Life goes on Editorial
Stabroek News
September 24, 2002

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At a time when one is desperately seeking any kind of normality as a relief from the rampant criminality that has plagued our lives for so long and has become a staple of the daily news, it is a relief to recall some recent events that remind us that life goes on, however bleak the general economic and political situation.

Early last week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced its approval of a US $73 million three-year credit for Guyana under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). The IMF also approved additional interim assistance under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative of US $4.5 million to help Guyana meet its debt service payments on its debt to the IMF and the Deputy Managing Director and acting Chairman of the Executive Board, Eduardo Aninat, commended the authorities for completing the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) which he said provided a good basis for guiding current and future macro-economic programmes. The policies under the PRSP, he said, aim to preserve low inflation which would help to relieve the adjustment burden felt particularly by the poor and to promote private sector growth. Guyana will be able to draw down immediately up to US $7.3 million under the (PRGF).

Whatever reservations one may have about some of the conditionalities of the IMF it has for well over a decade been the only game in town and the credit and assistance will provide some relief in the difficult economic situation that prevails.

It was also good to read that l20 young people had been awarded scholarships to Cuba and will pursue degrees in medicine, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, agriculture and other areas. This is the first batch of some 350 scholarships generously promised by the Cuban government, to be granted over a period of three years. The students will have to serve Guyana for five years when they return.

During the week, it was announced that China will be helping with the construction of an international conference centre at Liliendaal near the new Caricom Secretariat Headquarters, work on which has at last started. The Linden Economic Advancement Project continues to seek to create and expand local businesses and farming opportunities for a community that has been under pressure for at least fifteen years due to the contraction of the bauxite industry. And the drive to allocate land for housing continues despite ongoing difficulties with the provision of infrastructure.

Despite the business failures, the continuing emigration, the fear of bandits, people have to continue trying to make sense of their lives. Societies do not die though they can implode if the ethnic madness gets completely out of hand and tribal chieftains rule the roost, as in Somalia, which is a kind of death as even moderately efficient government then becomes impossible, as does the building of a nation. We are not there yet but we are not a million miles away.

The sane efforts of conscientious citizens to promote the resumption of dialogue must be fully supported. Moreover the kind of dialogue we should seek is the structured dialogue outlined by Mr Judaman Seecoomar in his recent book, with an experienced facilitator and an effective secretariat to help with the implementation of whatever is agreed.