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As Guyana faces an unprecedented crisis with Venezuela’s vile and aggressive claims over the Essequibo region, a glaring disparity emerges in the response of its citizens. The super-wealthy in Guyana, long accused of exploiting Guyana’s resources for personal gain, are now notably absent in the nation’s hour of need, as they have done in the past, many of them are preparing to send their children overseas, avoiding potential conscription, and leaving the burden of defense to the less privileged, particularly the African Guyanese community.
This crisis has laid bare the long-standing divide in Guyanese society. The rich, who have historically built their fortunes on the back of Guyana’s natural wealth, feel no moral compulsion to contribute to the nation’s defense or upliftment. Their response to the current situation is not surprising but is nonetheless deeply disappointing. Their strategy has always been one of isolation – building higher fences and larger gates – rather than investing in the development of poorer communities or holding the government accountable for its corrupt actions.
The wealthy elite’s detachment is not just a failure of moral responsibility; it is a failure of national unity. As young men and women from less affluent backgrounds are called to potentially risk their lives, the affluent seemingly prioritize personal safety and wealth preservation over national duty. This division is not just about economic disparity; it is about a fundamental disconnect in the understanding of citizenship and shared responsibility.
President Maduro’s actions, while alarming, also present an opportunity for Guyanese society to reflect on its internal dynamics. The rich, who have historically reaped the benefits of Guyana’s resources, must recognize that with privilege comes responsibility. In a time when the nation’s territorial integrity is under threat, it is not just the government that should be held accountable for its response – or lack thereof – but also those who have silently profited from the nation’s wealth.
This situation is a wake-up call for Guyana’s ‘so-called’ elite. They must step forward and demonstrate their commitment to the nation, not just through words but through concrete actions. Whether it is through financial contributions, participation in national defense strategies, or support for communities on the front lines, the wealthy must show that they are part of Guyana, not just in times of prosperity, but more importantly, in times of crisis.
As the nation grapples with the threat posed by Maduro’s declarations, the role of the wealthy in Guyanese society needs to be re-evaluated. It is time for them to join the ranks of those who are already sacrificing much for Guyana. Their absence in this critical moment not only undermines national unity but also questions the very essence of their commitment to the land that has given them so much. The question remains: Will Guyana’s super rich step up to the challenge, or will they continue to be absent in a time when their country needs them the most?