It would be unfair to compare the physical rut of a country in the throes of civil war with another state where there is absolutely no upheaval, yet its physical landscape is enveloped with miasma, as can be seen everywhere in the land.
I believe all Guyanese who have seen the garbage horror of Georgetown have not seen the real terror. To see it is to investigate it. What has become of this country is simply unbelievable. I believe if you bring foreign aid workers who have operated in many ravished countries and show them Guyana, they would tell you they have not seen a city like this anywhere in the world.
I believe any diplomat from a developed country if he/she takes a pre-assignment visit to Georgetown and see what obtains throughout the capital city, that diplomat will request to be posted to another territory. The average Guyanese knows Georgetown is virtually covered with garbage, but they only see selected parts.
If you work in Water Street, then you see what that site has become. Your passage to home does not take in other sites like Alberttown or Regent Street, Bourda. So you only see the mess in Water Street.
If you work in the Bourda district, then if you have no reason to be in King Street, then your knowledge of the garbage is limited to what you see on Robb Street, Regent Street and other roads in the district of Bourda. What happens to your mind when you investigate the city of Georgetown itself?
The garbage that has canopied Georgetown is simply an incredible story of the total failure of a modern state. I thought I had seen it all, but I saw a more frightening picture this week. Walking with Michael Carrington of the AFC on Avenue of the Republic on Tuesday, the scene was out of a science fiction movie.
The 1973 Charlton Heston movie, Soylent Green, comes to mind. Even in the streets in the movie, the chaos that descended on the population was not accompanied by a tsunami of mess and garbage, as is the case with Georgetown.
From Parliament Building in Hadfield Street right down to the National Library on Church Street, Avenue of the Republic has become a mountain of garbage. All the gutters, alleyways and trenches are covered with mud and garbage. It is a pathetic site opposite St. Andrew’s Church and outside the Magistrates’ Courts.
This is a scene that would scare any first-time visitor.
On Wednesday, I visited Khemraj Ramjattan at his King Street office. I parked on North Road and at the junction of North Road and King Street there is a gutter that is neatly covered when it meets a restaurant, right at the junction. When you stare through the steel that covers that gutter, what you see is incredible. The entire gutter is covered with garbage, including a huge part of a car chassis.
The gutter runs from North Road and goes onwards and turns into Avenue of the Republic. A part of it also turns south into King Street. I am contending that what you see you would define as unbelievable. Before proceeding to Khemraj’s office, I followed the waterway into King Street.
There is absolutely no way any other country looks like this. This thing is not a drain. It is a medical disaster waiting to happen, once the dirty water comes out of the drain, because the water has nowhere to go but onto the road and into the business places that are there.
I believe in ways we may not know, this uncivilized descent in Georgetown may have affected the psyche of every citizen. Let me confess on this page that I honestly and sincerely believe that no other country in the world has this horror story.
The tale of Georgetown sinking in an ocean of mud and garbage is not something you find in the real world. And no amount of reading and description can convey the picture. You have to see it to believe it.
I know there are readers that are bound to say that this is old news; that they know about it. But I will insist that you have to make the journey all over Georgetown to see it. This week I thought I had seen it all, but I saw more. I believe no amount of construction of high-rise buildings can take away from the fact that this is a failed country.
I would give anything to read how a European and American journalist would describe what they see in Georgetown.
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