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by Pauline Brown-Williams
Life in Guyana is incredibly challenging for over 50% of the population who survive on less than $5 USD per day. However, those with jobs in the public or private sector also face difficulties. In the private sector, individuals who advocate for local content and fairness in foreign procurement practices are hypocritical when they support the government’s racism and corruption when it benefits them.
Even for the small Guyanese middle class, life is far from easy. Since 2020, food prices have increased by more than 70%, and the growing oil industry’s demand will continue to drive up the cost of housing, entertainment, transportation, and banking services.
Every day, one can read about the gross mistreatment of Indigenous people in how their communities are developed. The infant mortality rate (under 5 years) in Indigenous communities is twice as high as that on the coast, and education is substandard, with children from Indigenous communities underperforming on the NGSA and CXC. Guyana needs a leader who cares about all communities.
Although East Indian citizens are mostly PPP supporters, they are also grumbling about the cost of living and poor infrastructure in their communities, as well as the impact of climate change on their livelihoods. Many PPP supporters are being abused by rulers of local fiefdoms, who shut down their businesses, use their absolute power to abuse them, and make their lives a living hell, all while central government rulers pretend blindness.
African Guyanese face gross oppression, with organizations like IDPADA-G suffering from the PPP’s insecurity and abuse. African communities remain underdeveloped, and land ownership is under attack. Government contracts are mostly awarded to East Indian cronies, and the judicial system and police force are used as PPP instruments to instill fear in African Guyanese, who are feared for their potential for greatness rather than their alleged potential for violence.
So, to whom can Guyanese look for relief? Is there a fair and just leader on the horizon? Irfaan Ali is not a fair and just leader. Guyana needs a leader who is comfortable with strong and independent local government bodies, educated enough to seek guidance even from supposed opposition supporters, and capable of providing a vision for an inclusive, respectful, thriving future that offers a place for all Guyanese. Guyana needs leadership that understands that Guyana belongs to all Guyanese, not just one political party. But where can we look for relief?