Inconsiderate actions can hurt
The inconsiderate actions of some can always lead to problems for others and invariably the others are innocent people simply wanting to go about their business. The most recent incident of gross inconsideration led to severe flooding that has left millions of dollars in losses in its wake.
People are paid to do a job but in Guyana there are people who are paid to work but who just go through the motion. Just a week ago Education Minister Priya Manickchand made the point to teachers. She was at pains to compare the current crop of teachers to those of yesteryear who she said worked for the love of the job. And indeed those teachers of yesteryear took pride in producing quality students.
It was the same with joiners, carpenters and cobblers. Seamstresses should also be included in this group. They all took pride in their handiwork and often went out of their way to ensure that the finished product was something to behold.
Today, the actions or attitudes of these people are different. They could not care less. Even if there is job loss they know that they will find another somewhere.
And so we come to the people who are employed to keep the tides from the land. At the lowest level these are the koker attendants who would close the kokers when the tide was high and so protect water from encroaching on the land. When the tide recedes they would open these kokers and allow unwanted water to drain from the land.
Given that the coastal belt is below sea level it is necessary for the attendants to take pride in their jobs. Their inattention could affect the livelihood of thousands. Two koker attendants attached to the Mayor and City Council were inattentive. When they returned to full consciousness hundreds of people were severely affected by saline flood waters.
People lost household articles and appliances; offices lost productive hours, equipment and working space. Even people far removed from the area were affected because they had to navigate the flood waters.
Many vehicles have been damaged and given the cost of motor spares these two koker attendants must have really hurt the pockets of more people than they can count.
This is where Guyana is sadly lacking. In other countries the question of compensation would have arisen. Insurance companies would have begun to file claims. Private home owners would have also sought lawyers to represent their interest. And all these lawsuits would have been directed to City Hall because that is the entity responsible for the kokers in the city.
In Guyana the lawyers would first demand payment, something that most people cannot afford. Secondly, the move to sue a city or a state is not something common to Guyana. Should someone opt to sue one must wonder at the reception the lawsuit would attract.
The Government Ministries would be able to replace all; that they have lost by simply applying to the Ministry of Finance; the ordinary man must dig deep into his resources, if he has any, to replace what he has lost to the flood.
And as fate would have it, there has been no prosecution of the people who allowed the salt water to flow into people’s home. City Hall, under pressure may fire the men. Can the affected people take private action against these men? I suppose they could but these operators have no insurance or anything against which the victims could file a claim.
This is the gross disadvantage in Guyana when it comes to recovering assets lost by means facilitated by the state or an agency. Perhaps this is why we are so lackadaisical. This attitude has now permeated every aspect of national life.
For example, in the medical field, no one has been able to sue a doctor with the result that they continue to mutilate and to butcher people. And to crown it all, the people never seek to organize to create institutions that would help them right in times when they suffer because of the carelessness of others.