-And my sorrow for promoters
Here is one of my more brief pieces. It makes a simple pointed observation: In six decades – and more – never have I seen so many homeless bedraggled street people roaming the capital Georgetown and elsewhere in the Big, Beautiful Blighted Land, Guyana.
Vagrants, beggars, pavement-dwellers, the mentally-challenged, squatters, bag ladies, Sajee-wans, junkies, hoboes. Take your pick of any category and witness how they have multiplied in recent times. As a child, these street people were so much fewer and were easily recognized “characters” with specific tell-tale habits. The over fifties amongst us will recall the appearance and exploits of City Street-characters like Cato, Gallon, Dribbly, Bertie Vaughn, the young Adams, Mary Bruck-Iron and Bracer.
When taunted, these unfortunate folk would respond in a variety of ways. The joke was on them but perhaps, the taunters suffered some form of retribution, some poetic justice in their later lives.
Today the social picture is different – with a vengeance. Street people are the disadvantaged, the displaced in society. They are in stages of distress – in hunger, in dress, in disease, in need of shelter, life and a future. The reasons for their increased presence amongst us are varied but invariably, underlined by economic needs. It is a maxim that “a society could be judged by the manner in which it treats us seniors”. We try with our mentally – and physically – challenged but the visual evidence points to failure with our poor and displaced.
Colonies of grimy, smelly and unkempt citizens can be found living on the Kingston foreshore, under market sheds on pavements and parapets of choice. Some become violent or have violence visited upon them by sadistic young men by night. One lady has been “domiciled” outside the Law Courts and Queen Victoria for months! Or is it years. Another lady does all her personal ablutions outside the front of Parliament’s quarters. Yet other ladies have their children with them for a day’s begging.
So what is to be done? One thing to be done is not to tell me that other cities have street dwellers and that even in the USA some who lost jobs are now bunking in their vehicles. I know that. We have to find solutions to our problems where street people are concerned. Did Cuba really round up vagrants and other unfortunates and take them to an island where they were treated and made to experience the therapy of productive work! If the Cubans didn’t, perhaps we should consider such a scheme.
There are homes for the infirm, the very old the retired, the indigent and the mentally-ill. Some journalists should do some investigative work on the Senior Citizens’ Homes we have here. Whence came their funding? What are their challenges? Sure we need a Home as proposed by the ever-thinking Mr. Hamley Case. But I would recommend something more revolutionary. Change the laws with regard to taking “possession” and responsibility of and for the nations permanently displaced. Construct modern “homes”, half-way houses (?) in locations suitable for farming and other productive, income-earning activities.
Medical personnel, tutors, security and appropriate attendants must be on hand. The needy street people will have a home and must be productive enough to feel that their lives are useful. No slam or stigma will attend these residents as they sell their produce or skills to consumers. Respect and responsibility will surely evolve.
It is interesting to peruse the old 1970’s laws governing official treatment of juvenile (youthful) offenders. So many of our laws cry out for revision to meet today’s challenges. The new Guyana Needy People’s Workplace Homes would be great projects for Government-Private Sector collaboration. Is it beyond us to save our human resource now just roaming the roads? (You know what I’ll invest in if ever I win a sizeable lottery…).
Pity our poor
Just consider the undermentioned as you wonder about those groups who promote popular entertainment in this country.
Promoters have to find funds for payment for top artistes, airfares, accommodation, rental of venues, security, advertising, rental or construction of stage, sound equipment, payment to bands, printing of tickets, payment of concert staff, cleaning of grounds and meals. What a daunting list before a well-organized event!
The promoters have to charge their expected audience (per head) appropriately, and then they have to secure willing generous sponsors to take care of specific expenses. Does all that always work? Of course not.
Should we not care for our promoters??? You decide. Meanwhile, I’m puzzling over a declaration by a friend in the know: some promoters never lose in the long run. How so?
● 1) From Festival to fish!? Is it the same Carifesta Nigel Dharamlall who is now Chief Fisheries officer? Congrats to a talented, multi-disciplined gentleman.
● 2) Why do some folks respond continuously to some columnists to sustain some “issue”?
● 3) There should be a permanent trouble-shooting team at the new Skeldon Sugar Factory.
● 4) Print-press Puzzles:
(1) “And even though the President had blocked his promotion in 2003, he was still promoted subsequently…”
(2) “However, Col. Algernon could not say when he retired…”
(3) “The man tried to do the same thing to my daughter and I chase e. He go and get a probation officer to come and carry away my daughter, saying she deh with an older man”. Help me figure those out.
● 5) Last Friday, at a Funeral Service, all Government and Opposition members of parliament agreed, without amendment, that the deceased was a good person. Unanimous! It takes a funeral?
‘Til Next Week!