You cannot help in this country having contempt for some people. Shaun Samaroo, the Chronicle editorial consultant is one of them. Mr. Samaroo conceives Minister of Sports, Frank Anthony, together with Priya Manickchand as the two persons in whose hand rest the future of Guyana. This of course is the theatre of the absurd. And such masturbatory opinion-making need not be dignified with any elaborate reply
This column is on sports so I will leave out a discussion on Priya Manickchand. The Minister of Sports is among a group of Cabinet members that in the opinion of this writer is incompetent. In response to a multi-party picket of the Aquatic Centre involving representative of APNU, AFC and socialist activists including me and Mark Benschop, demanding the pool be opened to the public, Anthony responded in the press by saying that will soon be done once a vacancy for a life guard is filled.
That was three years ago. No one in this country should dispute what I see at the Aquatic Centre. If I jump into my car, it will take me a minute to get to the pool based on the nearness of my home to the centre. I pass the pool more than four times a day. I have noted two characteristics of the pool.
One is that most of the time in the calendar year it is a deserted, ghost town. Secondly, it is used by the PPP elites and their friends. I saw the President, Gail Teixeira, and many other Ministers on several occasions, making use of the pool. Private citizens, including American and European visitors, make use of the pool. I saw this last Friday and Saturday (yesterday). Yet members of the public cannot walk in to have a swim.
Anthony said that was on the cards once a life guard was found. Is there a life guard? If yes, then can an arrangement be made for the public to use it either freely or through a paid system? If no, then why are private citizens and the President and Ms. Teixeira swimming in it without a life guard? And if they can do so why can’t others.
There are three public swim facilities in this country. None is opened to the public on any given day. Colgrain is reserved for swimming clubs (how many of those we have to assign a pool exclusively to them only?) Castellani is for the exclusive domination of the PPP people.
There is now an interesting development. The Castellani structure is almost abandoned because the PPP throne has moved to the Aquatic Centre. Contacts have told me that for more than a year, no one from the PPP hierarchy has used the pool. And thirdly of course, the Aquatic Centre.
The public, opposition parties and civil minded groups must demand of Anthony and Donald Ramotar (saw both of them Friday evening at the Hamlet play, hope they know what is the theme of Hamlet) that one of these publicly owned pools be opened to the general population either to use freely or for a fee. But one must be made openly available to the citizens of Guyana.
My suggestion is simple. Leave the clubs at Colgrain, open Castellani to the public and if the PPP wants, they can retain the Aquatic Centre for training and the PPP elites. But the most sensible approach is to assign that massive aquatic structure for public use. The youthful numbers that will be there on weekends will be staggering. No one is saying that you must have a free-for-all; you can charge a fee.
My mother-in-law died two weeks ago and all my nieces and nephews were here in Guyana and I would have loved to take them swimming at the Aquatic Centre. It is a horrible indictment on the Guyanese people that they can allow the government to have three swimming facilities and all three are shut out from general use by the public. At least why not one of them?
Do you know that the Ministry of Sports has built a state of the art gym on Carifesta Avenue for elite use only? These people have not even the conscience to set aside at least two days for the young people to exercise there. What is beyond belief is that there is a government in Guyana that covets the resources of the country anyway anyhow they want and the citizenry are silent, sheepish and fearful to even offer one word of criticism.
It is my belief that the pools will remain in the exclusive hands of the PPP elites until there is regime change. I end with an opinion that I have penned twice before in the Freddie Kissoon column. What this country needs is a revolution with the subsequent Samuel Doe treatment of power abusers.
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