I refer to an article in Sunday Stabroek of August 20 captioned ‘Restoration Task Force planning relocation of homeless from streets –Singh’ and the challenges the National Task Force Commission faces.
Editor, on August 20, a position paper on vagrancy was widely circulated by the Guyana Consumers Association. I acted as President of the Association when five position papers were developed and circulated.
The paper on vagrancy claimed that all persons deemed vagrants for want of a better term to describe these unfortunate citizens, belonged to a family, and that when the family could not cope with this person’s welfare for a variety of reasons, that person became the responsibility of society. That since 1986 and earlier, and up to the time of writing, society, sadly, has paid scant attention to homeless Guyanese living on the streets of Georgetown, and perhaps other towns and neighbourhoods around the country.
The Night Shelter has not lived up to the needs of the street dwellers. Perhaps those in charge of the Shelter will give the real reason why that institution is failing or has failed to meet the needs of those who depend on it for succour.
Now the Task Force Commission established by the President of the Republic with a lofty mission in 2015 seems incapable of discharging its mandate. It is tasked with addressing drainage, solid waste management, derelict vehicle removal, traffic management, sustainable urban physical structure renewal, and welfare management of the homeless and addicted. Has the commission anything to report on the other four items of their mission?
The article of August 20 speaks about the plan to relocate the homeless, addicts and mentally ill from the streets later in the year; I guess that means at the end of 2017.
Are we to understand that since 2015 citizens whom the President wanted taken care of, have languished on the pavements of Georgetown and other towns, whilst a commission set up with taxpayers’ money to care for the unloved, have been derelict in their performance?
What is worrisome is that this commission was set up since 2015 with lofty ideals and with good intentions. With all the government agencies and ministries at the committee’s disposal, now we hear the Chairman of the Commission speaking about people guarding turf. What is that to mean, except that the commission has been ineffectual, and as such should signal to the President, that it has failed, giving the President the room to appoint other civic-minded Guyanese, capable of directing the President’s commitment to offering the good life to all, including those in whom he reposed responsibility to effect change.