HOW Guyanese see themselves and their nation is an important element of moving this society forward to its potential, to really and in actuality achieve the kind of progress that is a real possibility in these times of promising growth and development. How many times before in its history Guyana stood on the doorstep of its development, this land so lauded for its rich natural resources, lack of natural disaster threats, and for its leading role as a Caribbean community member. Yet, after Independence in the 1960s, all that great promise faded within a decade as the People’s National Congress established an authoritarian state, and then recently, just as the country became a Middle Developed country on the world socio-economic ranking, in 2015, the Coalition stepped in, and for five years, hanged hardships around the necks of citizens with 200+ new taxes and terrible macroeconomic management. The people of this country would benefit enormously from a comprehensive national programme that designs the public perception of the land, the way Guyanese see themselves and the nation, to awaken the soul of the public to the new vision and new possibility of their new future.
Certain people seem to function on the public platform without a growth mindset, still seeing the national stage the same way they did years ago. But Guyana is not what it was even last year, or five years ago, but rather a fast evolving society. A society is made up of human beings, and people are dynamic, organic beings, never static, but always evolving, growing, kind of in a flowing state of becomingness, thus making society a flowing, dynamic social entity.
Leading figures who emerge to play in the public domain, therefore, owe it to the society to exercise this trait of self-growth and personal development, that they do not walk around the nation looking at things with the same eyes through which they saw Guyanese when they were fresh on the scene.
For example, Guyanese could look at the leaders within the Government of Guyana, and see the same names they saw in government for much of the 23 years before 2015. Yet, many of these have become deeper thinkers, more experienced men and women, more polished leaders, seeing themselves and the nation with a clearer and clearer light as the years go by. Not only because of growing older and wiser, but because these leaders look at the society with a growth mindset, and know that they themselves have to constantly widen their horizon, become more and more knowledgeable, and increase their leadership skills; they become greater characters as time goes by. So the nation hears people like Prime Minister Mark Phillips and Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo and President Irfaan Ali and Attorney-General, Anil Nandlall speak today with a tone of deeper insights into how they see themselves and Guyana, than before.
Unfortunately, one cannot say the same for much of the Opposition camp, many of whom seem to hang on to a static way of being, with their national conversations often reflecting the same theme over and over. Then, there’s the role of a few public commentators who parade the same old complaints and suspicions and propaganda, seeing themselves and the nation through warped, fading lenses which they hang on to, and refuse to polish or change.
This is a fine nuance, an important factor in what it takes to design the Guyanese society, this idea that the worldview, mindset, and presupposition of the people and of those who step out to address citizens, is a vital element in nation-building, and in generating that oneness and unity that President Ali wants to see become real.
Guyana is a relatively small population compared to the big nations around the world, with Brazil next door, for example, housing a population of 211 million people, and Venezuela with nearly 30 million people. Because of the small size of this country’s population, and the easy reach of most communities, as the bulk of the country exists on the coastline, it becomes crucial to take into consideration such finer points of how a society develops, of what factors play a decisive role in shaping the public way of being, of the integrity of the inner foundation of the social fabric. Harnessing the collective perception of the people, and designing how the country appears and occurs to its citizens, becomes, in today’s complex global social environment, a necessary part of governing how Guyanese go about the job of building their country. Cultivating a national growth mindset and a worldview of the public seeing the great potential unfolding before their eyes with energy and drive, is a necessary prerequisite in motivating the country to move with the tide of the times.
This country’s potential for socioeconomic development is so astonishing and dreamlike, with the real possibility that Guyana could be a great world nation in this 21st century, that Guyanese must be careful to not approach the task at hand with a cavalier attitude, feeling that it would all automatically happen, and that such things as the finer points of the national mindset are not important. The path must be prepared well and designed in such a way that the Guyanese destination is not only reached, but that citizens enjoy the journey of their self-development, growth, and national progress. For this, the society must encourage and foster a national cadre of leaders who self-develop, mature, and not see things through clouded judgement, but rather see things clearly, with a calm, measured approach to playing in the public domain. How Guyanese see their country and themselves, how this place occurs to its people, may be the most important key to unlock that legendary Guyanese potential to develop a great nation on the world stage, given the natural resources wealth of the land.