It is said if you ask a Guyanese living abroad where they are from, the answer would be from Georgetown. Rarely would that individual say he or she is from Essequibo or even less so, Berbice. That is why the average St Lucian calls Guyanese living here ‘GTs,’ a shortened form for Georgetown. I refuse to be called thus, and make it explicitly clear that I am a Berbician. Now there are many reasons for Guyanese wanting to be called GTs, but it is mostly because much of the development in Guyana is centered in or around the capital, with the other counties to a large extent neglected and run down. Here at home the attitude of those in authority to the rest of the country outside Demerara is no different, because issues, views or problems confronting those other places are not taken as seriously. I make mention of the problem confronting Berbicians who use the river to get to and from work and school on a daily basis. Ever since the establishment of the Berbice River Bridge and the exorbitant price charged to commute via that route, Berbicians have relied on the cheap affordable pontoon to cross to work and school. All of this has changed with the removal of the MV Sandaka, leaving Berbicians with the option of using the speedboat provided to replace it, or paying the unreasonably highly-priced Berbice Bridge toll. They have been protesting this latest move with no attention coming from the authorities yet.
The approach of the government here is the perennial one of take it or leave it, and this response worries me greatly, because a constituency which has given this administration a large quota of votes at general elections should not be treated with such disdain. They should pay some attention to the people who placed them in office; the people of Georgetown get that consideration so why not the Berbicians? Is it a Demerara versus Berbice thing?
It is irritating to know that a President and Transport Minister could have rallied to the cause of the people of the East Bank at the slightest hint of a crisis brewing during the last fare hike there, but those in the Ancient County cannot get the same treatment.
A pontoon should be provided for the Berbice River crossing; Berbicians deserve better treatment.