The rapidly increasing number of pavement dwellers in the city and its environs has always been a source of concern. Economic hardship, drug addiction and mental illness have for the most part been causal factors.
There is no doubt that this situation did not arise overnight and cannot be solved immediately. However, it is vitally important for the relevant authorities, particularly the Human Services Ministry, to address it with alacrity, engaging all appropriate agencies.
Apart from being aesthetically displeasing, the existing state of affairs is further exposing two other disquieting social ills – youth intolerance and delinquency. The correlation comes from the fact that while in recent times, dogs and other animals are mercifully being spared the wrath of misguided youths, the targets are now inexplicably, the homeless.
In areas around any of the municipal markets, particularly at night, one can witness some of the most despicable acts of insensitivity towards these hapless souls. The vile, unprovoked attacks range from the throwing of stinking trench water on sleeping pavement dwellers to the unthinkable – glass bottles and large stones raining on them.
Those of us who do not indulge in such lunacy cannot conceive this manner of contemptible behaviour, but it is most important that the authorities recognise its severity. There have been many occasions when vagrants have succumbed to injuries sustained during those gratuitous acts of violence and no one has been held accountable. The unrelenting sadism speaks to a deep-rooted problem.
Many among us are not very subtle (and surely not very kind) when we speak of the less unfortunate in our midst. Sadly, most homeless individuals are viewed as “mad people” and are treated with reckless abandon. This in essence feeds the unrestrained beast described above.
The authorities must somehow revisit their methods in dealing with vagrants. And whatever they come up with needs to be conducted in a structured manner.
The state certainly has an interest in seeking to help these ill-fated people to live a life that is integrated more positively with their fellow citizens. As it is, the average citizen skirts very warily around those who inhabit our streets – especially after the media highlight the occasional acts of violence that a minority resort to. It would be an interesting statistic, if we could be informed of the number of street dwellers who are the victims of accidents, rapes, savage beatings and other atrocities in comparison to those they inflict on others.
A mark of our humanity is how we treat our less fortunate. If life in Guyana has proven to be so challenging to those of us who have things going in our favour, imagine what it must be like to those at the other end of the scale.
Some years ago we were informed that the regulations for institutionalizing the mentally challenged had been loosened radically, and this resulted in the influx of such persons into our streets. Another factor has undoubtedly been the increased use of hard drugs, which have a deleterious effect on the faculties of the habitual users. Today the loosening of the Guyanese family structure has forced many of even the borderline cases into the streets.
We reiterate that this problem must be dealt with in a coherent and well thought-out manner. Let us begin with a study that informs us of the magnitude of the problem. We are certain that it will qualify as an emergency.
The phenomenon of vagrancy is by no means a new one and various intervention strategies have been attempted across the globe. We are sure that our social services officials, in collaboration with our law enforcement personnel, can craft an initial intervention programme suitable to our circumstances. The programme would then be monitored and amended as necessary.
Funding cannot be a constraining factor. If money can be found for projects of dubious economic value, we are positive that funds can be sourced to help citizens who live under the most oppressive, depressing and disgraceful conditions.
May 28, 2020Says managerial, analytical & listening skills key to Captaincy By Sean Devers Guyana and West Indies cricketer Leon Johnson hails from the Amerindian Village of Aratac in Santa Mission, a...
May 28, 2020
May 28, 2020
May 27, 2020
May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020
Whenever a political party loses an election, there are always implications for the leaders of that party. The APNU and... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Caribbean countries are, once again, being placed in a difficult position as they try to navigate... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]