Economic development must be our number one priority
November 12, 2001
Guyanese continue to confuse economic development with social development plans. I have asked many people who support the two main political parties what are the development plans their parties support while in government. Everyone told me the same thing roads, water, light, health centres and schools. While I understand the need for social development, I can't understand why not even the business sector has told the government that there needs to be equal emphasis on economic development. At present what we are doing is fattening frogs for snakes. We have spent over the past 35 years billions of dollars on social development and when our children get their education they cannot get proper paying jobs. The only future they see is out of Guyana.
Guyanese want to live not merely survive, this has been our situation since we got independence in 1966. In 1966 Guyana had one of the best economies in the Caribbean and South American region. We have destroyed a great legacy we have inherited from the British when they left Guyana. We could have been a successful country but we got our economic priorities mixed up. Now we will have to suffer unnecessarily for that blunder. We have embarked on a journey of underdevelopment and pauperisation. It is time to reverse this thinking.
We have a National Development Strategy but where is the money to finance its implementation?
The Government of Guyana must be the principal sponsor of an Economic Development Programme, while the people and business companies and targeted industries in the different communities will be the beneficiaries, through increased opportunities. In this regard a successful implementation of an Economic Development Programme would connote to current and potential investors a model of opportunities and would redound to the benefit of the industrial sector in general. Moreover the country will benefit from an expanded range of services and improved product lines, access to lucrative export and tourist markets, and increased profitability, foreign exchange, employment and revenue for the government and a better standard of living for its citizens.