Solid Waste Management Department is talking garbage

Dear Editor,

In this teeming, controversy tossed civilization called Guyana, scarce time and energy have to be diverted from the vital matters of the times to write about –well, garbage.  It is of the garbage heaped upon angry citizens by those responsible for removing it from the settled decaying residences it now occupies on a near permanent basis on the streets of the green capital city, Georgetown.  If this continues, it threatens to transform into the green of gangrene, and an authentically wafting ambience.

There are a couple of kinds of garbage involved in these personal observations.  There is the garbage that is not removed on a timely basis, or on a consistent basis, or in some truly deplorable instances, not at all. There it squats in true Guyanese fashion on the parapets: forlorn ramshackle monuments to the massive malfeasances of mandarins, who could not care less.  These mandarins are more interested in the prioritization and polishing of images: the image of City Hall, the image of themselves, the image of commitment to accuracy and veracity.  These images are mirages retreating from reality, and distancing from fact and circumstances, and truth.

To perpetuate these images, officials use rotting pungent garbage to gloss over dirty work. This is the other kind of garbage that is peddled and spewed upon a shrinking Guyanese public. This is the aromatic aerosol of ‘ded maan puffume’ with which the populace is doused.  Guyanese behold in disbelief and consternation an apparition in the house, a talking one, one dedicated to occult arts and the practice of spinning. Listen, please.  Read, please.

I refer to SN’s edition of September 26th, and the news item titled, “City to streamline garbage collection in big communities.”  That was a welcome headline and I am encouraged.  Very quickly, I become disgusted and wrathful at some patented garbage embedded in that same article.  It is where the Director of Solid Waste Management, Mr Walter Narine, climbs on a rickety soapbox to articulate a slew of inaccuracies and troubling disingenuousness.  These are the facts according to Mr Narine, and as extracted from SN’s coverage.

First, “Narine refuted claims that the city’s garbage collection has not been on schedule.”  That is not true, and I refute Mr Narine’s claim.  Second, the piece continued, “he [Mr Narine] said that it has improved its service significantly….”  Again, that is not true and subject to serious ongoing challenge.  And third, SN reported that, “Narine said that the city has been able to collect garbage in every community at least once per week.”

Editor, that is not true either, and it is the third strike.  It is piling garbage upon garbage.  It is rancid and sickening.  I submit the facts on the ground and as attested to by the waiting bins, the watching residents, and the non-arriving trucks.

Fact 1: I can personally share that in the last four weeks the garbage was not picked up in my community in single week until one-and-a-half days later after the usual scheduled day of collection.  That is not on schedule by my standards or calculation, or that of any other sane person.  Still, there is gratitude and relief for mercies from the mighty.

Fact 2: Three weeks ago, the garbage was not removed in the usual weekly cycle, but two weeks later.  That is a lot of disease waiting to run the wards of this town.  I made other arrangements.  Thus, I must question the well-intentioned (depends on whose intentions come first) Mr Narine for his gem about significant improvement.

Fact 3: I have reached out to reliable people in Kitty, Newtown, and Brickdam, among other precincts. They all had the same sad story to share: late (a day, a day-and-a-half, or two days afterwards) or no collection at all in some weeks.  There is no reason for worried citizens to manufacture untruths relative to garbage removal.  That is best left to those more equipped to do so, and willing to gamble with it accordingly. Even more damning, the report is that in upper Hadfield Street (an area prone to constant residential flooding) garbage has been around on the streets for over two weeks.  And for the third time, I must challenge Mr Narine’s position that collection has occurred in every community at least once per week.  Not happening; did not happen with me on one occasion.

Now I understand and can even appreciate that City Hall, Solid Waste Management, and Mr Narine took the time to deliver from on high some words of supposed enlightenment and comfort.  Except that they are not so at all.  Be level with the people.  Admit to shortfalls.  Promise what can be kept.  But do not shower with this offal, these reeking inaccuracies, and shabby falsities.  This country already has enough sewage as it is.  Why inundate it with more?

I have struggled to present this clinically and without heat.  I believe that I have failed on one count.


Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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