An administration which can’t deal with drain-cleaning and trench- digging can’t govern a nation

Dear Editor,

The recent flooding in Georgetown and around the country has nothing to do with the vague warnings from the hydromet office, but total neglect and incompetence by the present administration. The massive flooding in 2005 was another act of negligence and not an act of God or nature.

I will begin with Georgetown. Not long ago, I was at the National Hardware store in Water Street. The rains came suddenly and lasted for about twenty minutes. The entire street was flooded in that short period of time. I took a taxi to Regent Street and that street was flooded too as well as the entire city.

We can’t get rid of water from drains 18 inches deep that are blocked up by bottles, food boxes and garbage. The entire city needs a new system of drainage whereby these drains are about six foot deep and the water can move off the land at a rapid speed into the bigger trenches and canals. All these drains and trenches need to be maintained by constant cleaning. The entire Garbage City needs to be fogged.

The city council needs to be removed and replaced by a team of competent and diligent people from the community to administer the city. It’s mind boggling to have a failed mayor for 16 years.

The entire city is loaded with street sellers, touts, thieves, gamblers and idlers. Many of these people selling on the pave and street corners harbour criminal elements around their stalls. I see more sellers than buyers in Georgetown. Every day, these sellers and store owners will throw tons of garbage on the city streets. We should have laws to prosecute them for littering. All these street sellers should be removed and be given a specific market to sell in. It would make the city cleaner and healthier. I see bus operators, taxi drivers and even police officers throwing garbage in the streets, such as food boxes, plastic bags and drink bottles. Those who make the laws break the laws and we have become a land of the lawless.

Flooding has now become something we are always faced with. Where I live in Agriculture Road, the water in my yard runs out into a trench. This trench is blocked up with thick bushes and rubbish like wood, iron and garbage in some parts. The NDC has never sent a hymac to dig this trench. I have to clean my part, but manual cleaning is no good; it needs digging. Where I have my church in Block 8, Mon Repos, the trench there has never been dug, and the trench and dam look just the same. Thirty minutes of rain will flood that entire community. It’s about time the Minister of Works and our Agriculture Minister do some studies in drainage and irrigation. Many people’s homes are flooded and they have lost millions in stocks and household items. Who will now compensate them for their losses?

Some of the men who operate the pumps are drunk; the NDC chairmen and women are sleeping at home while entire communities are flooded. Residents are paying taxes to be given a service in their communities, but that is not happening. May I ask, Editor, what are they doing with our taxpayers’ money? It’s time the citizens of this country stopped paying taxes until we can be given value for our money.

A few months ago I applied to the NDC in Lusignan for compliance. I paid for it and was told I would get it the next day. Why the next day since all my taxes are paid and that compliance should be in their computer? All they had to do is put my name on it, print it out and sign and stamp it. I made several calls and was told the chairwoman had to sign it. I made several calls to contact her and she was never in the office. After ten days I was given the compliance after over 100 phone calls which inflated my phone bill.

I paid for something that could have taken 10 minutes to deal with, but which took 10 days, and which probably could have taken 10 years if I hadn’t fought for it. I administer a big church and members come for references and documents to be signed by me all the time. I do all of that promptly and type documents myself when there is no secretary. The problem with our adminstration is very simple: ‘follow my party’ and you will be in office even if you can’t spell office or sign your name properly. Politics is a very bad philosophy; we put people to hold big offices and these people might be alcoholics, corrupt, wife abusers or functional illiterates, yet have a position carrying home far more as a salary than the poor citizen.

It’s no wonder we still have blackouts, internet shut-downs, potholes everywhere and thieves and criminals all over the country. It’s all because of negligence and incompetence. I have travelled this entire country and see blocked drains and canals everywhere, terrible roads and streets, stench and flooding. And it doesn’t bother our politicians and administrators. I was brought up in Rose Hall Town in Berbice. My recent visit to my town was great but I saw whole day black-outs there. I used to catch fish from a trench that separated Rose Hall from Port Mourant, but now that trench looks just like the bushy dam and I can walk over it on the thick bushes. The water pump was broken over 12 years ago and never repaired. What’s the use and purpose of all these incompetent mayors I see in these towns?

If our present administration cannot deal with simple drain cleaning and trench digging then it’s not possible for them to govern this entire nation. The true essence of leadership is putting people to do something small before they are given bigger things to administer. We need to stop the racial politics and put nation-building above our personal, selfish political ambition. We can no longer put square pegs in round holes to govern our NDCs and big offices. We are a nation too young to die from flooding from a few hours of rain.

Yours faithfully,

 Rev Gideon Cecil

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