Recently a huge whale washed up on the shores of Maria’s Lodge on the Essequibo Coast, much to the disgust of the residents of the area. The stench exuded was hell itself; we could not have stayed in our homes and I had to take away my grandchildren to another area to avoid them being exposed to this unholy smell. Days went and nothing was done; the smell was unbearable, and breathing and occupying our homes became a huge problem. We spoke to Mr Dereck Paul who came and went, and to Ms Doreen Duncan. She too like Mr Paul came and went and nothing was done to make life easier for us. Myself and other residents were on the verge of moving out from our homes when a police officer told me to call Mr Latiff, as he was the only person she was sure would help us. We called him, and although he was on the West Coast at the time he immediately promised to help.
Mr Latiff, true to his word, came just before nightfall assisted by persons he had recruited with two motor blowers and sprayed the whale. He went on spraying until close to 10 pm, and thank God it was the first time in 4 days we could open our windows. The next day he came again early in the morning and continued spraying, but this time he said the only thing that could be done was to burn the whale, as it was in an advanced state of decomposition. This was met with some objection from persons working with the sea defences as they said the EPA was against it. He told us to get the whole village out and help in the preparations to burn, and he would take
the consequences from the EPA; people and their welfare always came first, he said. I have never seen displayed before such fearless leadership, action and concern for the welfare of the community. In a moment there was a crowd and all came prepared to help.
The whale was burnt, but not fully as the rain and tide came in and outed the flames. Mr Latiff came again in the afternoon as soon as the water was out and sprayed until late in the night, and for many nights and days after until the smell was hardly noticeable. I cannot help admiring such a person who for our benefit left his home and a sick son. On behalf of the residents who were affected I would like to thank Mr Latiff publicly; he was indeed our saviour.
It is leaders and leadership like this that we need in our community and country, and I would like to encourage other aspiring leaders to take note.
Nadiera Springer aka Donna