Guyana has become one big lawless society. This is what I encountered at Christmas. Walking along Water Street in downtown George-town you had to force your way through a jungle of illegal pavement and street stalls. If you should accidentally knock over one of the items on display, then heaven help you. Garbage is thrown anywhere as the city becomes inundated by rubbish. Solid waste and dead animals litter the environment. The smell is unbearable.
Public transport still runs at breakneck speed with more passengers than minibuses are legally allowed to carry, plus the fact that they change the prescribed route at will.
What is even more depressing is the fact that there is no courtesy afforded you when you board a bus. I was practically bundled into one of these going all the way to North Ruimveldt.
The conductor/tout shouted “straight to South.” I know that to be up South Road into Homestretch, along Mandela Avenue then to South. Well all of that changed when I entered the bus because it was straight to High Street and into Norton Street’s racetrack heading to South. I did not utter a word of protest because I was going to the last stop in North Ruimveldt. Why worry.
I did have cause to protest when he no sooner hit Norton Street than several passengers boarded the bus and we were overloaded way past the legal limit.
I vividly remember being squashed between a woman and the conductor around that section of the bus where the heat of the engine makes you most uncomfortable. By this time there was no place left for the conductor to take a seat, so he just squeezed himself in leaning over me for the rest of the journey.
I had no choice but to speak up, so I politely said, “Sir, this is not right you know,” to which he rudely replied, “Eh eh you cyan come down yuh know or ketch another bus.”
That was not all; the lady sitting beside me chimed in “Whey yuh come from mister? Mussy England … this is Guyana.” I did not utter another sound. So I decided on my own method of protest and when I reached my destination I refused to pay, which made the conductor more irate and he gave me a grand cussing-out.
Now this kind of behaviour is a regular feature and I was told it is even worse at night when the late night shift workers are at the mercy of unscrupulous conductors and drivers.
Who said that tinted windows are against the law? Well think again; tinted fibreglass is everywhere.
And nothing is said or done about it as the vehicles drive right past the traffic cops.