Human beings are essentially decent human beings. If President Donald Ramotar goes into Linden on any day, people will shake his hand, talk to him and wish him well. If David Granger or Nigel Hughes goes into the heartland of the PPP, Port Mourant, people will be courteous and afford them their time.
This is the essential decency of people all over the world. There may be a voice of heckling and that is to be expected but overall, people will be courteous to these leaders. The analyst should never be short-sighted to think such well-mannered behaviour is a sign of conversion. Linden is an opposition stronghold; Port Mourant is a PPP enclave (although Moses Nagamootoo may say, “not anymore Freddie.”
The most frightening thing about all of this is, if the visiting politician honestly believes because he was mannerly greeted, he has won over the people. Let us hope that President Ramotar is not that silly to think that he will see the return, even a trickle of Guyanese that he has urged to come back to Guyana.
There is absolutely nothing to come back to in Guyana. And the expression of my sister-in-law tells it all. Naturally, you visit the cemetery for preparations before the final moment the next day. My sister-in-law entered the car and said to me and my wife; “Oh, my God, it is the saddest thing I have ever seen.”
She was referring to the state of Le Repentir Cemetery where her mother is interred. Of course she went on to lament, further, its jungle-like and dilapidated condition. Now here is an interesting part. After the burial last Sunday, at home, my daughter said, “Papa, are there tomb raiders in Guyana?” I enquired why and she said she saw a skull on the ground.
Of course there would be tomb raiders because Le Repentir Cemetery has no security night or day and has no security fences. I saw human bones strewn all over the place the very first day I visited the cemetery after my mother-in-law died last Thursday.
Of course my sister-in-law, who lives overseas, is going to tell her friends what she saw in Guyana and of course the response will be predictable – “I’m glad we left Guyana.” During the burial, I was speaking to my cousin, William Cox, and his wife about their son’s phenomenal performance at the CXC level.
They told me after CAPE, he will be leaving to study abroad, and without hesitation, I intoned, “You know he is not coming back.” He is not coming back, and thousands like him aren’t coming back, and thousands like him will continue to leave because of what my sister-in-law saw in Le Repentir Cemetery.
Have no doubts about it – the thousands that are leaving is not because the PPP and PNC and AFC are fighting, is not because of Local Government Elections not being held, not because of quarrels in GECOM or anything to do with politics.
Young people are leaving not because of the politics of Guyana. They are going because they see their country as a deeply disturbing backward place with no modern landscape. They see the land of their birth as a miserable place that is at the bottom of the table among the countries of the world.
This is ironic because it is the political culture that has kept Guyana in the primitive and horribly ugly state that it is in. This is the connection the young people ought to make and they are not making it. They just want to leave. We return to my sister-in-law’s anger and anguish. Imagine what went through this woman’s mind. This war-ravished site is the final resting place of her mother’s remains.
My sister-in-law has no interest in Guyanese politics and never had. This is the stupid thing about the PPP that its leadership will not understand and will never understand. When a visiting Guyanese sees the state of our roads or the Georgetown Public Hospital, their comment is not directed to the PPP. They just cannot accept such terrible things in the country they were born into.
Guyanese don’t care which political party will rehabilitate the cemetery, or the University of Guyana, or clean the garbage, or desilt the alleyways, or install working traffic signals. They know a modern country must have these things. I will end with a thought that visits me each night on the roads when I am driving. I would stare into the darkness ahead and say, “how come in this modern age, the streets of a country do not have lights?”
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