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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Standing firm together

Tomorrow Guyana will celebrate a very special Independence anniversary at a time when it is more important than ever for Guyanese to put aside their differences and stand firm together in the face of extreme difficulties.

With surprising speed, Guyana 's first 40 years as an independent nation have hurtled into history. When Guyana achieved Independence in 1966 the country seemed to be brimming with opportunities and its people looked forward expectantly to a peaceful and prosperous future. Unfortunately, the opportunities were never fully exploited and peace and prosperity continue to be elusive.

On reaching the milestone of 40 years as an independent nation, it is time for all Guyanese --- as individuals, communities and as a nation --- to take stock of their country's progress. It is time to reflect on the issues and events that shaped those 40 years, to analyse the present and make frank, realistic projections for the future.

This analysis is not something to be taken lightly. It has a most important bearing on whether or not the Guyanese people respond appropriately to the shifting circumstances that influence our individual and collective destinies. After all, it is people who have made the nation what it is today, and the way forward, for better or worse, is in the hands of the people.

Guyanese have been experiencing some very difficult times of late in their independent nation. But it is nothing they can't handle; all they have to do is stand firm. As sure as fire forges steel and necessity is the mother of invention, the Guyanese people have an intrinsic capacity to surmount the current difficulties, just as they have done so often and so effectively in the past.

One would expect that the diverse and resourceful people of Guyana should be especially well-equipped to handle the problems that go along with overcoming ethnic tensions and economic downturn. Undoubtedly, survival capabilities passed down from generation to generation have made the majority of Guyanese resolute, unyielding people.

One would hope that, as the descendants of people who resisted and withstood the most extreme conditions of imperial conquest, like slavery and indentureship, Guyanese would emerge from the present crises as stronger, more resourceful people. Of course, we would hope to achieve this in the shortest possible time through dynamic, socially sensitive leadership.

The key to accomplishing this is to present new ideas and development plans in such a way that the populace receive them in the most favourable light and are encouraged to cooperate fully. This would not be easy; rising expectations and higher levels of public awareness make it incumbent upon Guyana 's leaders to pursue a path that produces tangible evidence of progress.

The Guyanese people have the ability to make sacrifices, but as their leaders seek to guide them through uncharted waters they need to be assured and reassured that a better life is indeed within their grasp.

With these considerations in mind, it is clear that a climate of social responsibility based upon good governance through the application of good human relations principles is essential for Guyana as it passes its fortieth anniversary of Independence .

One thing is clear: the Guyanese people have to keep focused on the hopes, dreams and goals that inspired Independence forty years ago. And they can get the best results by standing firm together---no matter what.

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