Dear Editor,There are several key areas that need to be clearly addressed and ethically embraced to correct and prevent the further pursuing of a self-destructive path being taken by our government, whether they are from one of the major political parties or a new and upcoming one.These are the following:1. The clear reaffirmation and promotion of high moral standards and societal values such as Integrity, Respect, Top Quality, Loyalty to our Country and Unbiased Cooperation.We are supposed to be the “Cooperative” Republic of Guyana and this, Comrades, is the basis upon which our local, regional and central governments have been structured. Some in our society dislike the word comrade, yet when it comes to the sharing of national wealth, there is an expectation of a socialist approach, that being an equality in the share of the riches. We must take sharing with cooperation and this should be done with a spirit of camaraderie (that being defined as a spirit of friendship and community within a group). Our health-care system and education system are also rooted in this approach and as a result, even the less fortunate amongst us have benefited from the limited resources we have in our country. All of our presidents with one exception have been able to grow and develop from their youth as a result of our limited resources being available to the least amongst us.2. Talent development of our limited human resources and their utilisation regardless of political affiliation – once the first criteria is met (that being Integrity, Respect, Top Quality, Loyalty to our Country and Unbiased Cooperation)— continues to need to be a top priority to be both pursued and embraced within all levels of society and within our ministries and key institutions.3. Being content with the good in the life we have and preventing greed for riches that destroy the environment and the sustainability of our land must be paramount and clearly evident in how decisions are being made throughout the various levels of Government. Repeating the bad habits of those from the past is not in the spirit of continual improvement and should not be the expectation of a growing nation. At the time of independence, Guyana was in its infancy, we should have learnt to correct those mistakes over the years. As the Guyanese saying goes “better late than never”. This is the spirit in which we must approach our daily undertakings and decision making when looking towards the future and our sustainable development. So, my friends, it is never too late to have a serious discussion with our business partners and suppliers concerning opportunities to improve. Without our land being healthy, it will become more expensive and difficult to maintain personal good health and without good health, there are limited opportunities to add to the good in the life we have. The USA is an example of this, where the cost of health care dominates their budget, which they continue to struggle to correct. We as a nation are at a major decision point in our history and have an opportunity to chart a different path for our future. Do not let fool’s gold and foolish decisions take us down the wrong road.4. Low risk and high reward in our pursuits as a nation is the mantra of a smart and intelligent nation. In Guyana, we love to embrace what we call “Common Sense”. Now is not the time to neglect this important part of our culture. We have limited resources and we must make the most of the actions we undertake while still keeping an eye on what is best for future generations to come. There is no need to aggressively spend on projects that we cannot afford to maintain over the long term and we should not implement projects that could cost us the long-term viability of our land and people. Our actions should also not put at risk our National, Caribbean and South American communities.We as a nation as a result of poor decisions of the past have learnt the hard way how to make the most of a little and have developed a love for agriculture and the way of life of the tropics. There is an opportunity to help key places such as the USA in their endeavours to pursue a healthier life, and we must not turn a blind eye to this opportunity. We know how to take it easy and enjoy the good in the life we already have. Good sunshine; stable and good weather; good food as shared and sold by so many; good human interaction; especially in social settings and sports; and most of all, good loving as would be expected in a Caribbean culture. That, my friends, is a great start of an already good life, and over the years, our communities, both local and international, have embraced us and helped us stand strong on our feet. It would be irresponsible for us to undertake selfish acts as a nation that could lead to the detriment of the larger group. We must show strength of character in our strategic approach to sustainable and green growth. Our population size relative to our resources is adequate enough to add in a responsible way the improved standard of living that is being pursued. Hence, the call for added focus on debt reduction and the utilisation of wind and solar energy, as our primary energy sources. This is very achievable with what has been developed thus far in the oil industry and now is the time to say we have enough to responsibly accomplish our long-term goals.Now, everyone wants to make enough money to go out and have a good time while also taking care of their family or families. This doesn’t mean that the next guy has to suffer for this to happen. Whether the next guy is a fisherman, cane-cutter or the man up the road who is trying to take care of his own village. We do not have to take his living away to make ours happen. There is enough good land and a multitude of markets that we can support to make a good clean and honest living without putting everybody’s house at risk.We know a bad deal and a crook when we see one and there is no reason to encourage such bad behaviour and detrimental actions just to make another dollar. Being honest to one’s self is very important, and there is no reason for us to continue drilling new wells if we can’t understand what is currently going on with the current costs being presented and the costs being avoided in the agreement. This is not supposed to be a cat-and-mouse game when you have “GOOD” business partners and suppliers. However, it is prudent to “trust but verify”. Stop spending what the nation does not have and check closely for what the problem is and might be, because if a lot of wells continue to be drilled, there is increased opportunity to hide artificial costs and “rip us all off”. Remember, there are instances where less is more. Many people are taking their personal time, free of charge, to show clearly that there is a problem. Stop, and go and check what is really going on is all that is being asked. There was a lot of research done to show everyone that we are dealing with an industry, where the players like to take the upper hand and it’s not always done honestly. There is no reason to be naive. We are all from Guyana and common sense should tell us that this is what you do in such a situation. If there are continued requests to close our eyes to this important matter, people will start to question if there is corruption. Be honest about it, so the level of integrity of those involved is not further questioned. This is Guyana and people are not stupid, even though some may appear to want them to be. Spending more time in our people’s reality is a great way to better understand how annoyed people are getting with the perceived incompetence and bribery.When people are frustrated with the corruption and incompetence, they look elsewhere for guidance. At the end of the day, this is why different parties get an opportunity to govern and lead.Best regards,Jamil Changlee
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