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Stop depending on salaried jobs, develop village economies and be thrifty

A section of the attendees at the Cuffy250-organised conference on the State of African Guyanese

‎President David Granger on Sunday urged Guyanese to kick-start village economies through agriculture and manufacturing rather than rely on salaried jobs and merely using their communities merely as “dormitories.”

“Unless you change the economy, create entrepreneurship and manufacturing, we will always be victims of people who make decisions for us,” he told a forum on the State of African Guyanese held at the Critchlow Labour College.

The event was organised by the non-governmental organisation, Cuffy250.

He reasoned that: salaried employment is “very seductive” because of guaranteed payment regardless of the circumstances but being a farmer requires savings to purchase seeds, fertilizer and equipment.

Granger warned Guyanese that if they do not change the economy and add value to their products, the country would always be exporting raw products like rice, sugar, bauxite, gold and timber. “Every society is defined by what it produces.”

He lamented that many communities have become unproductive since the abolition of slavery and the purchase of villages by freed slaves who had pooled their savings. “Many of our communities which were once productive units are now dormitories,” said Granger.

The President said special attention must be paid to the development and growth of village economies because they would in turn contribute to the improvement and sustenance of the national economy. “The village economies need and demand more attention from our economic planners,” he said.

He acknowledged that one of the major problems that is preventing the kick-start of village economies is the high level of youth employment because many of them are interested in becoming police and soldiers instead of toiling the deep backlands.

In that regard, the President said Guyanese should not expect the government to magically create jobs.

The President also urged Afro-Guyanese to change their culture of doing things by being thrifty rather that focus on gold teeth, apparel, ‎cigarettes and alcohol. “You make the choices and you will have to live with the consequences,” said Granger, a historian and former Brigadier of the Guyana Defence Force.