In British Guiana, we had… – Letter by Harri P. Beharry

In British Guiana, we had…

by Kaieteur News – Letters – By Harri P. Beharry

Dear Editor,

Please permit some space in your most informative newspaper to release some of the pains from my aching heart.
Sir, I was born in 1944 and lived in British Guiana which was ruled by the
I wish to say those days were indeed beautiful ones to remember.

I wish to mention some services and benefits we used to enjoy, even with limited offices and staffers as compared to after Independence from 1966 to today.        

We had one Governor and just a limited number of offices in Georgetown running the administration of our country.

Today, we have senior and junior ministers yet nothing is going the way it should. We used to have one District Commissioner to take care of what was called then the District Administration.

Today, we have several officers and offices and yet nothing seems to be done in the interest of the citizens—it appears only to satisfy the whims and fancy of the politicians.

We seldom heard of corruption. As for education, in our primary school districts, there were what we called School Inspectors who will visit schools on a monthly basis and after a short meeting with Head Master, he or she would proceed to the classes and speak to the teachers.

The pupils register would be examined.
Teachers had to explain absences and the follow-ups with parents.

Today, I see primary school children playing around during school hours. Two weeks ago, I called one official of the Ministry of Education and informed her of the situation and the area I am calling from and my contact number. To my surprise, she told me to call New Amsterdam and inform the officers there.
I said to her- “sorry madam, because if you are an employee from the Ministry’s office and you cannot do your work then I cannot, this

During those days, we had the public hospitals and every sugar estate had a hospital.
Government also had a District Doctor who will drive through the area on special days.
Our day in Canje was Wednesday.
I grew up in Betsy Ground, Canje, and whenever my mother or anyone was sick, we would put a white flag by the roadside and the doctor will see it and stop and attend to the patient.
The same went for our animals when we had to summon the vet.
The Sanitary Inspector – (SI) as they were called then would ride their bicycles through the villages taking complaints and acting on them. Today, nobody cares.

Milk vendors had to carry their milk in specially made cans along with specially stamped measure cups with long handles dipped inside the milk can to prevent dust from passing vehicles.

The vendor must be examined by the Government doctor and be issued with a Health Certificate every three months before he or she could have operated.
The vendor, ever so often, would be stopped and the milk tested. If it fails to meet the bar, there could be charges.
Today, people are moving around with a used plastic oil pail and an enamel cup held in their hand collecting the dust from passing vehicles.

We did not hear about stealing then because the penalty was a deterrent. There was whipping for lesser crimes.
Flogging by cat-o-nine was reserved for more serious crimes and hanging for murders were present.
Back then, robberies and murders were extremely rare.

Today, not a day goes by without reports.
Yet millions of dollars will be spent for the 52 years of political dogfight celebrations.

Last week, I spoke with a young woman who is employed with a telephone company who wished the queen could rule the country again as every politician that rule this country is not improving the situation- I truly share that view.

Harri P. Beharry

KNews | May 27, 2018 at 12:07 am | URL:
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  • Janet  On 05/28/2018 at 7:59 am

    I agree with you today, our present day rulers are not yet civilised to rule, independence should have been postponed. People have become corrupted , crime is endemic in the country , it has become a way of life.
    The judiciary is corrupted and the bar association has no. teeth. People steal your land and owners receive no justice, because the conmen have politician friends.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/28/2018 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the Walk Down Memory Lane, Harri P Beharry.

    Bookers had their own Police – I believe Demba had their own Police.

    It was a Beautiful – Orderly, Guiana – But I’m dreaming, again!

    We were long gone by early 1967

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/28/2018 at 2:10 pm

    • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 05/28/2018 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Clyde. A young Guyanese rap poet in the making? Renatta Burnett – activist not politician, she says.

  • bernard  On 05/28/2018 at 6:39 pm


  • dhanpaul narine  On 05/28/2018 at 9:14 pm

    Renatta is powerful. She told it fearlessly and spared no one. More power to her. Politicians in Guyana need to listen to the voices of the young people.

  • Chris Prashad  On 05/31/2018 at 10:50 am

    Great job Renatta. Hats off to you. Hopefully, others like you can join in the call for reform and have the guts to truly expose the pedophiles for what they are. Then find ways to execute justice for all despite who or what they are. Let your voice be heard.

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