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Mr. Hamilton Green, former Prime Minister and Mayor, has for years made the call for a “moral and spiritual revival.” His call remains relevant. Guyanese are challenged, daily, to sustain some semblance of order and lawfulness. A moral compass, as it were, that would inform a universal blueprint of right and wrong, good and bad behavior that connects all. Guyana has become a place where might replaces right. Civility is viewed as outdated or hindrance to getting what people want.
Where in the past up-standingness and ethics were admired, offered opportunity for socio-economic ascension, and distinguished whether one was properly raised, these are no longer seen as important or have been pushed far down the pole of human relationships.
Politics has become a crude form of Machiavellianism, leaving one to wonder when ethics and reasoning have fled men/women once thought to possess such aptitude. This is peculiar in a multiethnic society when harmony and equity rely on valuing the input of all and all functioning at some uniformed standard of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Efforts to justify acts are driven by what means are deemed necessary to justify the end. It’s astonishing to listen to men entangle themselves, in feigned intelligence and logic, in the pursuit of their brand of happiness.
Deception has become the new norm. This is happening across the political spectrum and does not augur well for Guyana. Said attitude will make people become disillusioned in the political process, thinking political involvement necessitates selling their souls and treating the other as enemy not as their fellowman.
And where sections of the business community are earning the reputation of being more interested in themselves than country, Guyana stands out as a place where the entrepreneurial class operates as hustlers. They are interested only to associate or dissociate when they think their bottom line (revenue) would be affected. The pride in corporate citizenship seen in other societies is of miniscule or no value here.
The foundational aspiration to becoming One People, One Nation, One Destiny is under constant threat. The grabalicious, scheming and selfish subcultures are taking hold. There is the feeling that sense of community, a common/shared belief is coming apart at the seams. Yet it was the community and shared beliefs that guided the evolution of Guyana and kept the diverse people together, in spite of historical cultures.
Travelling around, be it by public or private transportation, requires guts and/or resignation. Road etiquette is being thrown aside and traffic rules violated without care for other road users. Apparently, the only care for many is getting to their destination. Whether motivated by money (in the case of public transport) or time (for private transportation), there is a sense people are not concerned about others and the law, as some have resigned themselves (for their own sanity) to navigate the lawlessness.
And even as there is nothing but admiration for the determination of Guyanese to own or upgrade their homes, it’s painful to recognise such determination sees a government devoid of thinking it is their primary responsibility to provide proper roads. The government also operates unperturbed by the escalating cost of living, crime and societal chaos, and dire consequences these could rouse to the development.
It is as though the government is in a war against the people, attacking them left, right and centre with a crude and selfish management style. Officials are acting as though devoid of any ethical compass that would reflect regard for the collective’s desire to be One People, One Nation, One Destiny.
Mr. Green’s plea for a moral and spiritual revival rings true. Civic minded citizens should push for it. It is even more urgent in the oil and gas economy when some (including government) are growing increasingly selfish and others are losing the appreciation for adhering to a common civility and morality.