There are many persons in abject poverty in Georgetown

Dear Editor,

Every country on planet Earth has its poor and destitute; Guyana is no exception. However, Guyana seems to be doing so well in this area that it may claim a high position in the not too distant future. What is the cause of this malady called poverty? Sociologists and others have advanced all sorts of theories explaining it and perhaps how to eradicate it. If that is so why is poverty so widespread around the globe and in Guyana?

I have witnesses to this story. While I was at the corner of Camp and Regent Streets, at the Mall, sheltering from rain I saw one man shabbily dressed, stench and all that emanating from his body (one of the denizens of Georgetown as I am wont to say), rummaging through the bin. I was curious to know what he was after. Having made it to the bottom and upturning the contents for a few minutes, I saw him leave with a bottle. I was relieved that it was not left-over food he was after. Many such characters search the bins for food.

Within two minutes came another such man who did the same exercise. Needless to say he left without booty. Then came another within a couple of minutes. He also was disappointed. I joked with the persons around me and particularly with a lad who shared my experience that “it is a good thing I am not in that ‘occupation’ because the competition is too great to keep up with rivals.”

It is really sad to see so many persons in abject poverty, people without hope and direction. Their families, no doubt, have lost influence and control over them, they drift looking for food and shelter and the fact is that even when those basic needs are provided, many still drift and wander. What has gone wrong in these persons’ lives? Where is the answer?

As I left the Trinity Methodist Church last Sunday and made my way along the squalor of High Street into Brickdam to the bus terminal outside Stabroek Market, what I saw made me wonder. Reposing alongside Parliament Building were men and beasts. These destitute are well known around Georgetown. But on that Sunday morning they seemed to have perfect peace in their slumber (my thought was the peace that passeth all understanding). The dogs too seemed to be in a similar heavenly realm. They were all undisturbed by the noise and bustle that is familiar to that part of the city. Moreover, my footsteps a few feet from them went unnoticed.  I could not help thinking that Parliament Building either has the solution or is the cause of the problem faced by these denizens of Georgetown and by extension the citizens of Guyana who are in similar plight. I am reminded, however, that ‘Lord Jesus is the answer to all our problems.’

Yours faithfully,
Hilmon Henry

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