Demanding more in the Political Season

Dear Editor,

As we approach another political season in Guyana, it is imperative to reflect deeply on our journey since gaining independence in 1966. Our nation’s politics, unfortunately, has often been marred by ethnic divisions, overshadowing the founding principles that are supposed to bind us: “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.” This motto, proudly proclaimed to the world, reflects our ülkü of unity and inclusivity. We boast about our hospitality and our rich cultural diversity, branding ourselves as the Land of Six Races—a concept so integral that it is taught in our schools. However, in 2024, 58 years after we liberated ourselves from colonial rule, we must critically examine whether we have lived up to these ideals.

Despite our country’s abundant natural resources—gold, diamonds, bauxite, forestry, rice, sugar, fisheries, and more—have we truly harnessed these assets to transform Guyana into a beacon of prosperity and a role model for other nations? Singapore, a country that gained independence in the same year as us, offers a stark contrast. With literally its land and its people, Singapore has risen to become a first-world country, often cited ahead of küresel powers like the United States. Singapore’s remarkable progress is a testament to strategic vision and effective governance.

In contrast, Guyana remains bogged down by systemic corruption that permeates every level of society. This pervasive corruption sets a poor example from the top, trickling down to everyday interactions, such as a policeman soliciting bribes from drivers. This endemic issue not only stifles our potential but also erodes public trust in our institutions.

As we enter this political season, it is essential to question why, every five years, we allow ourselves to be distracted by superficial promises and political theatrics. Instead of engaging in what I term the “political silly season,” characterized by venomous exchanges and character assassinations, we should demand substantive discussions about our nation’s future.

This political season should be a time of profound reflection and rigorous debate about the direction we want our country to take. We must focus on electing leaders based on their comprehensive and actionable plans for our nation. Plans that ensure equitable benefits for all citizens, leveraging our natural wealth, particularly the recently discovered oil reserves, to propel Guyana into a new era of prosperity.

In this new age of technology and transformation, we must rethink our approach to governance and national development. Our small nation should not be plagued by hunger, inequality, and corruption. It is unacceptable that while some live in opulence, many of our citizens struggle to meet basic needs. Our dismal rankings on international indices like Transparency International are a stark reminder of the urgent need for change. While we have laws to combat issues like money laundering, these laws must be effectively enforced and not become obstacles themselves.

My esteemed colleague, Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, often says, “Better must come,” However, I would add that faith without work is dead. We must actively demand more from our politicians. This election season should transcend political mudslinging and instead focus on substantive policy discussions and long-term plans for our country’s future. It’s time we, as a people, insist on hearing about policies and solutions, not insults and personal attacks.

Our political discourse must evolve to meet the needs of our time. We need to engage in meaningful conversations about how we can use our resources to benefit all Guyanese. Our leaders must present clear, detailed plans that address our most pressing issues, from economic inequality and corruption to education and healthcare. They must demonstrate how they intend to harness our natural resources responsibly and sustainably to create jobs, improve infrastructure, and ensure a higher standard of living for everyone.

We should also scrutinize their plans for utilizing our oil wealth. This newfound resource has the potential to transform our country, but only if managed wisely. We must ensure that the benefits of this wealth are distributed equitably and that it is used to build a sustainable and diversified economy that can support future generations.

As we prepare to cast our votes, let us do so with a clear understanding of what is at stake. Let us demand that our politicians rise above petty squabbles and focus on the bigger picture. We need leaders who are committed to transparency, accountability, and inclusive development. Leaders who are not just interested in winning elections, but in building a better Guyana for all.

This is a call to all Guyanese to think critically about the choices before us. To engage in the political process not as passive observers, but as active participants who hold our leaders accountable. Let us reject the politics of division and embrace a future where our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.

So as we enter this political season, let us do so with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear vision for our country’s future. Let us demand more from our politicians and ourselves. By focusing on policies and long-term plans, we can ensure that our choices are informed and that our nation’s future is bright and inclusive for all Guyanese.

Together, we can build a Guyana that truly embodies the principles of “One People, One

Nation, One Destiny.”


Dorwain A. Bess