Carelessness has become our national trademark

Dear Editor,

We have allowed the culture of carelessness to settle in.

First we saw our young women, too many of them, dying in pregnancy. We would make the immediate howl of protest and go back to business as usual. My recollection is that the issue of females dying under suspicious circumstances in our hospitals is at least 20 years old. It is still with us.

Everyone knows the madness that seems to have free reign on our roads resulting in the high rate of road accidents and fatalities. Donkey’s years ago I saw a youth without any light on his cycle ride into the arms of an inspector of police walking down Camp Street. I was amazed to see the inspector brush him off like a firefly without even a word of rebuke. What we see now is no longer the young only, but even the old, who should know better, riding on the wrong side of the road or going the wrong way in a one-way street. This is now acceptable behaviour as the police seem not to even recognize it as a problem. So we are waiting for this practice to become a right of the errant cyclist and perhaps to be recognized as a cause of death before something is done. As a society we seem incapable of dealing with emerging situations; they must become mature and stare us in the face before we react.

It is here that I must mention one of my greatest disappointments with the fact that there is such a military component in the coalition government. I was expecting a military dividend but there is none. No improvement in discipline in our society, especially in road use, not even a rumour of some form of national service with its benefits of imparting discipline in our youth.

Fortunately, I have not had too many careless people dealing with parts for my vehicle, and I have never driven a new (as in unused) one. But I have been given the wrong drug through carelessness. I called for Piriton and got something with a few more syllables. One of the last missives from the late Dr Makepeace Richmond was his finding that he got three materially different readings from three different labs. There was never a follow up.

A consultant with a company with which I worked returned from Essequibo infuriated. He said he had noticed the small plane deposit the passengers and immediately invite him aboard along with the others waiting. He said he asked the pilot whether he was aware that he was required to perform some checks before starting on the return trip. He said the young man simply smiled at him and left him to decide whether he would be left in Essequibo or take the risk. He said he threatened to report the service. That was almost 20 years ago. Carelessness is at the root of our loss of lives.

I read a very long time ago about the fake parts business. I need a new remote for my smart TV. Why? Fake batteries that leaked. This is a world-wide problem but have we risen to the challenge? Is our society not at grave risk? Our pregnant women? Just the other day the head of the government agency which is the sole defence between fake products and our society had a huge battle on his hands. He seems to have won but will he win the next one? In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that those very products have found a way to get on to Guyanese store shelves.

This one probably involved the other C (with 3 syllables). Every now and again when I am asked for my name and I say “Frederick Collins”, I get the rejoinder “Okay Mr Fredericks”. I mean at least 3 times out of 10! It’s a linguistic puzzle I haven’t quite worked out as yet. How exactly does the s get moved? Heaven help us.

Has anyone noticed that too many of our citizens do not know left from right? North from south? East from west? One company had to resort to having the applicants for loans draw the directions to their homes. And in a country that boasts about how much it spends on education. Carelessness combined with ignorance has to be deadly.

I think carelessness has become our national trade mark. Remember the brave gentleman who started a helicopter assembly business on the East Coast? The first trial flight crashed. That was the end of the experiment. Anyone willing to bet that no in-depth examination was found useful as to what went wrong?

Yours faithfully,

Frederick Collins

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