We too could overcome
Stabroek News
September 28, 2001

Dear Editor,

That Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham had a vision for this country goes without saying. While there are many who fervently believe this, there are others who embrace views to the contrary. Maybe Odo, as he was fondly called, was too much of a nationalist, if that was possible, but I suspect there are many more competent than I, who could make that analysis. However it would be interesting if the future could be foreseen how history would judge him, regardless of his colossal mistakes. Burnham was a product of his time. For myself all things being equal, he would be judged not too harshly.

The view expressed in a letter captioned, `We have to return to buy local' (l9.9.200l) caused me to reflect and ponder upon what could have been, had Burnham's policy of produce or perish been pursued relentlessly. Let me hasten to add that I am on the doorstep of my three score years. I too have been in the long lines. But let me quote Dr Kenneth King, the then Minister of Economic Development speaking to the Guyanese nation on January 28, 1974. My friends, that was over 27 years ago.

"I know of no country in the history of mankind which has been able to exist for any reasonable period of time, without undergoing trials and tribulations. I know of no country, which has been able to achieve even a modicum of greatness without being subjected to severe internal and external pressures. I know of no country which has been able to develop itself socially and economically without having to overcome what often appeared to be insurmountable obstacles." Dr King went on to say, "Faced with the enormity of the task which now besets us it would be easy for a government which does not have the will to govern, and which does not have faith in the resilience of its people, to abdicate its responsibility, to let the mischief of international economics take what course it will, to attempt no correcting action, to abandon its citizens to certain doom."

Our countrymen and women have died tragically in the United States in a manner not of their choosing, America too had its post-election problems, but the recent events have united them, and made them stronger. We too have our tragedies, however small, but together we too could overcome. The more things change the more they remain the same.

Make no mistake, those were rough, very rough times. Certain basic items of food which we did not produce were denied us in Guyana. Having said that, hope was always present. Housewives often joined long lines without even knowing which item was on sale, but they could still have laughed at that fact. This foreboding sense of hopelessness and despair is unprecedented in our country. Incompetence, ineptitude and corruption are well documented; there is no reason for repetition. "Few are they who see their own faults."

Yours faithfully,

Lloyd Davidson