My visit to Georgetown, the capital city of this country, on Tuesday, was absolutely horrible. The scene, upon, entering the city proper, was chaotic to say the least. I spent nearly one hour in a vehicle caught up in a what seemed to be never-ending traffic jam.
The rains pounded the city, which forced many persons (from across Guyana) engaged in Christmas shopping, to walk in the nasty, stinking, disease-filled waters, since the roads were becoming flooded. Garbage was being seen all over as a result.
Nobody seemed to be paying attention to traffic lights, which resulted in more chaos on the roads, since everyone seemed to be in a hurry. Horns were blaring because frustrated drivers who just wanted a way to drive, could not do so since minibus operators were holding up traffic on account of stopping ever so often to put off and let in passengers – the greed of the season.
The water from the umbrellas persons were using was dripping onto other road users and there was constant abuse from some people sitting along the pavements. The police were not out since the rain kept pouring, but should this have prevented them? I must ask.
You would not see Georgetown like this on any postcard or Facebook page promoting the dear ‘Garden City.’ What I witnessed (and what is the norm I am sure all through the year) is the shame and disgrace of a corrupt, lawless, dirty, filthy, decrepit, mismanaged city where surprisingly the Government of Guyana is seated and where the Parliament of Guyana meets.
How can we attract tourists in this situation where the Mayor and City Council, police and government seem not to be coordinating with each other on pertinent issues to move the city forward? How can Georgetown get any better when the Hydromet office does not warn citizens to stay in their homes rather than endure this suffering before these incredible downpours of rain?
I watched in disbelief at the suffering of persons who were forced to negotiate the flooded city streets, with water overflowing into their footwear, but who had no other choice, since suffering has become a norm for life in Guyana.
The city lacks the vision for a plan which would improve the old flooding situation. But that’s the least of its problems.
I felt the shame and disgrace of a citizen of Guyana who is constantly being told that he lives in a developing country, but who shared the horrible experience of what obtains in a poor, needy, stinking, lawless city-nation.