Guyanese Patriots with a Passion for Progress — by Francis Quamina Farrier

— by Francis Quamina Farrier

While there are those Guyanese who say openly that they have given up on the country of their birth, there are those who not only “Talk the talk” but certainly “Walk the Walk” in a very positive way. So when last have you walked along the Main Street Avenue in downtown Georgetown and observed the renaissance taking place? There are citizens who are working diligently to make it more and more as pleasant a walk as possible for citizens and tourists as well.

One such citizen is businessman Stanley Ming. “The avenue along Main Street between Middle and New Market Streets, west of the President’s official residence, has become a very popular venue for photography during the year-round celebrations of weddings, anniversaries and special occasions.” noted Stanley Ming, the General Manager of Mings Products and Services Limited.       

With a particular interest in the improvement of that area of the capital city of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Stanley Ming has demonstrated clearly, his patriotism and passion for improving his own self designated section of the Capital of Guyana, Georgetown. “A complete remake of the avenue and its surroundings was done during 2016, when the support of Guyana Power and Light (GPL), The Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MOP), Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), The New Thriving Restaurant, GAICO, and Mings Products and Service (MPS), were solicited, and it was agreed to install new LED Lightning, and underground water system for the plants, a large concrete plant receptacles, steel garden benches, rubbish receptacles, and the repaving of the pathway.” Stanley Ming pointed out.

It would be recalled that during the decades of the 1980s to 2015, Georgetown had deteriorated to what was known as “The Garbage city.”

That was a far cry from its traditional title of “The Garden City of the Caribbean” which it proudly held for almost a century. Then came the period when citizens seemed to have lost pride in themselves and their pristine environment. Gone were the days when children played in city drains which were kept as clean as a bedroom floor, to a time when children were unaware that there were concrete drains somewhere below the filthy, muddy strips of minor waterways across the city. Almost all the drains were clogged-up with every imaginable item – bags, boxes, bicycles, beddings – you name it. Almost everywhere – including the pavement in front of the Public Buildings on Brickdam which houses the country’s Parliament. That pavement was even used as the bedroom for many homeless persons. Many of them deposited human waste on that pavement where parliamentarians drove pass going into and out of the Parliament compound.

While a journalist at the VCT EVENING NEWS, I did quite a number of news items highlighting that sordid problem of the fall from grace of Georgetown. Mounds of garbage were seen in most areas of the city, including the Main Street corridor. From 2016 things began to turn around. There was a dramatic renaissance of “Georgetown, the garbage city” to a Georgetown doing an “about turn” and heading to become “A Shining city on a mud flat.”

While every street in the capital city should be well maintained, one such as Main Street should receive extra  attention given its location in the downtown commercial area of the city and also that one of the exits from State House goes unto that dual carriage way. As such, the current on-going maintenance project in which Mings Products and Services Ltd. and other agencies are involved, must be applauded. “It was a great example of what can be readily achieved, when the Public and Private Sectors make the effort to collaborate and support each other, for the benefit of the citizens and general environment of our Dear Land.” Stanley Ming emphasized.

Since the original environmental upliftment of the area, Mings Products and Services (MPS), continues to clean and maintain the surroundings, setting an example for other Corporate Citizens. Part of the ongoing project is to remove rubbish on a weekly basis. I have seen this operation on many occasions and actually spoken with the MPS workers as they were carrying out their functions. Other corporate Citizens that contribute to the on-going cleaning process of the city include Action Tyres, John Fernandes Ltd. and BANKS DIH, Ltd. I have witnessed BANKS DIH Ltd. workers cleaning the pavements around DEMICO in the Stabroek Market area on a regular basis.

The answer to the question as to why there are so many citizens who litter and build mounds of garbage with impunity, is simple. They know that they will not be made to be accountable for their actions. If for example, a LAW is enacted by which anyone caught littering is taken to the City Police Station which is located in the City Hall compound and made to spend, let’s say just one hour seated on a bench, their photograph taken and filed in a “BOOK of Litterers” should bring the unhealthy practice to an end. Of course, there will be those who will attack such actions by the authorities. There may likely be voices raised about “Human Rights.” But then why complain when the lawless continue their lawlessness! As the saying goes, “Strong medicine for serious sickness.”

This article will be incomplete if I fail to mention that a very high percentage of Pavement Vendors clean up their immediate surroundings on a regular basis. That is something which I have witnessed and checked on many occasions over the years. The hope is that many other Corporate Citizens will follow the example of Mings Products and Services Ltd., BANKS DIH, John Fernandes, Action Tyres and others in their efforts to improve the environment of the City of Georgetown..

Two staffers of Mings Products and Services Limited (MPS) taking care of plants in the Main Street Avenue, Georgetown aon an on-going basis. (Photo courtesy of MPS)

The beautiful century-old iron fence around the iconic Public Buildings on Brickdam in Georgetown. This photograph was taken in 2011 when Georgetown was at its worse, drowning in litter and garbage. (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

This is a candid photograph of this long-standing Main Street Avenue vendor who always keeps his immediate area clean – even when he had an injured leg. (Photo by Francis Q. Farrier)

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