Mindset change needed among citizens in order to develop Guyana – Pres Ali

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Whilst outlining his developmental vision for the country, President Dr Irfaan Ali called on Guyanese to change their outlook on national matters, noting that without a mindset focused on transformation, Guyana’s prosperity will continue to be challenged.

He made the remarks on Thursday during a forum at State House where he apprised stakeholders on the gas-to-energy project and what such an initiative means for the country.

Before he delved into the details, the Head of State explained that the project must be examined within the wider construct of the country’s national transformational agenda which rests on seven pillars.

The seventh pillar, President Ali revealed, is mental transformation. He noted that this pillar was recently added after he took some quiet time to think about what’s happening in the country.

Referring to this pillar as “very important”, President Ali expressed that, “we need to have a mental transformation in our society because the scale of what we’re doing is completely different from the way we think. From a business operational perspective, the scale is different from what we ever imagined”.

He added that, “the mental transformation talks about critical thinking and not this type of straight-line analysis and as I normally say, the word that I used a lot these days, “the gyaffing” scenarios”.

“And it must lead to a mindset change. That requires all of us to understand the development path and agenda.”

Referencing the clean-up campaigns around the capital city of Georgetown, President Ali pointed out that, “we cannot accomplish a clean and neat environment to boost tourism if all of us don’t change our mindset in the way we approach the environment”.

This is not the first time that the Guyanese leader had cause to encourage citizens to change the way they think.

Following the violent protests along the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) on Tuesday, President Ali told reporters that he had contemplated conducting an address to the nation live from a burial ground.

“To remind everybody that, at the end of the day, that’s our final destination…you want to fight, you want to break up, you can have everything, that’s our final destination,” President Ali expressed.

Also, whilst addressing members of the Guyanese diaspora in LA in June, President Ali argued that Guyanese and their “myopic thinking” will get us nowhere. He was at the time defending his decision to allocate several acres of land in Guyana to be utilised by farmers of Barbados as the two countries seek to push the regional food security agenda.

Referencing the criticisms he saw on social media, President Ali pointed out that “when I went to Barbados, what I saw, I saw an entire parish where the farmers were Guyanese, where the farmers were given land by Barbados to farm…where the Government of Barbados is investing in infrastructure to help them.” According to President Ali, “myopic thinking will not take us anywhere”.

Meanwhile, the other pillars outlined by President Ali are associated with infrastructure, technology, services, energy security, food security, and human resources.
Speaking about infrastructural transformation, the Head of State highlighted that “you’ve seen a very elaborate and detailed masterplan unveiling in the country as it relates to the infrastructure transformation of our country.

The Linden-Mabura Hill Road, the new four lane highways, expanding highways, opening up opportunities for tens of thousands of acres of new lands, linking the hinterland, opening up new frontiers for tourism and the new economy”.

But he cautioned that “infrastructure is not only about building a new road”.

“It is critically linked to buttressing the economy and opening up the growth that we want to see because we can’t become prosperous if we confine ourselves to the infrastructural arrangements we have now,” he expressed.

Moreover, he spoke about the natural course of urbanisation and highlighted that a lot of people who are working in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) are renting or living in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).

“That is why we speak about the four-lane bridge that will be under construction soon but we have to start talking about advancing the next phase of linking these two regions because of what is taking place,” he noted.
When it comes to technology, President Ali explained that this has to be deployed “to its fullest in the transformation of our country”.
“It is the whole architecture through which we will deliver service to the population,” he posited.

Regarding services, President Ali said the aim is to ensure “we deliver to the people of our country the best possible service in education, health, housing…”

On energy security, he reasoned that “it’s not just about production of electricity, that’s very narrow”. President Ali emphasised that the goal will be to fulfil the local energy demands and then evolve to become part of an energy masterplan that goes beyond the country’s borders.

Meanwhile, President Ali reiterated his vision on food security and spoke about all the investments and initiatives the Government has been embarking upon to achieve this, not only in Guyana, but regionally.

The other pillar has to do with the country’s human resources transformation. According to President Ali, this has to do with a “highly literate, skilled, high paid, resilient human resource base in our country…that is what we want to create”.