GUYANESE are well set to make 2021 the year of Guyana’s giant leap forward, the year when this nation becomes a global success story with rampant prosperity for every citizen, with a peaceful land giving its people plenty of opportunities to live well, and with progress speeding along under world- class development projects. In this scenario, as the society becomes sophisticated and complex, it is necessary in 2021 to encourage an industry of thought-leaders, astute analysts, and think tanks to objectively study the society and the demands of the future, and to professionally publish and broadcast potential problems and challenges and suggested solutions, so that the progress bar moves consistently on an upward trajectory for decades and even centuries to come.
The nation enters 2021 with everything well set. Indeed, the ground is laid with a solid foundation for Guyanese to achieve their legendary potential. Guyana has a government in place that respects democracy and fair play; the private sector is well entrenched as the engine of growth; public servants, teachers, nurses and law-enforcement officers are contented and well taken care of; education is promising to transform the Guyanese human capital resource base, with free tertiary education slated to come on stream within the next three years, even as government rolls out thousands of scholarships and training programmes; the oil-and-gas sector is rolling along smoothly; the country is battling COVID-19 with decent results; and a slew of world-class projects – from hotels and housing development to highways and even a railway – are all underway.
In less than half a year in 2020, this government completely transformed the mood of this land, entrenching in the Guyanese heart a welcome sigh of relief that the political agony and schism that had dogged citizens since 2015 came to an end. Guyanese everywhere now feel the excited pulse of their nation as it gears up for world-class development projects to transform the skyline and community landscape, from the East Bank of Demerara to the East Coast and Mahaicony-Mahaica region, and on the West Bank to Parika. Berbice and Essequibo will also see transformative projects take shape.
2021 is perhaps the most exciting new year this country has ever faced, with the oil-and-gas sector promising to absolutely eradicate poverty across the land, and indeed to drive such astounding socio-economic progress, that Guyana would become the shining jewel of the Caribbean, and perhaps even South America.
Citizens anticipate that in 2021 the World Court would deliver a historic victory in the border fiasco with Venezuela, freeing up development opportunities in the Essequibo area. In the admirable neighbourly cooperation already underway between Guyana and Suriname, and also Brazil, the South American Guiana Shield could very well become the global success story of 2021, much like the Pacific Rim’s Asian Tigers in the 1990s.
So, 2021 looks rosy and picture-perfect, as Guyanese start this new year. The nation could not want to be in a better situation. It is as if the land is chosen for divine blessings. With such a key vantage point, situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean as a gateway to the giant global power Brazil, Guyana is ready to take its place among the wealthy nations of the world.
However, as with life, thus with a nation. The more socio-economic progress the country achieves, the more demanding it will be to refine national systems, to reform the security sector so the wealth could be protected and defended in case of hostile forces coming against the country. Guyana must look into such things as securing its cyberspace, for example, as much as securing its borders.
Anticipating a wave of immigrants from around the world, as suffering people flee troubled lands to come to places such as this peaceful, prosperous, progressive country – as with the Venezuelans for example – demands keen attention to immigration laws, which must be tinged with both compassion and sensible protection.
Given the anticipated sophistication and complexity of this society as it becomes a wealthy global nation, it is imperative that Guyanese start developing think tanks, and engaging astute analysts, and developing world-class thought-leaders. The country must start to think 50, 100 years ahead, see into the future and plan for what is coming.
Hopefully, the University of Guyana would become a mecca for thought-leaders with world-class research, analysis, and thought-leadership flowing from its faculties and academics and professors, and even outstanding students, to assail the nation with brilliant new thinking, new ideas, new wisdom.
The country needs to cultivate a national pool of wisdom elders, a la the global organisation The Elders, which the late icon Nelson Mandela developed and made a permanent global body that influences the United Nations and governments worldwide to accelerate humane development.
The great nations of the earth all cultivate national think tanks, giving incentives to thinkers, academics and intellectuals and experts and concerned citizens to develop research and development articles that augment, and even lay the foundation for a national vision that rolls way into the future. Indeed, such organisations exist also for global development, and contributed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the world is now working to implement.
The great nations also encourage a national culture of thought-leadership within its academic institutions, and also within the media – with specialised magazines, a book-publishing stream for thought-leaders, and other media avenues, all cultivated and nurtured and supported and maintained.
Guyana is sitting pretty today as citizens anticipate a robust 2021.
But Guyanese cannot settle into a comfort zone of mediocrity and focus only on physical development. The nation owes it to future generations to also lay the groundwork for a Guyana that is a truly global example of what a peaceful, progressive, and prosperous nation could be, in every facet of human development, including cultivating a national pool of visionaries, thought-leaders, astute analysts, and design-thinking proponents.