be on ensuring the elections are credible and fair. Having overcome the hurdle of holding the elections, it is hoped that the country, meaning all stakeholders including the new government and other parliamentary parties, the business community and ordinary citizens, will begin to focus on moving the country forward with immediate attention being given to economic development.
We should demonstrate to the world that we can campaign and conduct elections peacefully, and when the results are out, we can then work towards achieving our development objectives as one. In 2020, citizens want to see more strenuous efforts being made by our leaders to work towards achieving common ground on issues that have caused much discord and rancour over the past years.
Guyana has another opportunity to become a wonderful country with unlimited opportunities; a place where young people would be happy to stay and help in its development. 2020 should be seen as a year of renewed hope in our country and all that it has to offer. Our leaders must use this new-found resource to help create the right environment to allow citizens to be able to live in a free, happy and prosperous country where everyone could be given the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
We hope that 2020 will bring happiness, peace and prosperity to everyone.
Happy New Year!