CITIZENS watched their National Assembly in operation, at a loss for words for the way the opposition parties behave concerning Guyana’s development and progress. Here is a country that functions as a fully democratic nation, with the international community certifying Guyana’s democratic status in today’s world; and here is a nation that stands on the verge of incredible, record-breaking, miraculous socioeconomic growth for every Guyanese, with 2021 GDP expected to increase by a massive 20.9 percent, the highest in the world; and here is the Guyana Government presenting the largest national budget ever in the country’s history, with resources and consideration for every sector of the economy, of which the independent small political parties and civil society praise and applaud government leadership. And then, there is the parliamentary opposition, shirking their duties in the House as representatives of the people.
What motivates members of the opposition to serve their country? One supposes that they care about all of Guyana, and want to see Guyanese develop and grow and achieve the potential of this great land. These are supposedly national leaders, politicians who aim to make a contribution to the nation as parliamentarians. Not so. With seeming frivolous superficiality, they pout, appear in the House through sittings, at leisure, and seem to abdicate any sense of national responsibility in exercising leadership and representation for their constituency.
Not one single Member of Parliament from the opposition benches commented favourably about President Ali’s olive branch reaching out to them and to all Guyana with the visionary idea for the One Guyana Commission.
To its credit, the Guyana Government proceeds apace with its mandate from the people to govern the nation with sense and goodwill and with sound economic management, ignoring the shenanigans of the opposition leaders who refuse to display camaraderie, cooperation, and good conscience towards their national role. Maybe these opposition leaders see themselves not as representing the national good, but as partisan members of a section of the nation, only as members of their parties, and they wash their hands of the national interest, at the altar of paramountcy of their own party.
One is at a loss at such behaviour on the national stage. If the current government is to be blamed for anything, what could it be? What answer would the opposition come up with? Is the government doing a bad job in socioeconomic management? Is the government acting with undemocratic actions? Is the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) practising party paramountcy and painting every state building in party colours? What is it that the opposition is so negative about? Why are these Members of Parliament not happy with the way Guyana is developing? Are they unhappy for Guyana’s progress and development? One is at a total loss for words and rational comprehension for the incomprehensible behaviour of opposition parliamentarians.
One would expect every single Guyanese to stand up and cheer and applaud the fact that Guyana is a respected nation in the world community of nations today, as a full-fledged, functioning, fruitful democracy, and that economic growth last year was 46 per cent, with 2021 projections at 20.9 per cent. What more could anybody ask for? Every section of the country sees the budget catering for them with significant resources, and no new taxes. The private sector, pensioners, housing, infrastructure, macro- economic projects, all sections of the economy are on the verge of significant growth. Yet, even these positives, the opposition seem to have a problem with, with its leaders not engaging, commenting positively, or offering a helping hand to make Guyana a nation of one people, with one destiny.
Senior Minister of Finance within the Office of the President, Dr Ashni Singh, gave a five-hour-long speech on Friday in the National Assembly, conversing with the nation about what transpired with the nation in 2020, and what is in store for 2021. It was a comprehensive report on the state of affairs of the nation, and two things stood out: first, the country had to battle a severe threat to its democratic foundation from nefarious elements, and compounding this situation, the global pandemic crept into the society with serious impact, plus five years of heavy taxation and harsh, draconian economic measures from the Coalition regime had reduced the national economy to tatters, with decline across every sector. Growth only happened in 2020 because of the oil-and-gas roll-out. Second, Minister Singh outlined a 2021-and-beyond national blueprint that incorporates every aspect of Guyana’s economy, that projects growth across the society, and this blueprint touches every citizen, not limited in any way or shutting out anybody.
Guyanese woke up Saturday morning with the national media regaling the nation with the fruits of the national budget, everybody welcoming the new measures and good news — everybody except the opposition parliamentarians. One is at a loss for words. Why? It literally makes no sense to see national leaders take such a negative attitude to national growth and development.
Guyana today stands at the highest point in its history as a nation, and the country is facing a future of incredible fortune, and the people are contented and ready to put in the work to gain their share of the national well-being. What more could anybody ask for?
Yes, there are challenges, with the COVID pandemic the most threatening, but government operates a well-oiled health sector, well-funded, already implementing a vaccination programme. One could only hope and pray that the pandemic does not become a global and national catastrophe in 2021, but that is a situation that the nation deals with as it unfolds.
For now, Guyana is decidedly, definitely, determinedly on the right path. The President Ali government is making all the right moves. Guyana is balancing its development, with the Low Carbon Development Strategy ensuring balance between the oil-and-gas and traditional sectors, and environmental sustainability.
Guyanese look forward to their future with confidence, zeal, and trust in their government.
One hopes that the opposition would get its act together, decide on its national role in the grand vision of Guyanese unity and oneness, and roll up its sleeve to work to play its part – positively– in Guyana’s progress, peace, and prosperity.
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