The magnetic madness and confusion of Stabroek Market Square

Dear Editor,

Is the Stabroek Market Square a microcosm of the Guyanese society?

The Stabroek Market Square is always busy with commuters from every walk of life. Every square inch pulses with life and energy. Located near the Demerara River, it’s the Grand Central Station of Guyana.

Recently, I visited the Stabroek Market Square. It surprises me how every time I go to this place, I see much more, and notice much more. Today, I paid special attention to the people in the area. There were scores of people heading to get transportation to go home. There were police officers and thief men everywhere. There were school children, teachers and other workers. People were walking on the streets, instead of on the parapet because the parapet is full of vendors and there is no place to walk. Two music carts were blasting music simultaneously, even though they were right next to each other.

One music cart was playing rap music with profanity. The other was playing reggae music with profanity, as the school children were dancing to the beats.

It makes me wonder what long term negative impact the music may have on their young minds. What if the music carts were playing Mozart instead of rap or reggae, what impact would it have on the minds?

Even though it was a Tuesday afternoon, the whole atmosphere felt like a big street party. Young men were consuming Guinness, while school children still in uniform were jamming to the beat and hanging out.  The children were enjoying the party.

A middle-aged Chinese man walked by holding an infant. There were people from all walks of life there. What you’ll find at this square can be described as weird stuff, strange stuff and generally offbeat: weirdos, oddballs, screwballs, misfits, working class, homeless, mentally and physically sick, and junkies. All marching to a different drummer. All wearing that invisible coat of frustration and anger.

Not too far from where I was standing, I can see a big church and a cross. In the middle of the madness and confusion, stands a church and a cross.

 At the Stabroek Square, two worlds collide. The sacred and profane. Good and evil. Saints and sinners. Police and thief. Working class and no class. Confusion and madness.

What struck me about the atmosphere was that the madness and confusion seemed so normal and acceptable to the people. No one seems to be disturbed by the noise, madness and confusion.  As a visitor, it all seemed very strange and felt weird. 

I have been to many cities and saw people hustling home after work and school but Georgetown is the only city I recall seeing music carts playing loud and sexually explicit music in the heart of downtown as people make their way home. This party atmosphere that seemed normal to people is what make this country different from the others and strange.

Does the Stabroek Square represent the rest of the society?  Or does this square exist in its own little sphere of reality?

Despite the madness and confusion, the smell of urine everywhere, the feeling of vulnerability to the gangs, it’s hard not to marvel at the pure ingenuity of the madness and confusion at the Stabroek Market Square.

The thrill, the feeling of being part of the madness and confusion seems so unreal. The adrenaline of experiencing so many simultaneous events happening everywhere around you, the smells, the crowds, the sights of human beings behaving badly and crazy – it’s too difficult to resist. I’m victim to the crazy madness and confusion at this square, which is why I keep returning to experience it.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz

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