One of the things I enjoy as I am getting on in age is walking my dog in the nights at Giftland Mall. You see the manifestations that mask the realities of Guyana. You see fancy people with fancy cars and for an ephemeral moment, Guyana appears like Singapore or Trinidad in your eyes.
Saturday night was not just another night. I couldn’t get parking. The patrons were overflowing. I asked one of the security ranks what was going on. He said there was a big sale on. I looked at the types and models of vehicles in the parking lot and yes, you would think you were in rich Singapore or oil wealthy, Trinidad. You look at the folks going into the mall and you wonder if this is the real Guyana. It is not.
That Saturday as I watched at the people on the Giftland turf, I couldn’t get out of my mind the image of that cook in the newspapers who died after the truck she was travelling in was stuck on the muddy road for two days. She was trying to get to her work place. She was earning her living as a working class employee.
She had to use the only trail that leads to the Cuyuni-Mazuruni district. The track is referred to as the Puruni Road. The post mortem revealed she died from ruptured arteries. With my limitation of medical science, I am guessing that she was stressed out and hypertension ensued and she burst some vessels.
When you see photographs of this strip, it makes you extremely livid. How can any government of decent leaders allow their citizens operating in the gold industry to use that pathway? Is there money to transform it from a trail to road? Yes, but our leaders spend more on luxuriating things.
I can think of the cost of the dozens of billboards around Guyana announcing the 2018 national budget or the dozens of millions spent by UG on entertainments and high priced conferences. This woman was a mother. Her children must find the manner of her death very painful.
Then there is the situation of an eleven-year old boy of East Canje who lost his sight when his eye was struck by a nail that was pelted at him. According to this newspaper, he couldn’t get treatment at the New Amsterdam Hospital because there was no doctor on duty.
In a Caribbean country in the 21st century, the second largest hospital in the country did not have a doctor to treat a little boy in an emergency situation. Where was that doctor? Why he/she was not disciplined? You want to know why? Because the little boy doesn’t have parents who have status and wealth.
Then there was the case of bodies rotting at the New Amsterdam hospital morgue because the morgue was not functioning. The rotting bodies occurred in 2019. Now here is what I wrote in my column of Friday, September 3, 2010: “The Georgetown Public Hospital has run out of HIV drugs and had to borrow from a small neighbour, Suriname. Public mortuaries do not function. The stories of rotting bodies are common place.”
May I remind you that this article was written eight years ago? I did another piece on rotting bodies when the mortuary broke down in Essequibo. The relatives who came in from abroad for the funeral saw their loved one in a decayed state.
These morbidities flash in my mind whenever I am with my dog at the Giftland Mall and I am gazing at the glitzy folks and their expensive cars.
Is this the real Guyana I am looking at? Or is there a sad, tragic Guyana that does not belong to the 21st century? How does a child feel when he/she hears that his/her mother died from stress after the truck she was in was stuck in mud for two days? How does a parent feel when he knows that his child’s eye could have been saved if there was a doctor on duty at the only hospital that was available in their district?
When Charrandass said, “Yes, yes” in parliament , there was an APNU+AFC parliamentarian that kept shouting; “No Charran, no Charran, no Charran.” I keep getting these emails from diaspora folks saying; “No Freddie, no Freddie. Why do you support the no confidence vote?” So I plan to wake up tomorrow shouting; “Yes, Freddie yes, yes Freddie, yes Freddie.” I will do so in sympathy with the poor blind boy, and the unfortunate dead cook.
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