Guyana Independence Day: Dream of a Model Nation – By Vidur Dindayal

Guyana Independence Day: Dream of a Model Nation

By Vidur Dindayal

We celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Guyana’s independence with prayers of thanks to all, past and present who made it happen. We remember their sacrifices and we honour them with a place in our hearts and in saying their names with reverence.

Guytopia is a model nation in the new world. It is what I dream Guyana would be. We are blessed with highly educated Guyanese, second to none in the world, to make this a reality.

In celebrating Independence Day, I reflect on who we are, our journey as a nation, what we can become and how we can get there.

Who are we?

We are a microcosm of the world, a rich blend of races, faiths and cultures.

We are from the land of six peoples –African, Amerindian, Chinese, European, Indian, and Mixed Ethnic. Our ancestors come from the Guyana soil itself, from Africa of the pyramids, America the land of opportunity, Asia of the Great Wall, Himalayas and Taj Mahal, and Europe of Magna Carta. Our heritage is the world’s heritage.

We are followers, in the main, of three great religions of the world, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

Our language is English. Our systems of government, legal, education, and business, are predominantly British.

Our normal dress is western. Our food varies with our ethnic background, though certain dishes are common to most Guyanese.

We boast a high literacy rate.

We punch well above our weight in world affairs –in the United Nations, the Commonwealth, etc. In the UK, America and Canada, Guyanese stand out, well out of proportion to our numbers.

We are a special people. We come from humble beginnings and we continue to make good. I find non-Guyanese are often fascinated with our openness and social ease. We mix well in any setting irrespective of race, faith or culture.

 

What has been our journey?

Guyanese have not done badly in building nationhood, given our diversity. Unlike nations where one race or faith predominates, Guyana’s many races and faiths have been forging a new multi cultural dynamic. In the process of nation building, our young nation of a small population is having to battle with issues political, ethnic, and economic, without any respite, which challenge even the large powerful and developed countries.

Yet I as a Guyanese living in UK take pride in the fact that many non Guyanese do have nice things to say about us Guyanese, regardless of our race or religion. We mix well and get on with people irrespective of where they come from. Indeed, I find we invariably find ourselves in leading roles in our respective communities.

The nation’s journey started in the Guyana soil thousands of years ago with our Amerindian ancestors. Colonisers came and brought African slaves to work for them. Sugar plantations prospered. With the abolition of slavery and labour shortage, sugar planters brought indentured labourers from Madeira, India and Hong Kong.

Our people endured untold suffering during the early colonial period. The colonialists stamped on demands for justice with the weight of the law – imprisonment and death penalty some incredibly barbaric. The breath of nationhood was stifled.

Post war freedom fighters infused Guyanese with greater awareness of nationhood.

Charismatic leaders from every race, faith and background joined together to wrest power from the colonial rulers to deliver independence to our country.

From four corners of the globe, we have come to live and work in one country -a microcosm of the world.

We are a thriving nation of great achievement. Guyanese make their mark at the world’s top tables. We have evolved a distinct Guyanese cultural umbrella of live and let live, enjoyably.

 

What can we become?

We owe it to our forbears and those who fought for independence to realise their dreams for Guyana to be a model nation of freedom, justice, equality, safety, security.

Our model nation would enjoy the highest standards compared to those of the developed countries of the North. It would boast a free enterprise business environment to invest in, and a high quality health service free to all.

Today being healthy is a basic necessity equal to having a job and a home. Any disparity in access to highest quality healthcare fosters the ‘us and them’ thinking. It undermines the sense of equality, and the feeling of one nation. In a family a sick member is not left to fend for themselves. In today’s democracy, we cannot ignore the sick; we together help them back to health and fitness to live with dignity.

Denying people the high standards available in the developed North is unacceptable today, given our abundance of wealth, high technology, intelligence and ingenuity. We have no right to plaudits if we cannot harness the resources available to better our lives.

We should reverse the trend of people wanting to go and live in UK, Canada or the USA. People from there should queue up to come to live in Guyana.

  

How do we get there?

Booker prize-winning Nigerian writer Ben Okri said that what we needed was people with great dreams, they work really hard to make it possible. We have to make the dreams of our forbears’ reality.

 

I am no expert but I make these suggestions:

 1)  Commit to two pillars of our democracy – a Free Enterprise Economy to generate wealth, and Free Healthcare. These must be buttressed by robust law and order.  

 1.1)    Free enterprise is the quickest way to generate wealth and provide jobs. Businesses, entrepreneurs, and self employed Guyanese are the country’s economic engine. They need freedom subject to the law. Government’s role is to ‘oil the wheels’ so this engine works efficiently. Encourage wealth and job creators. 

 1.2)   In return, like wage earners who provide for the sick and the elderly in the family, wealth creators provide support for the nation’s sick and elderly, via a special contribution to ‘Healthcare’

 1.3)  Free Healthcare, would be the best quality and available to every Guyanese.

 2)   Encourage foreign multinational companies to set up in Guyana. They would provide jobs, which feed government’s revenue. Guard against the downsides.  

 3)   Encourage people to retire in Guyana. They will bring their income to spend in Guyana.  

 4)  Rain Forest. This is Guyana’s niche in the global marketplace. Well managed, it can promote conservation, be a lucrative tourist attraction and foreign exchange earner.

 5)   Ecocity. A model high tech city built near to Georgetown to generate foreign investment, boost morale, a place to visit, self financing, using latest technology, robotics, solar energy, etc.    

 6)   Education. Our high standards can be a model of innovation in scientific research. Civics –role and responsibility in society, and physical fitness would be compulsory subjects at school.    

7)   Transport. Consider overhead trams to address traffic congestion and accident levels in and around Georgetown.   

8)   Buildings. Coolers and the ‘bottom house’ as in the old buildings. Modern designs to cool and ventilate buildings, using solar energy.         

 These suggestions are aimed at lifting living standards and making our society more caring as befits today.

 We Guyanese are second to none in terms of educational and professional achievements. There is no reason why Guyana with all its natural resources and human intellectual resources should be second best compared to any country in the developed north, be it USA, Canada or UK. Rebuilding Guyana to be a model nation in the new world is a challenge for our young.

          

Vidur Dindayal.

15 May 2018.  

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Comments

  • Ram Jagessar  On May 18, 2018 at 9:11 am

    How come this joker forgot to mention that May 26 Guyana Independence Day is also May 26 Wismar Massacre Memorial Day? The organized destruction of Wismar, the killings, burnings of the homes, the beatings and the public rapes of Indo-Guyanese villagers by a huge mob of black people is a pivotal element in Guyana, the trigger that sent hundreds of thousands of Indo Guyanese out of Guyana for good. Wismar means something, while Independence Day means very little, since Britain was handing out independence to anybody who wanted it.
    Wismar shattered the dream of a model nation forever, and convinced many Indo-Guyanese that they had no guaranteed future in that land.
    It’s the reason why many in the diaspora are boycotting Guyana Independence celebrations and staging Wismar Massacre Memorials instead. Here in Toronto, Canada we are having one such memorial on May 26, 2018 at the Voice of Dharma Temple, 614 Birchmount Road, Scarborough, Ontario, starting at 3.00 pm. It is one of a wave of Wismar Massacre memorials appearing in Canada and the United States this year. The Guyanese Association of Manitoba is planning one in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Association of British Columbia will be remembering Wismar as part of their Indian Arrival Day function in Vancouver on May 26, and others in Calgary, Alberta, Edmonton Alberta, Mississauga Ontario, and Queen’s New York are in the works.
    Guyanese and friends are saying we must never forget Wismar, and you who are sympathetic to this cause are invited to stage your own Wismar memorial on May 26, wherever you are. It doesn’t have to be a big event. Call a few friends over to your house or a community venue, say some prayers for those who died or endured Wismar, have a discussion on what Wismar meant on May 26, 1964 and what it means for you today, invite any Wismar survivors who may be available to give first person accounts, and make this an annual event on May 26 instead of that meaningless Independence Day.

    Ram Jagessar
    Toronto
    416-289-9088

    • Youman  On May 19, 2018 at 1:33 am

      The reason why black were running wild because they were jealous and illiterate. So not much has changed apart from the British royal family welcoming one into their family

  • Youman  On May 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Why would people be so foolish to retire on guyana when the Cuban Doctor don’t know what they are doing and people are dying of diabetes.and cancer .if people had sense they will stay in the countries they emigrated to

  • Ram Jagessar  On June 2, 2018 at 3:06 am

    This is the Youtube video of the Wismar Massacre Memorial held in Toronto on May 26, 2018, as far as we know the first public memorial in Canada, held after 54 years of silence.

  • Ram Jagessar  On June 2, 2018 at 3:50 am

    It seems we have a problem with the Youtube video link above.
    Not a problem. You can access the video by searching on Youtube for Wismar Massacre Memorial Toronto. It is a bit long at one hour and a half, but we are working on a shorter version of 20 minutes or so.

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