ByAnna CorreiaWhen I tell my friends that I miss Guyana, the response is almost always a bitter-sweet one — there’s nothing to come back to: no jobs, no thriving economy nor prospects for investment, just a general societal malaise and a growing fear of free speech. The atmosphere is morose. Anywhere besides Guyana seems like a better alternative at the moment. This is what Guyana has come to – a place where the essence of dreams of both the young and the old has been replaced by an apprehension for the future; and it is so dense that it permeates every layer of society, stopping only at the feet of those in power. This is what the Coalition has reduced Guyana to. And this era, reminiscent of the Burnhamite days, will be the disgraceful legacy of the PNC-dominated APNU/AFC. Yet, the most frightening part of this grim tale is not so much the pessimism of the people, but rather the air of dejection which seems to be progressively inhibiting them — almost as if, little by little, they are resigning to a fate depicted by this dystopian tableau which, with each new day, transforms into reality.Frightening; because a people who succumb to lassitude and fear, instead of channelling frustrations toward positive change, only make it easier for the Coalition to continue in its rampage against democracy and democratic institutions as it remains anchored in corruption, opacity, witch-hunting, and the use of State resources for political persecution. We now find ourselves in a scenario similar to the 1980s, when a cocktail of poor economic conditions and political tyranny were the driving factors for immigration. It was a period in our history where people preferred to flee Guyana, because they either had no leverage to act on the improvement of their own lives and against the dictatorship, or they preferred to opt for comfort in foreign lands, while they could.Today, economic mismanagement and contractionary fiscal policies are driving Guyana right back into the wall, and one of the risks we face is the loss of the trained professionals who have, over the years, contributed to the human development of our country. The brain drain began from as early as 2015 with the mass firings in the Public Sector, and continues today, touching from Government-contracted workers to young business graduates looking for investment opportunities abroad.Government workers, however, feel the strain more than others, because they’re well aware of the precariousness of their situation. They’re conscious of the fact that, at the snap of a finger, they could lose the jobs to which they’ve consecrated years of their lives, without any guarantees of finding a source of income in this halting economy. And these are the people with barely any leverage to act against the Government. These are the people who are bound by a fear on which the Government thrives.The decision to place Government-contracted doctors on a pension plan and to tax their allowances will most likely initiate a new wave of brain drain of trained medical professionals. However, while doctors are conscious of the life-saving nature of their profession, as well as the inadequacies of the Public Health Sector, some are building the courage to confront the Government on a level playfield. And they’re doing this knowing that they are putting their careers at risk under a vindictive, unrelenting Government. And while numbers do matter, it is this pocket of peaceful rebellion against injustice that we, the people, need to support. It is in the interest of the Guyanese people to defend our doctors, thereby defending our own right to decent health care.There are talks of doctors striking in hospitals nationwide, but some dispute this possibility on the basis that doctors are emergency public servants who should not be allowed to strike, unionize, or form organisations of representation. Yet, in developed democracies, civil rights are considered to be intrinsic to citizenship, regardless of social and professional status.If our doctors were to strike, the blame must be directly attributed to the Coalition. Doctors are public servants, but their mission is a life-saving one, for which the Government and the people must be grateful. But if the Coalition continues to persecute our doctors, then we must understand their need to retaliate by invoking their civil rights, including the possibility to strike.And while the consequences will be borne by the nation, it would do us well to remember that solidarity and persistence form the cement of change in a country.