Close friends know of my aversion to writing to the press; others are aware of my love/hate for SN over the years, but your editorial of December 1 has so lifted me to literary joy that I wish to congratulate the writer for a bold, honest and enlightening revelation.
On the other hand it filled me with a deep sadness, as it painted a graphic picture of what our beloved city has become: one great ugly dot on the Guyana landscape, searingly hurtful to those of us who remember when GT was the Garden City of the West Indies.
Repeating and reprinting are necessary tools of the educative process, and I request that your editorial be reproduced in your paper and also sent to all other newspapers with a request that they too reproduce it as a contribution to the re-education of the young and also hopefully for the benefit of those who have tended to accept the current status as normal.
My experiences have taught me to see many Guyanese as avoiders of unkind reality; unlike what obtained in the distant past, a spade is no longer called a spade. We prefer to bury our heads in the sand and pretend our troubles will go away ‒ ‘Don’t talk ‘bout dat’; ‘It’s the politicans’ fault’.
To really address the problem we must confront our fears and face reality. Your editorial has done that. Once we all do this then we can see where the blame for our city’s ills lie and would then be in a position to effectively develop remedies to fix it.
The filthy state of Georgetown cannot be ‘the politicans’ fault’; it is the fault of the government of the day, and we must recognise this fact. There have been countless letters to the press, a motion passed in Parliament all demanding positive action to clean the city and initiatives from private citizens and organisations to clean the place. We even had an IMC, yet the city continues to sink deeper into squalor, as the PPP controlled government continues to turn a blind eye to the surroundings. One government minister in a Freudian slip expressed the wish to see the city become disease ridden, a case of deep hate or unfathomable depths of ignorance of decency.
Editor, corruption begins at the top, and if ignored, soon permeates the whole civil fabric of society.Today we wallow in it. Its impact is felt daily ‒ can a pregnant woman or a blind man negotiate the undulating pavements of Robb Street or Regent Street? Did not bribery pass to allow this disgraceful flouting of the bylaws? Skyscrapers are built on silt, nesting next to residences; there are restaurants with no functioning greasetraps; there are no areas for parking; and community playfields are lost for the purposes of private gain. The neglect of all institutions is the new order.
We all can list the obvious effects of the lawless empire that dwells amongst us, but time is short, so let us begin to address some of the things we can attempt to prevent disease and other ills from further affecting the quality of life for our children, and hope that in time we can restore our paradise.
Perhaps we can examine calling our city the ‘Old GT’ and move to a new capital where all laws will be enforced by honest leaders, while treating the ‘old city’ as a tourist attraction.
Maybe starting from the first term in kindergarten and continuing throughout school life, we can teach the young to keep their surroundings clean; how to keep their trash until they come to a bin; how to speak up when an adult transgresses; and later to use their phones to photograph those who break the law, which would be accepted in the courts as evidence. This will help develop citizens of worth.
We should fight to stamp out corruption at all levels, develop pride in our surroundings, help our neighbour and promote a love of aesthetics ‒ maybe poetry can help here. We should teach each other that the city belongs to all of us, and demand the enactment of all four local government bills recently passed in parliament so we can proceed with the holding of local government elections, thus enabling a new set of young Guyanese to take their place in helping to make our city and country a beautiful place to be.
Keith Scott, MP