I have tried my utmost to refrain from writing since I wanted others to take up the mantle and expound on the many ills that are facing the citizens of this nation. I have been let down. In the meantime I have witnessed so many atrocities that it riles the soul. I am forced to conclude, thus agreeing with my learned tutor, Mr Freddie Kissoon (the title Professor should be conferred on him), that Guyana is indeed a failed state.
Guyana is so past redemption that to write about these failings is an exercise in futility, since what is written is on the lips of every Guyanese save and except those who grace the halls of power.
My self-imposed exile ended when I was introduced to one of the more industrious Guyanese gentlemen who actually persuaded me to pen this letter. This gentleman started from humble beginnings and expanded until he reached the point where he now owns one of the most reliable taxi services in Georgetown. His concern seems a simple one, but it demonstrates the level of lawlessness to which this otherwise beautiful country has sunk, and to which official sanction has been given.
The laws of this country dictate which car can and cannot be operated for hire. What abounds in the city borders on insanity. There are as many private cars working hire as those licensed to so work. I will rubbish any claims that the authorities are not so aware.
To add insult to injury, most of the operators of these private ‘hire cars’ are most times improperly dressed while on the job, contrary to the code of conduct published by the Tourism Ministry. The most common mode of dress is the ‘rude boy’ style, which includes the wearing of pants in such a manner that their underpants are on display, as well as slippers on feet. There have been reports that they oft times engage in the ritual of herb smoking.
It was related to me that hire cars are required to pay certain taxes that the private cars are not required to pay. This certainly is robbing the country of much needed revenue. Additionally, the insurance companies do not cover paying passengers of private cars. Consequently passengers are travelling in private cars without the hope of any compensation in the event of an accident. This practice too is a breach of the insurance policy which is also an offence punishable under the Laws of Guyana.
A call is therefore made to the Minister of Home Affairs, the Commissioner of Police and the Traffic Chief to eliminate this practice so that legitimate taxi operators benefit from the fruits of their labours. This will also lend some assurance to the travelling public that their welfare will be assured in the event of an accident.
The three named officers owe that much to the travelling public. It will also lend some amount of uniformity to our oft times bemused tourists.