Shouldn’t we grieve for Georgetown? I do

Mother 33, daughter 15

Have a “cautious” Christmas

(Again, I leave Crime, Corruption, Cricket, Traffic Accidents, LGE and the Budget to others.)

Instead, the recent City Hall Inquiry, the now-usual threat by the main Garbage Collectors to withdraw and the now-evident chaotic Vendor-Invasion, all combined to prompt the following heart-felt lament.

Current indifference and insensitivity by younger citizens aside, I suspect that those thousands of Guyanese resident outside, or far away from Georgetown – N.A., Mahaica, Corriverton, Linden, Pomeroon, Rupununi, Dartmouth – would tend to care little about the State of Georgetown. But they should! Why? Because our only City, Georgetown, is Guyana’s Capital – the seat of the governmental administration of the Ministry of the Presidency, the Parliament, the central ministries of government. Georgetown is what strangers see as symbolic of the whole State – from coast to jungle. Even those who approach from our hinterland borders need the presence and functions of the Capital.

Those of us past 60, who grew up and “belong” to Georgetown know that, Frankly Speaking, the city is in a state of “disrepair”. And sadly, ironically, the City Hall headquarters and once-iconic heritage building is itself the stark symbol of a city in various stages of collapse. My silent cry emanates from one who knew a smaller, cleaner, orderly, innocent, pristine town once described as a Garden City.

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Neglect! Collapse! Any hope?

I guess that the current dot.com generation of Guyanese wouldn’t realise, wouldn’t care that our Capital has retrogressed badly.

Not for me to list all the numerous reasons, causes. Just a few: the fires of the early sixties, no forward-planning for the obvious expected expansion inclusive of filling up of drainage facilities but no new streets; residents’ misuse and destruction; out-of-town users’ damage/exploitation. One Mayor for years and years and yes – the sustained wanton neglect by Central Government because the capital was deemed Opposition territory as well as the fact that succeeding City municipalities were found incompetent and guilty of irregular practices.

Result? Georgetown today is characterized by chaotic disorder; only selective, exploitative City Constabulary enforcement of “standards”; flooding; no aesthetic landscaping – you add the other negatives. A once-pleasant smelling town where Town Council ladies once swept Water Street and gutters and drains were cleaned weekly, now falls way behind even a Paramaribo that couldn’t once compare with our Gardens and Green spaces.

What is to be done? They say that laments and criticisms should always attract remedies. My few: I say nothing about Mayor Patricia but would recommend a fresh new mind. With productive links to “Good Life” Minister Jordan and Communities Boss Bulkan; a professional consultant to propose new revenue streams for the municipality; a grand meaningful confab comprising the new Council, the Police, the relevant ministries, the Private Sector (inclusive of the dozens of small and Chinese owned stores) to plan Georgetown’s future.

And believe it or not! I would like to see a refreshed, competent, corrupt-free City Hall owning its very own parking meters! In every area of GT. City Hall-owned meters can make money forever! Charging small affordable fees per hour. What are your ideas?

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Young mommy, young daughter

Years ago – for use in this column – I approached the local Guyana Responsible Parenthood body for guidelines to assist young men to be good fathers to the babies they had just helped to bring into the world. The Association had no such programme – or literature.

Do churches, child protection, schools or youth groups groom young mothers still? The female “single-parent” syndrome now predominates. Why?

I’m in a minibus. Outside the 15-year-old school girl is telling her mate very, very adult stuff. Not about school subjects, clothes or church! Her young single mom is now just 33! They are growing up together! What guidance? For which one? Discuss…

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Be cautious with this Christmas, okay?

Look! I’ve been at this for years now, Frankly Speaking: that Christmas is comprised of quite a few lies; that the European/American scenes and songs and images have little to do with us in these parts; that the beautiful myths that feed the Christian festival are enjoyable but that we (Guyanese) must try to be restrained and realistic in jollification.

So secular has the Season become, I don’t know how many actually still believe the Nativity Story about the greatest gift  – the Baby being born to an engaged little virgin. (Christians just have to!)

So caution! Don’t overstrain yourself to get gifts, renovations, all new stuff in time for December 25. No Jesus was born then. Go google and see why that date was foisted. So celebrate for “de children”. Responsibly. Though the adult Rabbi Jesus never told anyone to celebrate His birth, it is still a useful joyous, “cohesive” season. Right?

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Lots to ponder …

1) If Venezuela’s Chavez had remained alive, four former Army Officers would be President of Guyana and it’s 3 continental neighbours.

2)  Wasn’t Winston “Good Life” Jordan Budget Director under Dr Jagdeo’s PPP regime?

3)  Current Mayor is sorry/concerned for her workers manually cleaning certain trenches. So?

4)   Can Burnham-like,  structured self help save Georgetown?

5)  I recommended that the new Georgetown Municipality – Mayor, all councillors, heads of departments – spend their first week (of orientation) in either the Le Repentir cemetery – or near the Haags Bosch Landfill.

6)  Thanks Minister “Good Life” Jordan! For the $1000 increase in old age pensions. Both His Excellency and I appreciate it.

7)  Which ICC Women’s T20 Team can easily defeat a Guyana Male Team? Or the West Indies?

8) Farewell Elder Stanley Cooke, farewell.

Til next week!

(allanafenty@yaahoo.com)

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