Feb 04, 2017 Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom kaieteur news

 Guyanese, wherever they have gone have been respected for their professional achievements. These achievements have been attributed to the standard of education of Guyanese and have helped to develop an intellectual tradition.
Without doubt, there are top-class Guyanese academics and scholars. But Guyana’s intellectual tradition is not home grown. It is a product more of foreign universities than the University of Guyana. Those Guyanese who are considered part of Guyana’s intellectual tradition are all products of foreign universities or have lived outside of Guyana.
The Guyana Prize for Literature has nothing to do with nurturing an intellectual tradition. It was intended to help promote the arts, particularly the literary arts. But that Prize was dominated by foreign writers and poets. It is to the credit of the Granger Administration that it has continued with the Guyana Prize since from all accounts it was helping to improve local literary standards. On top of this all, the prize money was considered such a bounty by locals that it was encouraging people to write simply for the prize.
The University of Guyana is now in a process of experimentation. This is all so that you can describe what is taking place there at the moment. They are starting a school of Entrepreneurship and help was sought from a foreign university to establish the viability of an entrepreneurship programme.
That is risible. Can you imagine someone in America trying to prepare a programme on entrepreneurship for Guyanese? Guyanese are the one who should be lecturing to the Americans about entrepreneurship.
Guyanese have rewritten all the textbooks on entrepreneurship. Which foreign university can teach Guyanese about making money? You want to know how to make money, turn back the clock forty years ago when there were import restrictions on almost every conceivable item you can think about.
It was ordinary Guyanese unschooled in entrepreneurship who saved Guyana from mass starvation and nakedness and they did this while making a lot of money. You will not find in any of the major textbooks on entrepreneurship having a chapter on suitcase trading.
The textbooks will tell you about the various start-up costs. But they will not factor in the bribes that Guyanese have to pay to get some permit or document or some license. The textbooks will tell you about keeping overhead low. But they will not consider the possibility of things such as blackouts and crime which afflict businesses.
Businesses in Guyana are being robbed in their stores and shops. They are being robbed when they leave the banks. Employees are robbing some businesses right under their noses. The text books do not cater for such crashes. It assumed that crime is an externality. But in Guyana’s business it is not. Even with high security costs, there is always the risk of a business being robbed as so many seem to be experiencing these days.
The entrepreneurial textbooks will tell you that you must cater for competition. The books mean legal competition from persons producing similar goods. But they do not refer to competition from those stealing electricity and those who are favored in government contracts. The textbooks assume that the playing field is level and that all you have to do is to be more cost efficient and you will be successful. That is simply not so.
The textbooks also do not tell you that if you produce a certain product that the absence of strong copyright legislation means that somebody is going to counterfeit that product and oust you from the market.
The textbooks do not instruct you about vendors coming in front of your store and underselling whatever you are selling. Right now there is a multi-million-dollar business established in Georgetown. The business has overheads, staff to pay and no doubt debts to be serviced. It pays taxes, including rates and taxes. This business which deals with fast food is being undercut by a Bar –B- Que outlet established on government’s parapets and outselling the newly established fast food.
So tell me, does Guyana need a school of entrepreneurship? Guyana needs a dose of law and order.
Guyana must develop an indigenous intellectual tradition, one that is geared to doing things such as helping people to establish businesses in Guyana. No textbook or foreign university can do that right now.