THE GEORGETOWN SEAWALL IS SHEER STRESS ON WEEKENDS
It is said that the lifespan of an individual should not exceed three score and ten, that is, a man should live at least seventy years. Anything more than that he should count himself lucky.
Glenn Lall believes that he will be going strong and healthy long after he touches seventy. He became a granddaddy recently and I thought that I would ask him to come and join the senior citizens club, but he protested furiously saying that he was still a young man. Whatever, congratulations are in order to Guyana’s newest granddad!
Many of us would wish to live to seventy, especially in Guyana, where the chances of living beyond sixty is not that great given the country’s life expectancy which even though rising is still not high.
The problem is that by the time you attain the age of seventy, your children would have already been adults with their own kids, you would have retired and therefore have a great deal of time to spend socializing, but not with many people keen to be around you for any long period.
That is the fate of most senior citizens. The good thing though is that with so much free time you can go outdoors and find a quiet, peaceful place to relax, especially in the evenings, which is always so beautiful, yet so unappreciated in Guyana.
One of the places that I really enjoyed going in the past because it was relaxing, breezy and often had lost of elders in the evenings was the Georgetown Seawall, near to the Bandstand.
Going to the Seawall on weekends used to be an enjoyable experience. Not anymore!
The place is dirty, but that is not the reason why the Seawall on weekends has lost its appeal for the elderly. These days it seems that very little priority is being given to the needs of the elderly. One of the few places that they can find to really relax, the Georgetown Seawall is a nightmare, especially on weekends.
I am not here referring to the Georgetown Seawall from Sherriff Street stretching eastwards. That stretch is filled to capacity on Sunday evenings mostly with young people patronizing the many food and drinks bars at that location, the air being violated with loud music coming from boom-boom boxes. They leave an awful mess when they are finished. It is disgusting and one of the reasons why it will take more than economic development to be a place people can feel proud about.
There is a need for an overall change of attitude as to how we keep our environment. Until there is that change of attitude things are not going to get better.
When the crowds moved from the Georgetown Seawall near to the bandstand to their present location on Sunday evenings, the former location was a zone of tranquility where the older folks could go and relax.
A visit to the area any Sunday afternoon will however shock and terrify you. What used to be a nice place to relax is now a fun park, a vendors’ arcade and beer garden, all in one.
The area where families could go and sit and relax is now taken over on weekends by trampolines, inflatable slides, merry-go-rounds and tents vending beer and other beverages.
Vendors are driving their vehicles on the wall. It is hard to find a bench to sit on; the vendors are strategically locating their stalls near to the benches so as to make use of these benches placed there for the public.
The area is chaotic, noisy and stressful, not what it was created and maintained to be for so many years. It is not for senior citizens.
Our children need a place where they can go to jump on their trampolines, slide down the inflatable slides, buy their ice cream cones and popcorn while the parents sip cold beers.
But that place cannot be the Georgetown Seawall. That sort of activity should be taken elsewhere. The seawall should be a place where families and especially the older folks can go and relax. It should be noise-free and have little vending.
The only vending that should be allowed should either be registered concessions, and the number of businesses being granted such concessions should be limited, as well as those vendors who walk and sell.
All those tents and trampolines and go-carts and slides and music sets need to be taken elsewhere.
Mental health contributes to longevity and there is very little that happens on the Georgetown Seawall on Sundays that contributes to good mental health – no wonder the life expectancy, while much improved, has not yet reached three score and ten.
The authorities, particularly the Georgetown City Council, need to take charge of the Georgetown Seawall. One has to ask just how many of the city’s fathers and mothers actually go to the Georgetown Seawall on weekends to relax.
If they did so often, they would have seen what is taking place and done something to restore sanity to the location