When the rulers of a country become psychologically jaded after a prolonged period in the abuse of power, so many anomalies set in. The government becomes an object of derision. Citizens lose respect for them.
People laugh at ministers and high officials, and one sordid mistake follows another in what becomes a concatenation of comical errors.
I remember in the early eighties, one of the Vice-Presidents, Mrs. Viola Burnham, urged Guyanese to try to use the coal pot again to beat the energy crisis.
At that time, the Working People’s Alliance put out a small sheet titled Dayclean, and edited by one of the world’s most gifted persons in the use of subtle meanings when writing, Eusi Kwayana.
I truly stand by this assertion that Kwayana has the unique talent, in this world, of conveying the meaning of an event by using words that avoid any direct confrontation but yet achieve a hard-hitting effect.
Dayclean made a huge mockery of what Mrs. Burnham wrote. The ridicule went on for years. In Guyana under the PPP, the same use of authoritarian power as when Mrs. Burnham was Vice President has led to the Shakespearian comedy of errors. As back in the PNC days, this tragedy only serves to make Guyana look asinine in the eyes of the world.
Only in Guyana this concatenation of farce can happen. In the October 28 issue of this newspaper, on page 20, there appears a news item in which the Chief Executive Officer of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) shows anger and vexation at what he saw over at the West Coast of Demerara.
Mr. Karan Singh is quoted as saying that he saw people washing their cars with water supplied by GWI, and such water is a treated process. We will examine this absurdity below.
But let us hear more of the observation of the gentleman. He exclaimed that if people want to use the treated water for other than domestic purposes, then they should carve out their own wells.
Now read on, because the level of facetiousness gets worse. He cited Banks DIH and DDL as places that dug their own wells in order to meet their water requirements.
What angle should a commentator use to debunk the nonsense in these remarks without getting angry? Guyana has two types of water – fresh and salt water. The latter comes from the ocean.
Saudi Arabia only has salt water, so that country spends billions of dollars on desalination. Our fresh water comes from the water beds and the rivers, creeks and rivulets which GWI treats from money the British provides, and from Guyanese taxpayers.
To be noted is the fact that even when the PNC Government wasn’t getting aid for treating our water, Guyanese were supplied with it free of cost.
Three irritating aspects of Mr. Singh’s remarks are bound to make us look stupid in the eyes of the foreigners who live in Guyana.
First, this gentleman is suggesting that if the people of this nation (about 700,000 minus newborn babies) want to use water other than for domestic purposes, they should dig their own wells.
Any second year high-school kid would laugh at that, because constructing a well to provide a source of water is an engineering process that is not exactly cheap.
More laughs come when you think of the 213,000 urban citizens (Georgetown has 28 per cent of Guyana’s population) plus New Amsterdamers that have no access to land from which they can start the digging. In Albouystown, Wortmanville, Charlestown, Campbellville, Alberttown, where are you going to start?
Secondly, Mr. Singh points to DDL and Banks DIH as examples to follow if you need to have your own water supply to do whatever you want with it. Should one say anything more on this nonsense?
Thirdly, since you can’t use the treated water to wash your car, and since you cannot afford to engineer your own well, then take your buckets to the trenches and rivers and wash your cars and water your plants. If you live by the ocean, like I do, then use the salt water and be prepared to lose your car in six months’ time.
There will be an enormous increase in the sale of buckets, because Guyana has over 30,000 minibuses and hire cars and over 195,000 registered vehicles.
Where does Mr. Singh wash his car? And the other government officials, where do they wash their cars?
Finally, I have a lovely rose garden and I have no intention of watering it with ocean water or trench water. Mr. Singh’s remarks should be received with contempt, and nothing less.
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