We have to start seeing this land as our land
Stabroek News
February 11, 2004

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Dear Editor,

I am a professional and like any other I can either self-sponsor myself and family and take up residence in Canada or seek employment elsewhere, but I truly feel that I can make a difference in my country.

However, I am aggrieved as a Guyanese when I look around and see what has happened to my country ever since we took our destiny into our own hands after receiving independence in 1966. My country, which was at one time the best in the Caribbean has rapidly become the worst. People from other Caribbean countries came here and took up residence, one such person was my father who happened to be a Barbadian. They came here in search of a better life and today these countries have so surpassed us that we are running to them in search of a better life, it is as if time has stood still for my country.

It hurts when you know that this country has so many natural resources and far more than any of our Caribbean brothers, yet we are where we are, and they are where they are. To crown this off Guyanese are no fools, we had the highest literacy rate in the Caribbean, there are Guyanese holding down top jobs around the world yet we find ourselves at home in such a dilemma, where there is a steep increase in poverty, corruption, crime and violence. Why?

A number of reasons:

1.The Burnham era helped to destroy this country.

2. Hoyte tried to rebuild it.

3. And now it is being torn apart again.

Businessmen are defrauding this country of billions of dollars in revenue, whether through smuggling or evasion of taxes. One just has to recall a few cases such as the gold scam, where those businessmen got off lightly. In the developed world they would have been jailed. The "Terminator", a boat smuggling fuel that was picked up by the army somewhere in the Pomeroon. What happened to that case? The bond of a businessman was raided in Mahaica and found full of uncustomed goods, whatever happened to that matter?

It shows plainly that businessmen who have acquired influence have become the untouchables. They can do anything and get away with it, even knock your children down in the street and nothing happens such as the case of the two kids killed on Vlissengen road.

Crime is at all levels of our society, whether it's white collar crime or brutal crimes associated with robbery committed by the poor man operating at his level of intelligence. In short my country, has become a lawless society and this could only lead to anarchy and chaos.

It appears as though we are heading back to the 18th century when America had their cowboys and people were gunned down in the streets of those little towns, but even then America had US Marshals who hunted down those outlaws and took them to justice. Here in the 21st century there is no justice meted out, in fact people aren't even brought to justice. Are those phases of development that a country must go through before becoming fully developed? I would have thought that with the improvement of technology we could learn from these developed countries and leap-frog thus avoiding the mistakes those countries made. Yet we are retrogressing to where these countries were centuries ago, in time we surely will become the land that time forgot.

Guyana will not have any progress simply because we are not patriotic. One just has to look at America after their independence, the people wrote their own constitution that was quite different from the Westminster system of England, they even went so far as to write their own dictionary spelling words how they sound. Today they have surpassed their mother country and are the only super power, and they are so proud and full of themselves that I sometimes think that they are naĆ¯ve and narrow minded, because they feel the world revolves around them. This is how patriotic these people are, and I envy them.

We are simply not patriotic because we have a problem. We don't see ourselves as Guyanese but as Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese, how did India and Africa get in front of our nationality. You are where you come from! We are Guyanese of Indian and African ancestry full stop.

Pakistan was part of India before it was divided, therefore people from Pakistan are all from India, would you like to call a Pakistani an Indo-Pakistani.

It is sometimes heart rending to look at television; people are just showing their allegiance to these two countries, Indian and Africa. America is made up of people from all over the world, the Irish are one group that contributed to America's development when they migrated in droves. These Irish people would observe their holidays but when you watch television you watch American programmes produced by Americans for Americans.

Until we start seeing this land as our land and not those far away places, and us as part of it and unite, there can be no progress.

How many of you readers remember one of our national songs that goes like this "This land is my land, this land is your land from the Pakarimas to the Corentyne?"

How many of you feel the way I do? I hope, I am not alone.

Yours faithfully,

Depressed Guyanese

(Name and address