On Sunday evening I went to visit the suicide capital of the world, Black Bush Polder in Berbice. We left in the afternoon but reached in the night because a bout of Alzheimer’s struck me on Sunday, April 13, 2015.
When we were in Region Five, the realization dawned on me that I didn’t compose my Kaieteur News column for the next day – Monday. I was going to Black Bush Polder (BBP) and won’t be back home until late in the night and I didn’t write my Monday piece.
We dropped in at AFC’s Berbice guy, Charrandass Persaud at Canje in Region 6. I used his computer, typed my article and sent it off. By the time we arrived inside of BBP, night was with us. BBP is twenty two miles (so I was told), off the main road.
I have never been to BBP. But the urge to go became urgent after comparative global statistics revealed it was the suicide capital of the world. Per capita, more people commit suicide in Black Bush Polder than any other community in the entire world.
My introduction to BBP was depressing. I was depressed throughout the visit and I don’t want to go back. I could do without that angst in my life at my age. I need to see my country become part of the modern world and I would spend every ounce of energy to see that Black Bush Bolder is transformed into a modern community. But BBP appears to the naked eyes as a 10th century piece of wasteland. I don’t want t go back in a hurry and certainly not in the night.
When night falls on BBP, it is enveloped in darkness. There is not even one street light in that place. When the term total darkness is used, it means total, complete darkness. As you turn off the main road, only the sky provides you with a distant candle as you drive miles and miles inside of BBP.
We first landed at Yakusari. There is only one road. It is like a horse-shoe. You can leave Yakusari and get out of BBP not by returning the same direction from where you first entered. But by following taking the horse shoe, it brings you to Lesbeholden and Mibikuri then out to Adventure village on the main highway.
When you leave Yakusari, to get to Mibikuri and Lesbeholden, you have to pass four bridges over wide trenches. Not one of these wooden bridges has a side rail to protect the driver if the darkness deceives you. It is into the trench you go. We saw about two hundred huge trucks waiting to deliver their paddy to the rice mills.
The roads are narrow lanes so once a paddy truck is coming at you, you have to put your vehicle onto the parapet. There was an instance when we had no way to go except into the trench – the intestinal street didn’t provide for refuge onto the parapet. The long and winding street that runs over the face of BBP is badly broken up.
The PPP’s favourite road contractor built the road just one year ago. Yes, I have seen the suicide capital of the world and it kills your optimism about Guyana. The question that would have saturated my mind throughout the entire visit was how the people of BBP could allow themselves to be treated like this by a political party they have voted into government five successive times since 1992.
For the purpose of accuracy, I went to research the voting patterns. In every election since 1957, (yes 1957) the PPP has taken BBP. What is incomprehensible is that since the PPP won there in 1957, BBP has never had street lights.
BBP is a troubled area of darkness thus I can understand why it became the suicide capital of the world. I had one pleasant moment and a satisfactory episode. I played with a rice farmer’s dog that is so gorgeous that he must be the nicest thing in the world. And at Yakusari, an aging man was in disagreement with what Dr. Ramayya was saying at a public meeting of APNU-AFC. Three young East Indians went into his face and chased him away.
We left the darkness inside BBP only to meet darkness outside. Region Six had blackouts. We traveled back to Georgetown in total darkness – Regions Five and Four and parts of Region Three had blackouts. GPL said the cause was a driver hit a utility pole.
So almost half of Guyana can get electricity disruption through the mere destruction of a pole. Do you believe that?
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