Economic independence for Guyana a real possibility – Opposition Leader

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…urges prudent management of oil resources

On the occasion of 55 years since Guyana gained political independence, the burgeoning oil and gas sector presents Guyana with a very real opportunity to achieve the economic independence that has been enjoyed by other oil-producing nations.

This is according to Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon in his Independence Day message. According to him, it is important that Guyana prudently manages its oil and gas resources to ensure this economic independence is brought about.

“Today, for the first time in our history, economic independence is a real possibility given our abundant oil and gas resources. This possibility, however, has come about when the issues of the negative global consequences of fossil fuels are a growing global concern.”

“The issues of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic could not be more present nationally and beyond. Guyana therefore has a sharpened responsibility to ensure that we mitigate the proven downside of oil by the responsible management of its extraction and the monies garnered from it,” Harmon said.

Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon

In contemplating what political independence in 1966 meant, Harmon noted that a number of freedoms were introduced that were important symbols of nationhood. These included Guyana’s own national flag, national anthem, motto and other emblems. However, economic independence did not automatically follow.

“Guyana had a high standing in the international community as we chartered a course to pursue our national interest; we were dependable partners in the fight for decolonisation. The 55 years that followed independence were marked by significant points. But as was the case in many post-colonial countries of that era, we struggled across partisan and racially charged political lines to realise true independence.”

“Guyana’s population is less than a million. In light of decades of outward migration, it is incumbent, therefore, on the Government in particular, to offer security and a sustainable future to those Guyanese who have remained,” Harmon also said in his message.

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harmon noted that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition will redouble its efforts and encourage all citizens to join the national push for increased vaccinations. He noted that Guyana cannot afford to lose another citizen.

“I take this opportunity to single out the efforts of the doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been at the forefront of our fight against this virus. Today, they should be recognised as national heroes. They go well beyond the call of duty to save lives and ensure essential services,” he said.

“I also take this opportunity to highlight the efforts of members of the Disaster Management Teams, Disciplined Service personnel, sanitation workers, delivery staff, transportation, and aviation personnel, providers of various services, Government employees, social service organisations, NGOs and generous citizens who have demonstrated solidarity and care for their fellow citizens.”

On the issue of social cohesion, Harmon said that social ills such as intolerance and bigotry must be dealt with decisively without blaming and shaming. He urged that Guyana not sweep it back under the carpet, but rather commit at every level—personal, institutional, political, governmental, social—to consciously, resolutely, and patriotically rid our society of this divisive affliction.

“I cannot think of any Guyanese who does not recognise that ethnic insecurity has been the root of our historic barrier to nation building. This old colonial curse has been the mill stone to our joint and just development,” the Opposition Leader said.

“Finally, it is the generational duty of all Guyanese to commit to a model of economic development now that we have the financial resources, a model that should not replace the old masters with new masters who are even less concerned about our wellbeing. We must raise our voices, commit to new efforts as we did some 55 years ago when we hoisted the Golden Arrowhead.”