For those of us old enough, let us make a thirty-year comparison with how Georgetown felt and looked then, to its current state now in 2011. Also reflect on its late 18th century birth. The evaluation would result in the following: that the current state of the capital of the Guyanese nation is not the result of an act of God, an earthquake, tsunami, etc – or even managerial errors (like the filling up of the Punt Trench dam, among others) – but rather of political vindictiveness on the part of the current government and an obviously dysfunctional city council managerial apparatus. The recommendations from the city council for the expansion of its income (parking meters, etc) are based on the formulae implemented in towns which are evolving. The government‘s refusal to accommodate these is not rational, but is grounded as the evidence shows in its inability to think ‘national’ and beyond the limits of political malice.
The PPP has never won the major towns of this nation, thus there is an ill feeling towards them. Their policy with regard to New Amsterdam and the Berbice Bridge aids in understanding the administration‘s attitude towards the welfare of Georgetown. Do we know, for example, the medical condition of the residents in the Lodge, Meadowbrook and East La Penitence areas who have for years inhaled dangerous pathogens from the dump site? The largest burial ground in the city at Le Repentir, has been allowed to degenerate; the by-laws have not been upgraded; there is a terrible stench in the city. I used to go on the Merriman Mall to skip and do free-hand exercises early in the morning, but no more; the place has a familiar odour. Young drug addicts, destitute families with children, the mentally hopeless and the old are the cast-offs under this government.
I asked a friend at the city council if it was beyond the ability of the council to target the drains of Regent Street from upper Bourda to Avenue of the Republic, and to clean and rehabilitate them to a state of decency. He assured me after some consideration that it could be done, as it is within the power of the council to do so. The threat to the population of Georgetown lies in its stagnant drains full of filth, dead animals, occasionally dead people and refuse of all kinds, a concoction designed to facilitate all forms of insect-borne and communicable diseases. Typhoid, malaria and skin infections are common, and during the floods we experienced leptospirosis. Will we allow a situation to develop true to the sentiments expressed by Kellawan Lall, who said he would be glad if there were a health crisis in the city because it would remove the city council? A health crisis is not a farfetched supposition, because the physical conditions are in place.
The city council must stop the ‘dancing’ and call a spade a spade; the interest of the citizenry in the relevant context must be highlighted, and the council must strive to protect the capital’s inhabitants.