THE EDITOR: As TT has lurched from bust to boom and vice versa over the past 60 years, one gets the feeling that any future boom can only come from man-made endeavours and not geological fortitude.
So, in an effort to get the conditions right for success in the new knowledge-based economy, I offer the following perspective in dealing with our post-colonial hangover.
First the negatives.
It is well known that our previous colonial governments, like all colonial governments, ruled with their own best interest paramount at all times. This led to their enacting policies that were in large measure detrimental to the well-being of the great majority of citizens and some of these oppressive policies were as follows:
* Their education policy which saw almost everything through a Eurocentric lens, especially the manner in which they taught the important subject of history.
* Divide-and-rule policy, which often saw their manner of doing business, setting up one of the major ethnic groups against the other.
* Their generally racist outlook, which kept the large majority of non-white citizens from progressing past a certain level in either government or private sector.
* Their suppression of religious freedom which included the banning of Shouter Baptists and non-recognition of Hindu and Muslim marriage ceremonies.
* Their suppression of local culture, which included dance, calypso, steelband and Indian music.
* Their entire modus operandi spoke of an attitude which placed British values and traditions above all else.
However, we should always be aware that if a small island like Britain, which is roughly the size of Guyana, could end up colonising nearly half of the world then it must have some systems, policies, behaviours and traditions that are worth holding on to and I would suggest that we reconsider the value of the following:
* The British system of justice.
* The British system of local government.
* The British work ethic.
* British systems of checks and balances.
* Traditional British values, such as punctuality, ethical behaviour, kindness, generosity and tradition.
In conclusion, I suggest that while we all acknowledge the hurtful history of so much of British rule, it does not blind us to the value of retaining some of their best policies and values.