One of the scientific, deterministic traits in the functionalism of civilization is the movement, from lower to higher, of a person, group and nation. If after a university degree, a good job, and access to money, when a person reaches age sixty, he/she has nowhere to live and nothing to eat, then that person did not progress to a higher stage.
If in 1920, the police force of a country fitted out its ranks with bicycles for them to go the crime scenes and forty years after, they are doing the same in an age of high-speed vehicles, then that country has not moved from lower to higher growth.
On this day, Guyana has achieved 53 years of Independence. Just take two countries that were at the same stage as Guyana in 1966, and the comparison is extremely painful – Trinidad and Singapore. Guyana is larger than both combined. Guyana is far more endowed with natural riches than both.
On this day of Independence, with over seventy percent of the population under forty years of age, the people of this country must either move to a higher civilization or do the decent thing and give the country away to other nations that have a higher civilization. I have been doing newspaper analyses and commentaries since 1988, and the backwardness I wrote about back then, I am lamenting in identical language 30 years after.
Rewind the clock 25 years ago, and the acquisition of a birth certificate was almost impossible. On Thursday afternoon, a friend pleaded with me to help, after showing me a reply acknowledging his application for a birth certificate. That was since last June and he is still waiting. But that is not all. He needs the birth certificate to engage in a process that would make his life a better one.
In Canal Polder, GWI disconnected a customer for owing $5,000. He solicited my help because he has his bill to show he paid off that sum months ago. I intervened and wrote a column about the headaches I had in making telephonic contact with GWI office in Region 3. I had to ask the secretary of the CEO in Georgetown to help. This was last year. Since then the bill comes back every month with the same $5,000 debt. He has given up and I have given up. Que sera, sera – whatever will be. This is Guyana.
I joined the UG staff in 1986 where I saw the atrocious washroom conditions. On Monday, May 20, 2019, I heard Christopher Ram say that in the Department of Law, the washrooms are nonexistent. Let me remind you that Ram made that assertion 29 years after I saw the same horror show at UG.
I came back in 1984 from studies abroad and took up residence in the Georgetown ward I was born into – Wortmanville. All the alleyways in Wortmanville were clogged up then and looked like a jungle. All the alleyways in Wortmanville in 2019 are in the identical state.
This is one in the countless columns I have done in my 31-year-old media career on Independence; it is only natural to look at Guyana on the day of the anniversary of its Independence. When I look back at those commentaries, I see an unchanging country. You cannot help wondering what has happened during those 53 years.
After 53 years, a country has to move from a lower level to higher levels of development.
My wife is living proof of what I am about to write. After my daughter went to Europe to study, the first correspondence she sent to us, she mentioned how easy it was to get things done. And she contrasted the bureaucracy at her current university with what she experienced at UG. This is where the young people must demand a higher civilization in this country.
Why does a young man that needs a birth certificate to improve his chances of life have to beg someone to help him get it? Why does a young person who is given time off from her unreasonable boss to renew her driver’s licence have to spend four hours in a line of a hundred persons? And when she goes back to work, stress takes over her, because of the wrath of her boss? All of this happens in a country where only about 100,000 persons have to interface with the bureaucracy. Come May 2020, will Guyana get a higher civilization?
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