The PPP/C government of President Donald Ramotar should take drastic steps to clean up its act. The poor, aged, women and the working class are buckling under economic pressures not of their making. Offering an apology for their neglect and explaining why it lost a parliamentary majority is still to be done. It cannot hurt. Public transportation and an erratic electricity supply daily remind us of our national failings. The corrupt live better. The closest the PPP/C came to tackling these glaring problems was the commendable head-on attack on corruption by respected former Speaker Ralph Ramkarran who was so unceremoniously allowed to walk away. Mr Ramkarran’s concerns were more credible because of his family’s legacy and he did not stand to gain personally. Does the PPP/C expect to win any snap polls just because of APNU/AFC shenanigans? What debunks the perception that voters will again stay away from the polls as they have been increasingly doing?
During a visit to PNC Mayor Hamilton Green’s garbage city, I witnessed the plight of some around City Hall, Stabroek Market and Water Street who were half clothed, unwashed and begging. A half naked man walked around Stabroek Market, begging, was ignored and then lay down in the street. He gave up. A solitary woman with very long hair, in her mid-thirties, fully clothed, but dirty, sat on the street outside the City Hall and was toying with the few dollars she had. (Are the Dharmic Sabha, Indian Arrival Committee, Guyana Central Arya Samaj, CIOG or ACDA still in existence?) She stared into space like all the problems of the world were on her shoulders. She told me she was from Anna Catherina on the West Coast Demerara. No supposed relatives apparently cared. I did not inquire further. An elderly clean woman sat strategically outside Robb Street Scotia Bank doing her thing, while a small figure huddled under a shroud just opposite (a parched palm tree?) outside the High Court. Only a hand protruded through an open hole with a dirty, dented cup, begging. I spoke to the shroud and it spoke back to me! No relatives, she lives alone, no one to turn to! With how much and how often could a sympathetic passer-by like me assist? The pitiful bloody condition of the beaten homeless assailant who attacked a student in Brickdam was gut-wrenching.
Have personnel from the Health or Social Services Ministries been making street visits? What became of the laudable soup kitchen which was supposed to daily feed hungry street people, affording them a daily shower to make them remain human? Is UG destined to always graduate theoretical sociologists?
Has the Peoples‘ Parliament done anything? Can’t the internationally reputed public servant and psychiatrist Dr Faith Harding be contracted to help? I like her. All Guyana, not only President Ramotar, are being ill served by incompetent uncaring, public servants, UG and Ministers.
The affluent lifestyles of some top PPP/C apparatchiks invite considerable ridicule and harm their image. Incompetent Ministers like Dr Bheri Ramsarran who is out of his league, or Ms Priya Manickchand, who ‘lost it‘ when speaking to enraged anti-massacre Lusignan demonstrators were not just retained, they were promoted. What in the world explains the qualifications for appointing Mr Anil Nandlall as Attorney General when Mr Ramkarran was the best candidate? He still is.
The PPP/C government was founded on the basis of championing the poor, weak, downtrodden and working class. So there is a damaging race rivalry. So what? This never deterred the Jagans, Mr Ashton Chase, Mr Jocelyn Hubbard and numerous others (Ramkarran, Rai, Benn, Rodney, Harrylall, etc) from their mission to improve their lives. The President should get ready to rumble.
Recalibrate and recoup. Invite the Opposition Leader to lunch. Become inspired by Emma Lazarus’s poem on the statue of Liberty part of which says:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!