Dear Santa Claus,
It is once more my privilege and pleasure to write to you seeking special gifts for the people of Guyana, and of course the children.
Over the past years, you have been kind to respond positively to many of my requests, but some issues remain outstanding. The year 2014, had both good and bad influences with some very negative developments which affect the quality of life of the people.
A recurring problem is the inability of Leaders, especially in the political arena, to build bridges of understanding and strive for purposeful unity in the process of nation building. Such attitudes accentuate divisions in our multi-racial society and create fertile ground for bitterness, hate and conflict. One may conclude that some leaders place more emphasis on their personal goals; rather than what is beneficial for the development of Guyana.
Santa, I ask you to give to these leaders, gifts of goodwill, love, compromise and reconciliation.
Something that is very new to Guyana is the recent prorogation of Parliament. Whatever are the arguments for and against such action, the bottom line is that it undermines the role of Parliament and curtails the rights of democratically elected people to have their say.
I ask of you Santa to give to the decision makers in this country the objectivity, maturity and vision for corrective action.
The crime situation in Guyana has caused persons in all walks of life to live in fear. Businesses, homes, commuters, and even worshippers in church are targeted by criminals.
The crime situation affects persons in the city and places along the Atlantic Coast, the riverain areas and even those in the interior places. It’s a very frightening situation.
Santa, I ask for two gifts to help the frightened people of Guyana. The first is that you change the attitude of those who kill, rob and steal. Give to them, love and a caring spirit for others.
The second approach is that you give to the Law Enforcement Agencies such gifts which will make them effective, to curb crime. Gifts should include personnel, training, equipment including road worthy vehicles and good Crime Lab. Unsolved crimes encourage criminal activity.
Traffic accidents – The roadways continue to be unsafe leading in many cases to loss of lives. Santa, give to the Traffic Department the “know how” to deal with this matter. There is need for ongoing Police Patrols, also strengthening the competence tests for drivers. The focus must be of more traffic lights, traffic signs, a curb on speeding and driving under influence of alcohol.
Street Lighting – In recent years, there was the installation of street lighting on many roads, away from the city of Georgetown. A recent survey showed that a large number of these lamps are not working. Incidentally Santa, the city has very little street lighting. The darkness creates an environment conducive to crime. The gift here Santa must be Street Lights and maintenance programmes.
Flooding – Effective drainage requires the clearing of all drains, alley-ways and water-ways leading to the Kokers also the clearing of the outfalls. While accepting that when there are heavy downpours in a short period and the tide is washing, there will be some problems, the major issue is inadequate maintenance of the drainage system. Your gift here, Santa, can be Personnel, equipment and an effective drainage system.
The Garden City – Over the many years, you have been visiting Guyana, you will recall the beauty of our city. These days the dumping of garbage on parapets and drains, coupled with ineffective policing and lack of enforcement of the city by Laws lead to the city being described as the Garden City. Santa you may be bothered by the stench in some areas.
There is need for the gifts of a development plan for the city including zoning, an active City Constabulary and an educational programme for those citizens, who lack pride in their environment.
Santa, the situation with the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown is disgusting, deplorable and laughable. It is sometimes a comedy scene with a Town Clerk who was illegally appointed, according to the Court, having a constant fight with the Mayor and City Councillors.
There have been no Local Government Elections since 1994. Santa give the citizens the gift of Local Government elections in the New Year. This will be appreciated countrywide with the People’s Representatives being accountable.
Santa, much progress has been made in the Health Sector. The need for more specialists still exists. Mosquito borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and filaria continue. However, there has been a new disease called Chikungunya which affected some Guyanese who suffered severe pain; however fogging exercises, though late, yielded good results. Santa, your gifts here should be more fogging machines, chemicals, mosquito nets and insect repellants.
Given the perception of a high level of corruption in Guyana, the need for relevant Commissions should be urgently addressed. The Integrity Commissions and the Public Procurement community should be a priority.
Agriculture – While the rice industry continues to flourish with new varieties and better agricultural practices, the sugar industry which was once the pillar of the economy is in very bad state. The significant loses as a result of poor yields and low productions are cause of concern.
Santa, your gifts here are self evident. You need to give to the sugar industry, competent persons who have relevant training, experience and the ability to lead and motivate workers. You must add to that list fixing the Skeldon Sugar Factory.
Hydro Power – Santa, there is a surprising problem with plans for hydro-power. While, all of the Leaders in Government, the Private Sector and the Political parties agree on the need for hydro-power, the main decision makers cannot find common ground to initiate this important project. Santa your gift to those decision makers should be cooperation, country first, and an abundance of common sense.
Television Stations – Some of the popular Televisions Stations have not been given permission to erect relay towers which would widen their transmission range. Santa, this is an important gift you need to bring to Guyana.
Fuel Prices – It is noted that the price of fuel has decreased in places like the USA. Yet, no price reduction is taking place in Guyana. Guyanese need cheaper fuel so your gift of reduced price for fuel will be appreciated.
Violence Against Woman – This subject is receiving much attention. However, more emphasis must be placed on counseling wherein action taken will not create greater bitterness between the parties involved. The Welfare of the children must always be considered.
Santa, give to those affected, the qualities of respect, patience, love and tolerance which would strengthen marital relationships.
Santa, give to the young people of Guyana access to more technical vocational training.
The success of new housing schemes and the ability of many persons to own their homes create – demand for more carpenters, masons, plumbers and electricians.
Santa, given the increase in the exportation of logs and the large areas having gold mining, there must be concern for the environment. Do give to those who need it in Guyana, effective monitoring units to avoid deforestation and environmental degradation. Give to the Leaders in Guyana a moral compass which can be a guiding light to our young people.
Santa, so far, the wish list has not focused on children. I admire the young boys and girls well attired in their attractive uniform on their way to and from school. Guyana has come along way. Our young people need guidance and good example to follow.
In relation to toys this has changed markedly over the years. Please do not give to our children toy guns, as we have too many people using guns for Criminal activity.
Santa, the two floating bridges across the Demerara and the Berbice rivers have made a big difference to travelling in Guyana. A need which has now emerged is for the reactivation of a ferry service between Vreed-en-Hoop and Georgetown as well as between Rosignol and New Amsterdam. The stellings will have to be repaired. Santa this will be a wonderful gift to commuters.
Santa let me end my Wish List here. May you have a safe journey from the North Pole to Guyana and back. Be reassured of the warm hospitality of Guyanese and their thanks for the Gifts.
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