Meeting the accelerating pace of change Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
February 15, 2002

"IT IS not a market for amateurs," British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Edward Glover put it frankly earlier this week.

He has played an important role in Guyana's thrust towards organic agriculture and at a news conference noted the "amazing progress" in the sector since Prince Charles visited here two years ago.

The organic cocoa aspect of the drive is well under way and Mr. Glover feels it is the "key to wider diversification."

What he had to say about the competition and the challenges applies to other areas of agriculture and spheres of production in this country, which all stakeholders would do well to take note of.

The market is very competitive, he noted, adding, "The pace of change is accelerating. No country gets a second chance."


It is being preached over and over - Guyana has to gear itself fully to meet the challenges of globalisation and the culture and way of doing things have to be changed.

Guyanese have to get going with the mantra of being competitive.

In a letter after our editorial `It's becoming too traditional' last week, the renowned Guyanese singer Dave Martins referred to the worrying flaws that Guyana and other Caribbean societies have to shake off if they are to move on.

For one thing, he said, "As we try to improve our economies and our lives, this practice of arriving late is a crippling habit. One of the first things I learned after migrating from Guyana was the pressing need to abandon the `soon come' tradition if I was going to get anywhere."

"Guyana has an exciting and vibrant culture that sustains her children wherever they live, but we cannot be oblivious to the fact that there are flaws in the fabric.

"Some traditions are clearly worth holding onto at all cost; others are just as clearly millstones we would be better off to lose", said Mr. Martins.

At the same news conference with High Commissioner Glover, Fisheries, Crops and Livestock Minister, Mr. Satyadeow Sawh referred too to the need for a change in attitudes in several ways.

He commended the UK Government and other agencies for their help in the development of a national policy on organic agriculture.

He, however, pointed out that the movement towards organic agriculture is not an overnight process and that the necessary legislation, infrastructure and the reorientation of attitudes through continuous education of farmers have to be carried out.

Some of the old ways would have to change and the sooner this sinks in, the better would be Guyana's prospects for really taking off.

The harsh reality is that the industrialised world is not about to stand by until countries like Guyana catch up and they would have to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get going.

International help is crucial to developing countries but these have to get their act together to take full advantage of the support offered.

Catching up may not be that difficult for Guyana if there's a firm grasp by all of the imperatives of the times.