These past few days have been almost traumatic. There was the rainfall that flooded the city, then the fires and just a few hours ago, the double murder. The rainfall could be explained; it is a natural thing because all Guyana can talk about is rain and sun.
The flooding is another matter. People blame the garbage pile-up and the blocked waterways and they may be right, but there is more to this. For one, there was never any need for the garbage pile-up. Georgetown has been around for nearly 150 years and this was never the case until a few years ago when plastic and Styrofoam became natural pieces of garbage.
I remember the days when people went to Chinese restaurants for a take away meal and left with their food in paper bags. Of course the food left the bag soggy, but people did not mind too much. Garbage bins were common things around the city, but what the authorities did not care and cater for were those who came to the city with their indiscipline.
All too often I am either standing by the roadside or in a car driving behind another vehicle when I see some piece of garbage come flying through the window to land at the side of the road. I have had cause to drive alongside a minibus from which garbage came and talk to the driver who in turn would turn to the passengers and ask them to stop littering.
I live in Tucville and I invite people to visit the community. I can boast that there are no garbage piles where I live. Even people who are squatting on the reserves do not litter. So why is this happening elsewhere? People do not care about littering where they do not live. Each day I go home with bits of paper in the pockets of my car door and when I get home I empty them into a bin.
I remember Georgetown when it had its own garbage trucks and Old Smokey. The place was clean; the main waterways were free of garbage and water flowed. Times changed when people began to look down on sanitation work.
Even residents, many of them renting, refuse to clean the inter-lot drains in their neighbourhood. The result is that vegetation takes over these drains. Because of a money problem, some bins have been left to overflow, but that was not the real problem.
The government knows that people roam the street emptying bins in search of what only these people know. These are the people who create most of the litter but the council must be blamed, because the nature of the government is to blame everyone and everything for the problems. The government is always as pure as driven snow.
To make matters worse, the government, although it expects the City Council to work, denied it the right to manage its own affairs. A visitor would conclude that the government wants the City Council to fail for whatever reason.
That is a matter that would have been solved by a proactive Mayor, but to sit back and allow the government to run roughshod over the affairs of the council is a no-no.
And so we come to the flood. We saw the blocked outfall channels and we wondered how on earth City Hall was expected to clear this, especially when in some cases businessmen occupied the reserves that would have allowed heavy equipment to access the reserves.
Not since the floods of 2005 did I have to wade through so much water in the city. And to crown it, I did not have water where I live, so I concluded that the problem is in downtown Georgetown.
Then as wet as Wednesday was, Thursday was the opposite. There were three fires. The first in Sophia or Liliendaal, destroyed the home of a pensioner, a man who lived and worked in London and returned home to spend his last days.
I don’t know what caused the fire, but I do know that a man who said that he is too old to worry about starting over has a determination to ensure that his family remains sheltered.
The other fire has caused some people to be out of work at this time of the year. It struck at a mattress company – that just a few weeks after a fire destroyed the bond. Some say arson is the reason, but I am at a loss to understand why.
If the owner owes this employee one could understand. If the owner fired the employee one could understand. Why the owner did not really invest in security one cannot understand. What is clear is that millions of dollars are lost to an entrepreneur even as some have money to burn.
To top everything off is the murder at Moblissa, Soesdyke/Linden Highway. There is a little girl at the centre of all this. There is talk of the assailant raping a 13-year-old and when the girl talks to her mother the assailant kills the mother and her 15-year-old son.
The news reaching me tells of frustrated probation officers and a less than fortunate mother. What is sad is that as Christmas approaches it is bringing with it a lot of torment and hardships for some families. We had the man who torched his sister, the boys who killed their stepfather, the teenagers who shoot at and get shot at; and the victims of sex abuse and domestic violence.
The season does not hold out much for some people, but it holds out a lot for me. I became a great grandfather this week. My first reaction was that these children are trying to make me so much older before my time.
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