Guyana Chronicle
November 30, 2002

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When he was named its 2001 Person of the Year, Time magazine justified its award to Former Major of New York Rudolph W. Giuliani in these poignant words:
“For having more faith in us than we had in ourselves, for being brave when required and rude where appropriate and tender without being trite, for not sleeping and not quitting and not shrinking from the pain all around him.”

These words could be applied to so many in our society who are undaunted by the pain all around us. There is a daily silent saga of fortitude that shines through the ripples of despair. There are ranks in the security forces and in our health sector who do not sleep; teachers who do not shrink, and students who do not quit.

Such is, for example, the good news that the first batch of students will graduate today from the Berbice Campus of the University of Guyana. This Berbice achievement shatters the Buxton syndrome. It highlighted our native quest for excellence, not the worse that we can become. It shows also that Guyana can move forward in the most challenging of times.

It is not as yet smooth sailing out of troubled waters, but the Guyana sail is once again gathering healthy wind.

We are confident that as we celebrate the Berbice phenomenon, we can identify with all achievers whether in business or in the profession, who are making a difference in our society. They stand tall as exemplars, leading the society in the good direction. These would be our 2002 People of Distinction.

At another level hope is shining through our pile of troubles. We refer to the small progress that has been reported at the inter-party engagements with the Social Partners Grouping. That the parties have broken the log-jam that had be-devilled a draft communiqué on the crime situation augurs well for political negotiations and dialogue. We applaud the players in this new game of reconciliation.

This is not the time to apportion blame. This is the time to effect solutions.

We can only express the hope of our entire population that the momentum would not be lost, and that the social partners’ forum is not side-tracked from its tasks by any intervening or opportunistic developments.

We need to know that our leaders are not sleeping and not quitting and not shrinking from the pain all around us. It is the pain of suspicion, insecurity, division and intolerance. It is the gruesome violence that has threatened to overwhelm us.

It is not an over-statement that this year would be put in our history as the time that has tested our soul. It challenged our collective bravery, and we are coming through. The Berbice Campus and the Social Partners’ Encounter are telling us that when the going gets tough, only the tough would get going.

Mayor Giuliani was brave when required. We fervently wish that Guyana can pin the words of his commendation, when we choose our men and women of the year, on those who made sterling contributions for the peace and welfare of our people during 2002.

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