Dear Editor,

As 2017 draws to a close, I highlight some of the positives that caught my attention, and which were found comforting.  They may be paltry in number; but they are precious and well-received in a land starving for the inspiring and uplifting.

First, amidst the challenges of life, there are those who still find the time and love to care for animals, that speechless minority; to be their protector; and to advocate for kindness towards these four-legged companions, too many times taken for granted.  If more can care for these sharers of space and existence in this place then, perhaps, there can be more caring and a little less of the inhumanity that is meted out to one another on a daily basis.

Second, domestic violence has been a pronounced national evil for a long time, almost a culture; it continues to be an ever-present threat and fear.  Yet I sense a tapering of harrowing incidents; slowly shifting mindsets; and the grudging dawning of awareness and sensitivity, along with increasing willingness to speak out and confront this embarrassing plague that haunts.  I am hopeful that those occurrences that pierce will recede into the distance, if not the past.

Then, it was reported that the president himself has agreed to lend the prestige of his presence and office in serving as chairman for a group dedicated to addressing non communicable diseases.  These are areas that traditionally have harmed and debilitated many Guyanese; the societal costs have been high.  The president’s involvement brings muscle and could only introduce vitality and results to matters long left hanging.  It is warming to see the Head-of-State and his spouse present in things that have nothing to do with politics or money, but everything relating to simply humanity and its struggles.

Next, and in the same vein, there are those committed tireless citizens who carve out a niche area of interest to make much needed contributions; a difference, no matter how small.  These would be the unselfish ones, who toil with limited resources (and against the usual in-house politics) to share with those stricken by cancer, diabetes, or epilepsy, to pinpoint a few points of distress and need.  Every genuine helping hand counts; and not only at Christmas time.

Editor, I am always encouraged by those who care enough, and involve themselves enough, to speak out against corruption, whether such exists (or is perceived to be) as government corruption, institutional corruption, or commercial corruption, among other known environments.  The appeal comes not just from the taking of a principled stand against corruption, and flaying those rightly identified as participating in its existence and proliferation.  It comes even more so from those living the anti-corruption, moral, and ethical stances preached.

Last, it is always heartening to read of the stories of the handful of law enforcement officials who bring in alleged perpetrators for major offences.  One can only imagine the overtures, temptations, and influences (both internal and external, as well as from peers) that have to be overcome to persist doggedly and professionally in gathering evidence to pursue justice.  Indeed, it is a long uphill road to combat the criminal tide, and the criminally inclined detritus in the ranks.  It can be a lavishly rewarding, too, just to look the other way to let things be.  In the stalwart few resisting on the shaky bridge, a start is being made; a tough painful one to stop the bleeding and reverse what can only be generously described as catastrophic systemic failures in the thin line of uniformed protection.

There is opportunity to build a clean core, and also to amplify in the future.  The hope is that 2018 will usher in much more improvements and involvements in all of the aforementioned areas, as well as in the other fault lines that cry for attention and a helping hand.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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