There are unseeming, unkind, unbecoming, unfair and unthinkable things that slowly creep up on this country and by the time you realize that they are wrong and should be stopped, it is too late. They have become accepted and resistance comes about when the authorities take action.
Take North Road outside of Bourda Market. Long ago, the City Police should have kept vigil there during the rush hour and ask parkers what the nature of their business is.
Once they are not wholesalers or vendors, they shouldn’t be allowed to stay. Private vehicle owners who want to shop at Bourda Market should be prevented from keeping their vehicle on North Road while they make their purchases.
Long, long ago, Mayor John Ford landscaped a lot for Bourda Market shoppers at the eastern side of East Street. It was never used. Consumers doing their buying at the market used North Road.
The City Council should bring an end to this unfairness. Only business people offloading goods for stall holders should be permitted to stop and off load on North Road. Let shoppers use the John Ford Car Park or Church Street.
City Council police personnel, of course, seem more interested in collecting their rents rather than ensuring the security of the vendors.
These people descend on the Bourda Green from as early as 4 o’clock in the morning. They are left without police protection. Every year for the past ten years, there have been robberies where gunmen have assaulted the wholesalers. The latest incident was two weeks ago.
What kind of country is this when the people who sell agricultural produce are at the mercy of criminals when they come to the Bourda Market to offload their goods and local and central governments remain unmoved at their plight which has been in existence over ten years?
The police presence will emerge one day; and how? When gunmen attack the vendors and kill several of them. The papers will scream “massacre”. The television footage will show the relatives crying their eyes out. This is how the people with power operate in this country.
They only act when tragedy strikes.
Another anomaly that has sprung up and has become embedded is private expropriation of the public parapet. I went to the Demerara Cricket Club on Wednesday night for Marva Bancroft’s wake.
There were too many vehicles. Parking was impossible. The parapets that belonged to the private residences next to DCC on Lance Gibbs Street were all cordoned off. This is the pattern throughout Guyana.
Let us be reasonable; you just can’t park on the City Council parapets outside of people’s homes however and whenever you like. Residents feel that some monster trucks will come and destroy the earth. Point taken!
However, there is a negative side to this development. What residents are doing is virtually claiming ownership of the parapets.
Throughout Guyana, house-owners have fenced off the public lawns outside their yards. Some have landscaped gardens on them.
Others have cemented the grass and laid down tiles.
Where then do you park? But a more relevant question is where do their guests park.
I know in a certain Georgetown suburb, this guy has fancied up his parapet and he has a dilapidated canter truck parked outside his home. But guess where? On the road. He has encumbered two pieces of public land – the parapet and the street.
The streets of this country belong to all of us. Why should he nice up his parapet and hinder drivers from using the road outside his residence? In the night, one can easily run into this permanent monstrosity.
I went to a birthday party and there was absolutely no parking anywhere in the vicinity. All the public lawns were “privatized”.
Of course, people will claim that outside of embassies, one cannot park. This is not peculiar to Guyana. Under international conventions the host country has to provide security to diplomats.
It is foolish to argue that if one cannot leave one’s car outside an embassy then why should we allow drivers to leave their cars on the parapets outside of our homes. Embassies represent countries and crazy people may want to attack the citizens of those nations.
In North America, the parapets are developed by the individual residents and people park on the streets. But those streets are immensely wide so traffic is not impeded. In Guyana, the opposite obtains.
I accept that people have to preserve the external image of their homes. But it has gone to extreme limits. Residents have virtually claimed these public spaces as their own, erecting all types of barriers on them. Some put huge boulders on the grass and paint them white.
Guyana is not ready for this North American feature. The streets are too narrow. The City Council should insist that these obstacles be removed.
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