Georgetown is due for a rechristening: it has progressed from a once pristine Garden City to a now stark ‘Jumbie City.’ Given that both the ruling PPP and City Hall have contributed enormously to the current demonic state, they can tussle as to which group gets the honour of exorcising Georgetown once and for all, and unveiling their jumbie handiwork.
Citizens can take a walk in the middle of the day, and there they are: substantial phantoms embedded in the landscape, and eerily silhouetted against the skyline. Every succeeding quarter in the year brings about a new ghostly presence straddling corners, gargantuan fortress-like structures slyly watching passing citizens.
These local concrete towers echo with a vast unending emptiness and a troubling stillness. There is no human activity inside to pierce the immovable thick shrouds of utter silence that reigns heavily. Here are the doorways to mysterious spirit worlds hiding in plain sight. This is jumbie country. No longer do Guyanese have to travel along hairpin bends on the East Coast to remember folktales about ‘Dutchman turn’; or trek to the hinterlands to encounter the feared ‘massacouraman.’ The monstrosities of haunted commercial houses are right in the middle of a twilight zone of prime locations and facing all cardinal points. There is no need for imagination, simply reasonable eyesight and a smidgen of commonsense.
Still, the same ole jumbie stories are bandied about rather barefacedly: mysterious shadowy investors; suddenly discovered treasures (might be pirate booty, which means more dead men); and a remote ghostly presence and distance from real life. The practices are just like yesteryear. Careful men bathe in red lavender believing that such makes them invisible and without fingerprints; except that there is smell in their wake –a very high smell, all the way across the Pacific. Guyanese know a jumbie when they see one. Thus, no white fowl, white rum induced chant from the local ‘ole higues’ and ‘obeah-men’ (aka political leaders) about progress and development can fool them.
Similarly, citizens laugh because they know that there are others who are seeing ‘spirits’ in broad daylight and stone cold sober. These particular spirits are those making up the 70 per cent plus occupancy rate in the local Bates Motels. Now there are ‘dead-people’ reportedly signing registers in Guyana. Involved men complain about competition and lack of business, and yet the monuments go up every day; at this rate there soon will be more empty buildings than customers.
Truly, I tell you Georgetown is one jumbie town. The diabolical dance with joy; they have lots of empty space and floors to cavort; to count imported cash that waits to be sanitized. And Georgetown or jumbie city is the place to do it.