Death comes easy in Guyana. No one in the corridors of power is sensitive to death. It comes too easily. From 2002, murder, mayhem and chaos enveloped the land.
Both sides murdered people with impunity – the big men with big guns held up in Buxton and the extra-judicial squads who pursued their prey with bestial vengeance.
The next day as the press reported the gruesome discoveries, another report found its way on the desks of the men who controlled the extra-judicial pursuers.
The death toll would be perused and more edicts will go out to kill more prey. Yes, in the corridors of power, men are all too familiar with falling bodies. Dead human beings bring no reaction. So the news breaks out that a group of miners were slaughtered at their diamond mining camp and the political elites, like the rest of the citizenry, read the pages and move on.
The difference, though, is that the citizenry knows who killed the miners and are scared of its consequences because the Orwellian robots may knock on their doors. But in the corridors of power, burnt bodies mean nothing. Death comes too easily for emotions to be evoked.
Can this explain why a Minister, charged with national security yelled out to the press why is he being questioned about torture by security forces when there are more important things on his plate? Can this explain why another senior Minister classified the brutalisation of accused by their interrogators as “roughing up?” Can this explain why a violent madman who killed two policemen while they were on duty in the second most guarded police institution in the entire country, certified to be of unsound mind, could quite happily be assigned to the jail instead of a psychiatric ward?
The answer is yes. Nothing wrong if he kills again. Death moves no one in the corridors of power because death comes too easily in this country.
The story of Lindo Creek, the torture of a little boy in custody, the death of Education Minister Desrey Fox at the Georgetown Public Hospital and the act of violence perpetrated on Dawan Singh by the insane, Solomon Blackman in the Camp Street jail are all tragic yet sordid tales in the ongoing nightmare of the failed state that is Guyana.
In little Barbados with a population of 250,000 persons, there is a psychiatric hospital. In Guyana, there may be something that passes for a mental sanatorium.
But even if there is a makeshift asylum in this country why wasn’t Blackman put there? The answer is who cares. Death comes easily in Guyana, so who cares. He kills again; the courts will deal with him.
Yes, death comes easily. A storm emerged out of New Garden Street after a Minister who appeared to be injured but not at death’s door then died at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
I was on the picket line outside the Ministry of Labour last week when a colleague in the media asked me for a ride to collect her baby at home. The child was fast deteriorating with an unexplained illness. She explained that there wasn’t money for a visit to a private hospital.
I agreed to take the baby to the Georgetown Public Hospital but she became paranoid at that suggestion. She told me that days before, babies with similar symptoms didn’t make it at the very hospital.
It was clear to me that anyplace was preferred to the institution on New Market Street. Mark Benschop is the neighbour of the Balwant Singh Hospital. I called him to help and he said he would call Dr. Singh’s secretary.
Simultaneously, I contacted Adam Harris who promised to communicate shortly. But she didn’t want to wait. Every second for her was a luxury she couldn’t afford. As we passed Sandy Babb Street, Kitty, I remembered right on that road that there was the doctor who stitched me up after I was attacked in 2004 in my garage by “so-called gunmen” (you know who they were, of course). We found him, and he saved the baby’s life (I suppose).
This story illustrates how people feel about public institutions in this country. You name it, once it is a public sector service, people have no confidence in it. Yet the little dictators boast of how they have the best constitution in the world and how they consult their population.
But people are dying all around us and they couldn’t be bothered because they have become insensitive to death.
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