Lawlessness and vehicular homicides…

-Registration: Our GECOM Chairman speaks

Of course the entire lead caption is really “Lawlessness and homicides on our roads- a lack of discipline, education and enforcement.” See? The trained professional sub-editors would frown on such a long-winded caption. Definitely not acceptable in communications/Journalism classes. But it is actually my whole message as outlined in this paragraph.

There are social phenomena, everyday issues of national significance that one gets just tired of pursuing even with the best of intentions. Journalistic saturation and fatigue as in beating a dead horse. What new is there to offer, to debate? To me Frankly Speaking, the reality of Guyana’s daily road/ traffic carnage is one such topic. Personally however, as I hurtle deeper into senior-citizen status I never- the-less remain concerned for this the current dot.com-generation. So many wounded and fatalities on our roadways! So many not even reaching age forty! So my “social conscience” compels these following fleeting thoughts

Education, discipline, innate aggression

Recently I’ve been giving peeps and a few insights into my relative non-dramatic, personal working-class past, My relatively ordinary life.

Today’s lead issue makes me reveal that I enjoyed my final class-room teaching year at St Sidwell’s Primary in Lodge, Georgetown (1970-1971!) Arriving there from a more “orderly” West Demerara school I encountered a Preliminary Certificate Class of “rough” aggressive pupils (boys, girls 13-14). It was a beautiful rewarding to-sir-with-love year for me. I won them over. They taught me to drill across the school. And we did lots of road safety together. I won’t preach or elaborate here but using the Road Safety Highway Code booklets, we studied how to use the roads as pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, animal drawn cart-owners (St Sidwell’s usually won Road Safety Patrol Competitions year after year, back then.)

My Point? From my daily observation it is not at all manifestly obvious that Road Safety Traffic education is discussed with the young in Georgetown’s schools. Most of the uniformed school-going populations routinely misuse the roadways. I suspect no adult ever taught them details of their own personal road safety. Transfer that state of affairs to the attitudes of our younger drivers and the causes of “accidents” become clearer.

So I’m submitting here that indiscipline and lawlessness via ignorance and a marked proclivity for defiance of authority, good advice and regulation, constitute a major factor for the road carnage amongst our small population.

Okay, I’m aware of the other myriad “reasons” for traffic accidents- speeding, DUI, defective vehicles, unlicenced drivers, faulty roadways – as advanced by the Police and the various Road Safety associations, but as mentioned earlier I tire…

Meanwhile, in the courts

Conversations relevant to Road Safety- and carnage- invariably accommodate the issue of legislation, then judicial penalties to deter, to prevent and to punish.

Frankly Speaking, reports of proceedings regarding reckless, negligent, dangerous driving, causing death and related prosecutions, do not leave me with confidence that errant guilty perpetrators will be moved to change their ways. To me, homicides by vehicles and their drivers are not regarded like murder by weapons. The driver merely made a mistake.

Last May a driver of a fancy SUV recklessly crashed it into a minibus filled with passengers. A likeable 60-plus gentleman met a horrible death with half of his body squeezed out of a bus window. It was a ghastly sight symbolising the snuffing out of life on a city street. But the learned magistrate could find only that the SUV driver “drove in a manner dangerous to the public”. She held that the prosecution “was unable to prove that the defendant caused the death” of the matured coach and sportsman.

One curiosity about that case is that there was/is uncertainty as to who was the actual driver of the SUV. Anyhow, the defendant in court was sentenced to 12 prison months. Other results? One lifetime terminated! And 33 speed- bumps placed around Georgetown immediately after that May 2017 crash. Discuss

Registration – and the Judge’s language

I love the English language with all its nuances, complexities and vast vocabulary. Never mind that it might be obvious to the learned that I still grapple with it. And may never master it.

The Guyana Elections Commission (and National Registration Centre (?) must compile a National Register of Registrants (all citizens alive and well over 14) and an Official List of Electors (OLE) (citizens over-18, eligible to vote). GECOM’s continuous registration is approved “to enable it to respond to calls for elections in a timely manner.” Even at relatively short notice? Now isn’t that a colossal national joke indicative of our under-development here?

Now against the foregoing two paragraphs consider the following snippets of language: “It attacks the core of the administration of, arguably, the best run bureaucracy in Guyana…as if Mr. Hussain has begun to launch a pre-emptive strike in the event that elections do not run in his favour, for he carps at everything…”

“…such a diatribe is unworthy of any human being who has escaped the birth-canal… such flam will not be tolerated…GECOM will attempt to render mute the disturbing echoes of the turbulent past and we will do our impartial best-though the heavens fall…”

“…such beneficence is not his to bestow, let alone unvarnished threats… This independence is fiercely guarded…And any infiltration therein is abhorred… The worthy auditor-general seems to have been eroticized by power… threats do not abide comfortably on the shoulder of this chairman…”

See? Language meant to bite! (Regular contributor GHK LALL must love such.) To me, even as I appreciate the usage, it is telling me that the GECOM Justice Chairman will brook no criticism. Trust I’m proven wrong. But it seems that his Excellency’s personal choice could be the most interesting – and controversial (?) elections chairman yet. Discuss…

Sure, let’s celebrate, Madam Mayor

Ow man, it’s not right for our capital’s municipality to expend millions to celebrate the city’s anniversary this year. At least not from its own depleted coffers.

So I’m appealing publicly here to my Comrade, the mayor to hire me for a few weeks to help plan the celebration to cost just around half-a-million dollars.  The other millions must come from sponsors’ donations – locally and elsewhere. I ask for just $50-60,000(G) dollars.

We’ll have competitions, exhibitions and informative ordinary and electronic billboards; robust schools participation; City Hall renovation and nominal donations from all councillors and MP’s resident in the capital. I’m ready to work but please don’t steal my partial list of ideas above. (I’ll teach about 1812,1837 and 1838!)

Two points to ponder…

  • I support the suggestion of Gabriel H.K Lall’s – award Brazil’s Petrobras one of the remaining oil blocks. Why?
  • Suppose 2000 poor Venezuelans were to “arrive” legally and just 20,000 remigrant Guyanese were to return suddenly, how can they be accommodated?

`Til next week!

(allenafenty@yahoo.com)

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