We live with a ticking time bomb

Dear Editor,

Even though it has been written about before, it cannot be said enough times – we toy with a health epidemic; we live with a ticking time bomb in our midst.

The rain and flooded streets provided stark testimony yet again on Wednesday.  No one in authority listens; none of the powerbrokers care.  We move right along.  I will be the first to agree that even in advanced societies and heavily concretized city streets, flooding follows torrential barrages.  The difference is there is little fear.  Discomfort yes, fear no.  In Guyana, I fear.

Because walking on the flooded sidewalks or in the middle of the roadway itself is the same as walking in the gutters, one might as well be walking in the sewage system or its overflow.  The putrescence of those gutters quickly and effortlessly crests onto pavement and roadways.  They bring untold health dangers through saturated shoes, and assaulted feet and ankles.  Those same shoes and feet make their way into public transport, offices, schools, and homes.  The dirtiness, ugliness, and sickness are shared with colleagues and strangers, and family and friends.  It is a small miracle that there has not been any health fallout of massive proportions.

And yet no one cares, and the appallingly and incalculably backward dare to speak of tourism.  Will somebody get real for a change?  Just once.

Editor, I am known to be relentlessly optimistic, but the same fades when all things are considered in this land.  I understand that chronic corruption and maladministration and the like might be shrugged off by the populace.  But when citizens own health and wellbeing, and that of their families are imperilled, it is still the same story of apathy and sotto voce mutterings in private.  When citizens should be so outraged and disenchanted to bring tension and pressure to bear where it counts and when it matters, they are silent and absent.  Nothing infuriates to that fevered crescendo of “stop; enough is enough.  We demand action.  We demand it now.”  There is only the jaundiced shadow of an all-encompassing malaise and safe distance.  I don’t foresee any change happening any time soon.  It is just the way Guyanese have become.  I daresay that if the same loathsome gutter excretions reach their throats and nostril and eyeballs, it would be the same sad story.

I suppose if we can stomach and tolerate our political players, then “wha is de problem wit dutty waatah and deseeze!”  That is, until this situation disintegrates into a national health issue.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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