GUYANA: New Year 2022 – A time to think – By Mosa Telford – Opinion

 By January 8, 2022

The year 2021 has ended but the ending of a year does not signal the disappearance of the challenges we grappled with the previous 12 months. A new year beginning in the middle of winter in some countries at midnight can be seen as peculiar. One would imagine that the most fitting time to start a new year would be at the beginning of spring when it starts to get warm, trees come alive, animals are born, and the days become longer. Starting a new year in the dark and cold, when the leaves of trees have died and animals are hibernating, does not particularly align with the laws of nature.           

History tells us that it was Roman kings who replaced January as the first month of the year. It was previously March. Numa Pompilius who reigned between 715-673 BCE, revised the Roman Republican calendar to choose January as the first month of the year since January was named after the Roman god of all beginnings, Janus. Later in 46 BCE Julius Caesar made additional changes but January 1 was retained as the beginning of the year. When the Roman empire fell there were some Christian countries that celebrated the new year on March 25th and others on December 25th.

THE COVID VARIANTS

Perhaps it is the deviations from listening and looking at the direction nature signals that has created a world so broken. Already, we can see the afflictions of 2021 slipping through the cracks of 2022 to remind us of our struggles. As variants hang in the air infecting us with fear and angst, the number of reported COVID cases are rising around the world, people continue to die alone on ventilators and this so-called new normal is grueling.

Are we really surprised that this period is appearing as one of the most infectious times since the advent of this virus? Here in Guyana over 900 people tested positive in one day this week sending some into panic, others were silenced, while there are those who simply shrugged and have chosen to live by faith. Crowds gathered across the country during the Christmas season and daily flights are landing. While those who can travel are only the vaccinated and must also have negative tests before travel, still somehow the variants continue to make their way across the world.

However, while we Guyanese are burdened by the global plague, the local plagues also continue to pollute the air.  A few days ago, ExxonMobil announced that there were two more oil discoveries and as has become the norm, the people did not celebrate. Most Guyanese are no longer excited about oil. Some cannot afford to buy cooking oil or gas.  How quickly we went from the pride we felt at the first discovery, to fireworks for first oil to now apathy.

Natural Resource Fund Bill 2021

The controversy concerning how oil revenues will be spent has not caused us to take the streets in our thousands. A few people protested on the day the Natural Resource Fund Bill 2021 was to be presented. Perhaps fear of water cannons, tear gas and bullets silence us. Perhaps hiding behind fake profiles on social media to express our frustrations some believe is safest.

High drama took place in the National Assembly when the Natural Resource Bill 2021 was passed which many believe will result in the stealing of the oil revenues. The opposition protested and attempts were made to take the mace. These unscripted tragedies and comedies are nothing to laugh about though the acting is often so impressive that it deserves awards. But while these actors continue to play their part, chaos brews and the people’s hope continues to dwindle. Who is really on our side?

HIGH COST OF LIVING IN GUYANA
2022 arrived with us grappling with the cost of living. What is being done to address it? The people’s bills will not be paid on promises of a brighter future. Manna will not fall from the sky while people wait to be able to afford to adequately feed, house and clothe themselves. Telling us to wait for betterment will only continue to aggravate us. The open wounds are bleeding profusely, and the suffering is now and imminent. The time for promises has passed. The time for putting temporary balms to heal our wounds has long expired. When will all the Guyanese people live comfortably, and none will be made to wear their poverty as a badge of honour?

But our condition is our fault. We are the ones who have elected and selected the ones who lead us and whom we are often too weak or afraid to hold accountable. We are our own enemies when we stab each other in the back. Meanwhile we embrace our open enemies who walk in the shadows of imperialism.

GARBAGE CITY

One can say that our environment reflects the condition of the people. When we take a walk or drive around central Georgetown for example, amongst the tall concrete structures that may contribute to the flooding and historic buildings some in need of renovation, piles of garbage are seen. But it is the hands of the people that put the garbage there. It reflects how many are disconnected from seeing our country as the paradise it is. Even in our residential places we can see garbage scattered as people throw their trash wherever they stand or sit. The stench in parts of the city is often intolerable; garbage in stagnant waters is an eyesore and rodents and flies could start an epidemic.

OUR FUTURE HOPES

Nevertheless, though we are pained and discombobulated, weary, and fearful, glimmers of light shine throughout Guyana. There are brilliant minds in this land who can change the world. Our children are resilient and even though they have returned to school amid a COVID surge and some of the schools were reported to have not been cleaned and teachers and students are testing positive, we hope that they will not repeat the mistakes of the forefathers and the present history architects.

I would say that I hope that during this year we will see positive changes. I would say that I hope all Guyanese would be paid living wages. I would say that I hope our electricity, water, phone, and internet services would function efficiently. That there be peace and unity and the people would stand and sound their voices.

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Comments

  • WIC  On 01/11/2022 at 1:27 pm

    A lot of hopes Ms. Telford; why not hope for the return of the British who would knock some heads, lock up some and straighten things out? unfortunately, this is not 1953 and no longer politically acceptable. Those in the recent past and present who wanted to run what “ah we own all”, don’t understand what accountability, integrity and nation building is all about. Continue however to keep the faith; one day the political cadres in charge and wannabe’s will eventually pass from the scene, and hopefully, some of the oil money will be still there or you can help pass laws to recover the money from the relatives who have same stashed overseas.

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