Tell us what it's going to take for you to return to Guyana.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Observant Letter to the Editor SN

For those of you who don't know him, I would like to shed some light on who Mr. Sansculotte-Greenidge is. I found his letter to the editor to be very compelling. We have many things in common when it comes to our lamentation over the many lost opportunities that Guyana has not taken advantage of. I am taking license to paste his profile from Yale University where he studies. I've looked for Kwesi's e-mail address but was unable to find it. If any of my readers knows him, I would appreciate it if you could have him contact me via the e-mail address in my profile. People like us should keep in touch.

As far as the content of Mr. Sansculotte-Greenidge's letter, I would say that the machinations of the current regime in Guyana are those characteristic of one that is more concerned with conserving the status quo that bettering the country. The concept of development in this model is employed only to the extent that Guyana doesn't fall SO far behind that instability results in shaking the political tree. It's all bout keeping what they have. I think that Guyana has many people with vision and motivation. We simply lack the necessary forum to plan and coordinate. More importantly, we need a framework that brings various interests and entities together in such a way as to help us to stick together instead of flying apart like what happened in 2006. This needs to come into being ASAP. 2001 may be the last time we have a chance to sell a real vision to Guyana and place it on a path prosperity.

"Kwesi Sansculotte-Greenidge was born and raised in Guyana, South America, but has lived in numerous locations ranging from Dominica to the Netherlands, Barbados to Belgium and Trinidad to England. After completing his high school education, Kwesi enrolled at the University of Guyana, where he studied World History, and also taught Caribbean and Latin American history at the high school level. In 1998 he transferred to the University of Durham in England where he received his B.A. (´01) with Honours in Human Sciences. While studying in Durham, Kwesi undertook two months of field work in the forests and savannahs of Guyana and Brazil in order to write his dissertation on the religious practices of an Indian community in the region. Prior to enrolling at Yale, Kwesi traveled extensively in Egypt and the Sudan, living with Nubian and Beja communities along the Egyptian and Sudanese Nile and Red Sea. While at Yale he has focused on the methods used by north east African states to deal with and/or accommodate ethnic diversity, and the way ethnic minorities try to engage the political systems of the region. In 2002 he spent three months in Ethiopia conducting field work in Ethiopia on Ethiopian ethnic federalism. Kwesi hopes to continue on to pursue a doctorate in Political Science or work in the non-profit sector focusing on decentralization techniques."


Guyana seems to have lost its way
Friday, November 30th 2007


Dear Editor,

I have always imagined the birth of a nation to be a chaotic event. I suppose the death cannot be much different. I imagine that like me, many other Guyanese are also confused as to what exactly has gone wrong with our great nation. I know there are those who would argue that everything is fine, but let us be honest with ourselves my brothers and sisters, Guyana is in trouble.

Our government - though I think that they have long lost the moral right to be called a government-- has become a haven for gun toting ministers and corrupt officials.

The people to whom we look to protect us, are led in some cases by men more criminally minded than those they are charged with arresting.

More recently, our minister of local government showed us the calibre of people running our beloved nation. So I ask what is really going on in Guyana?

It is my suspicion that this general lawlessness is a symptom of a greater sickness afflicting this country, a malaise that has crept into our bones and hearts. Guyana has lost its way.

In St Martin and Cayenne mothers warn their sons about 'Guyanese love', that is girls who marry you just to stay on the island. Many Guyanese both at home and abroad ask what can be done to rectify this situation. Some call for a change in government, others a new political force.

I am beginning to think that the cancer has spread so far that more drastic action may be needed. Guyana needs a vision. We need to feel like our leaders are taking us somewhere.

The government it seems has no long-term vision for Guyana. Like all political parties in Guyana today they seem only interested in power and little else.

It only take a quick look at the situation to see what I am talking about. All around the world especially here in Europe, Muscovado or plain old regular brown sugar is marketed as Demerara sugar. Why hasn't the name Demerara Sugar been copyrighted?

A UN study found that Guyana has more than 7,100 MW worth of hydroelectric potential in our many rivers.

A hydroelectric facility of roughly 500 MW would allow us to process all of our current annually bauxite production into aluminium.

Whereas a tonne of bauxite fetches between US$60-US$260, the current international price of aluminium is US$2,500 a tonne.

President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva is from the Brazilian state that borders Guyana. As a result, from the time he took office in 2003, he was anxious to show Brazilians from the north of the Amazon that their support for him would bring them rewards.

Billions were set aside for development projects, as was to be expected his home region of Roraima state received substantial funds. An industrial centre and tax free zone is planned for the area between Manaus and Boa Vista.

The fact that both Amazonas and Roraima states are landlocked means their products would have to be imported and exported through Guyana or a much longer route to Belem.

No only has the government failed to attract Brazilian investment, but they refuse to even pave the Georgetown-Lethem road. Our president, who is a trained economist, claims that he will not seal a road whose annual trade amount is only US$200,000.

Has he ever thought that trade will only increase if the route is paved and quicker and safer for Guyanese and Brazilian traders? Lula will not be in power forever, someday soon he will be replaced by a politician most likely from the populace south of Brazil who will ask -why waste money on the north when the majority of the population lives in the south?

Finally, why has the government accepted oil from a state that regularly and frequently violates our borders and has recently killed one of our citizens and blown up Guyanese property, with no explanation given? Why did we even sign the PetroCaribe Agreement? I am sure with the amount of business they were losing to Venezuela we could have gotten attractive terms from Trinidad if we negotiated properly as Barbados did.

None of these initiatives is the silver bullet for Guyanese problems, but they are missed opportunities to develop this country.

Each one is a slap in the face of the Guyanese people from an incompetent government, each one a stinging reminder of where this malaise originated. Without vision and direction no nation can achieve its destiny.

It seems that Guyana is unique, in that on more than one occasion, due to poor leadership, we have missed our rendezvous with destiny.

Yours faithfully,

Kwesi Sansculotte-Greenidge

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