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Guyana, the small South American nation, is experiencing an oil boom that has propelled it to become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. However, despite the influx of billions of dollars in revenue, the benefits of this economic boom are not being shared equally among the population.
Many Guyanese still live in poverty, surviving on less than $5 US per day, struggling to afford basic necessities such as food and shelter. The high cost of living has forced families to live in shacks, unable to send their children to school, and even struggling to provide one meal a day.
To make matters worse, the wealth generated from the oil boom is not being distributed fairly. The rich continue to accumulate wealth, flaunting their luxury and extravagance on social media while the poor continue to suffer. The lack of a general consensus for social safety nets to support those in need is evident.
Guyana’s natural resources are abundant, not only in oil reserves but also in land, gold, diamonds, and bauxite. However, these resources have been primarily exploited by wealthy families, with little benefit for the Guyanese people as a whole. Despite the government’s commitment to the prudent management of natural resources, many fear that the proceeds from the oil resources will continue to benefit only a few.
There is a pressing need to address issues such as racism, sexism, poverty, social exclusion, and limited access to basic services. These problems are particularly severe in the hinterland and among Amerindians. Although the government has invested in infrastructure projects such as hospitals, schools, and highways, the lives of many Guyanese have not improved, and there is a sense that they are being left behind. It is therefore crucial that leaders take action to address poverty in Guyana and ensure that the benefits of the oil economy are distributed more equitably.