By Gerald V. Paul
Eyes Live will be a series of Through Our Caribbean Eyes columns covering the region, a continuation of my extensive and intensive work there and even working in South Africa as a journalist and missionary.
First stop? Guyana. Here Eyes will re-establish our Caribbean Camera Bureau contact, plus the Rev. Gerald V. Paul Library / Media Centre / GM Youth and Leadership Foundation.
Eyesers, this is in order and part of our social responsibility to have our eyes and ears closer on the ground and in the trenches, just like we are doing here in the GTA.
In Guyana, inequality will be thematic, in light of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the fifth edition of the resolution entitled The Role of the United Nations in Promoting a New Global Human Order, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the UNs
Thanks to the former president of Guyana, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, who fought for the poor, marginalized, oppressed and suppressed peoples of Guyana and the world at large, for his initial proposals for a New Global Human Order, his legacy to the world.
Jagan put forward his ideas for a New Global Human Order where the primacy of human development is the guiding principle. He was convinced that with a coordinated international effort, poverty and hunger could be eradicated in our lifetime.
In his book A New Global Order, Jagan posited, “Democracy is a vital ingredient of development. It must be representative, consultative and participatory. The people, especially women, must be fully empowered. The goal of democracy must be, as the American Declaration of Independence stipulated: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
According to Jagan, human rights must embrace civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Human needs and human security must be the object of development.
By the way, facing me at my desk in the office is “Use Your Freedom … Defend Human Rights”, a quote from Amnesty International.
Eyesers, there is a nexus between poverty, disease, population explosion, environmental degradation, migration, narcotics production, usage and trafficking and crime.
Indeed, human development and the protection of the environment are closely linked. There will be no protection of the environment if the boundaries of poverty continue to expand.
Small wonder, at a session of the General Assembly, George Talbot, ambassador for Guyana to the UN, introduced the resolution, which had been updated and revised in the context of the current realities. The resolution emphasized the continued and growing importance of the need to address inequalities at the multilateral level and provides a platform for focused inter-governmental consideration of the question of inequality.
Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in his book The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers our Future, reveals “It was clear from the reception of The Price of Inequality that it had hit a chord. Not just in the United States but around the world as well, there is mounting concern about increases in inequality and about the lack of opportunity, and how these twin trends are changing our economics, our democratic politics and our societies.”
Ah! Politics and economics are like a horse and carriage: you cannot have one without the other.
So as we say, hand wash hand? Mek hand come clean …Yuh scratch my back, Eyes? But allyuh look story, eh, eh.
In other words, there must be a deep sense of community, a vision to move Guyana forward rather than backward. Where Guyana was once seen as the basket case of the Caribbean, both politically and economically, it’s now positioned itself in a glorious win-win as the bread basket of the Caribbean.