Guyana Resource Center
Set like a gem in the crown of South America, nestled on the North-Eastern shoulder, defying the raging Atlantic Ocean, Guyana's many waterways reflect the source of it's name "The Land of Many Waters"
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Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Response #1

Hello All:

Two major problems facing decision-makers are the ability to determine a core problem and then arriving at the best solution. These problems are worldwide and become more complicated when politics is involved. The first rule in politics is self-preservation even at the expense of the well being of a country. It is well practiced in developed countries and developing nations draw examples from observation. Unfortunately, under-developed countries have less educated populations to choose politicians with abilities to identify problems much less solve them.

Guyana is one such country. left the country in the ensuing years.Up until Forbes Burnham died Guyana appeared to have well educated decision-makers who A glance at the personnel that constitute the present government makes one wonder at the educational development system that exists. It is not difficult to see why the country is in such a poor state.

We have learnt that racial conflict exists because of general ignorance. I have met people who hated me because I am Black and all they knew about me is what they saw being portrayed as Blacks in movies and television shows. These same people teach their offspring what they know. Similarly, I met an American in Montreal who observed me for several weeks before deciding that he wanted me to be a friend. I subsequently went to his home in a border state to meet his family. His family on the other hand, wanted me to keep him from getting into trouble because they were of the opinion that I was a responsible person. On that same trip, I met other White Americans who wouldn’t even shake hands.

Such ignorance exists in Guyana and is used by politicians to win elections much like Papa Doc used the ignorance of the general Haitian population in to retain power until his death. Looking at the two countries one can see similar economic conditions. The obvious conclusion is that to remain in power, one must keep the population ignorant. This is easily achieved by lowering the educational standards. This theory falls flat on its face in a modern world where movies, television and the Internet exist. Under-developed countries have access to these media and expect that through hard work they too can have a piece of the pie. They only need to be taught how. The days of the manipulative politicians are coming to an end. Baby Doc inherited Haiti from his father and needed foreign help to save his life. He now lives in another country.

The core problem facing Guyana is not crime and racial divisions it is unemployment. If unemployment is reduced to single digits, crime would drop and racial tensions greatly reduced. To get jobs, there would have to be industry; to get industry, on one hand there will have to be a reliable supply of electricity and a market for the product. On the other hand, there would have to be a workforce with the education and training. A recent contributor to this on-going series of exchanges suggested an industrial (manufacturing) base however, that can only be accomplished by attracting and providing large manufacturers with low wage earners.

The evolution of industry started with the self providing for the self. It became tribal with hunting, then came farming followed by manufacturing. Today manufacturing plants are becoming more automated and less dependent on labor. The new workforce is not labor-intensive but brain intensive. New industries are the future – IT, Aerospace, biotechnology, health care and Tourism. Communications is not new but is presently being retooled. These industries employ people left over from the manufacturing era. While Guyana can still have a manufacturing industry, it would have to be mostly automated not employing many people if it is to compete with the automated factories of the developed nations. Furthermore, landed costs have become extremely important as developed countries look to the landed costs of imported goods. The country that with the cheapest production costs does not necessarily get the contract. It goes to the country that can deliver the cheapest product after duty has been imposed. For Guyana to export goods to any country, it would have to meet those conditions. Not mentioned but is of utmost importance is equal or higher quality products (on the other hand, if the quality is less than the leading product then is must be considerably cheaper – consider the Asian Tigers).

Guyana’s natural resources are plenteous for the general Guyanese population but insufficient to impact world supplies, therefore, Guyana has to accept world prices. To attract investors they must receive a return on their investment (they could always invest elsewhere and control world supply and prices as was seen with bauxite). It the case of a manufacturing plant low wages would have to be accepted prior agreeing to the investment. My position is that Guyana can only accept future industries and Tourism (which will continue to grow as automation makes work a redundant exercise). Of course, education will always be needed to make the world turn.

What I have suggested is simplistic and requires much more planning and the necessary financing to be accomplished. Which of the parties seeking to be elected has even put forward a plan of action? And which of the contributors to this series of exchanges are willing to put forward another realistic development concept?

Please do not contribute any more philosophies. I am not interested and the people of Guyana cannot afford to wait any longer. Please do not even suggest that the IMF, World Bank or any other lending institution is stifling Guyana or any other country’s economic growth. Money is invested to make money otherwise it would still be hidden under mattresses.

N. Quelch