Helping to build a better Guyana! – commentary

 Helping to build a better Guyana! – commentary


Guyanese live in a picturesque country with clean water streaming from majestic waterfalls and mountains into rivers and streams that flow into large acreages of wetlands bursting with different species of fresh and salt water fishes and beautiful birds and wild animals.
The people are friendly, and most are tolerant and law-abiding citizens in a nation where every creed and race find an equal place.
That is the exquisite Guyana that every Guyanese loves and hopes to make their homes for their families for generations to come. Thirty-five years ago, Guyana was a leader in the Caribbean, indeed in the entire developing world in regard to human capital. It was above all in indicators of educational achievement and health standards. Sadly, those achievements have deteriorated badly.  

That has been one of the reasons for the outflow of human talent from the country over the past three decades. Nevertheless, some Guyanese in the diaspora are still respected for their skills and are willing to return to work in Guyana, so the potential to restore those standards to previous levels could materialize.
If someone were to take a closer look at what was achieved since independence, he/she would notice that it is not all that they had hoped for. Today, its many rivers and waterways are poorly maintained. They are cleaned whenever there is a major complaint or someone in authority wants to make an impression. Guyana has the resources to clean and maintain its streams and rivers on a permanent basis.
Apart from the regular challenges with security, education and healthcare, there are fundamental failures in other sectors. Water distribution is so poor that after 50 years of independence, the country is still a long way from having adequate water available to everyone. Almost weekly there are busted water pipe mains.
Then there is the sad situation regarding the dysfunctional fire hydrants. Nearly every fire hydrant in Georgetown and surrounding areas is without water. Responding to house fires in many cases could be a life-and-death situation and, more importantly, a major component of the country’s fire service preparedness initiative. Yet most of the country’s fire hydrants are not functioning.
Georgetown is being cleaned but there are stray dogs, vagrants, and homeless persons sleeping on the pavements. Illegal vending continues to desecrate the beauty of the city. And there are hardly any public toilet facilities in the city. We are now seeing more places of recreation.
There is no mass transit system, no bus schedules showing the various routes and time of arrival and departure, no structured police patrols and no systematic approach to ensure that every community has access to fire and ambulance service.
Many believe that this government has the wisdom, tenacity and conviction to do what the previous administration has failed to do. And just as a measure of its success, the government took the initiative through an all-inclusive effort to clean and remove the stench and garbage from Georgetown.
It is restoring Merriman Mall and modernizing Durban Park. It is also constructing a new international airport with several air bridges and is expanding the runway.
Infrastructure and economic growth go hand in hand but the deteriorated state of the nation’s infrastructure due largely to corruption is a major impediment to growth. The lack of growth has been evident everywhere, from the seawalls to roads, bridges, aerodromes and harbors, and from electricity generation and distribution facilities, to health care services, education, water supply and sewerage systems.
Considerable progress has been made by this government during the last nine months in reversing the trend toward deterioration, but there is much more ground yet to cover.

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  • demerwater  On 03/20/2016 at 7:06 am

    There is a concept out there that goes something like this: “Government should confine its activities to providing such services that the people cannot do by themselves.
    Government obtains its income – mainly – by taxing the people. If the taxpayer is convinced that “her/his taxes” are used to maintain Public Safety, Public Infrastructures; and things like that, I am sure that (s)he would be less unwilling to pay such taxes.
    But when Government (the entity) misspends money, like paying Dutch Consultants to tell us what almost every citizen knows by experience; when Government employees flaunt a life-style (“… exhales cigar smoke upwards and brandy fumes downwards…”) that appears incompatible with her/his income; then what are the taxpayers to think?
    My opinion is that the “Indenture System” created a culture of dependency among a lot of Guyanese. I recall terms like, “Nah worry! Bookers like wan river.” I remember the great divide over the Independence issue; it was amazing that so many Guyanese would prefer “de white maan rule”.
    The clean-up activities itemized in the article are commendable.
    But how does the Government plan to restore that feeling of pride that motivated a populace to ‘scrub house’, hoe weeds, clean the side line trench and wet the road in the immediate vicinity of their property?

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