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On Wednesday January 20th the world watched Mr. Joe Biden sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America. His election to office though agonising for some has been greeted with hope and expectation by others that this presidency will make a difference. There is no need to revisit what the world witnessed the last four years of a Donald Trump presidency but the sign of relief small nations like Guyana can breathe is liberating.
The USA is not a perfect society, but it cannot be denied it is a society many look to for guidance and look up to as a role model. In mere days President Biden’s brand of politics is breathing a sense of confidence that this time it will be different. For starters, the manner in which he is attacking the novel coronavirus that is ravishing the world is welcoming.
His administration’s commitment to let science guide the management of the dealing with the virus is a break from his predecessor who rebuffed science and made society feel the virus will “disappear just like that.” The Biden administration is tackling the virus head on with the goal to have a 100 million shots in the 100 days.
January 21st marked one year since the virus has hit the US and the country is evidently struggling to grapple with it, recording more than 400,000 deaths and 24 million infected. This is worrisome, because the USA makes up four percent of the world’s population but has 25 percent of the infection. Where many Guyanese reside there or visit Guyana has to be concerned and it feels good to know President Biden has a plan to deal with the pandemic.
The signing of Executive Orders to rejoin the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Climate Change Accord couldn’t be more welcoming. This pandemic as well as climate change needs collective and collaborative work. Challenges of these magnitudes cannot be tackled alone.
The isolationist policy pursued by President Donald Trump ignored a world that has become more interconnected with globalisation. What affects one country invariably will impact others. Health and the environment are not unique to Americans, Guyanese or any other country. We are all users of the same environment, affected by climate change, and the pandemic has proven our connectivity were there any doubt.
Mr. Biden’s history as a politician has been one of reaching across the aisle. This would be good because such mannerism typifies a person willing to work with others for the common good. The reversal of his predecessor’s travel restriction to countries with a primarily Muslim population is good news, likewise the commitment to immigration reform.
COVID-19 has proven that while Mr. Trump referred to non-white countries as “sh..hole countries” many from these same countries are playing important roles in the development of the USA, and in combating the virus. Guyana could be proud of the role Guyanese played. We had doctors, scientists, and nurses on the frontline, helping in developing the cocktail and vaccine and administering the vaccine.
President Biden in his inauguration address unambiguously made known the USA is back. Directly addressing the world, he said “So here is my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and we have come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s. We will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example. We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.” The world looks forward with anticipation.