Kaieteur News – A married couple met me as I was coming out the door of the Giftland supermarket last Friday. They said they received an email from the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) about updating their account. One of the requirements is proof of address.
They told me that BNS no longer sends printed statements through the mail. The wife said to me, “Mr. Kissoon they stop sending statements with your address to you but they want paper documents from other places with proof of address; what if those other places have done away with paper statements too?” They also said that the bank is requesting ID card and passport and also birth certificate. She said, “Why birth certificate if you have to produce ID and passport?” Obviously, she’s right.
I replied, “Madam, I understand your frustration but as a daily columnist, I have penned literally thousands of columns lamenting sad and grievous wrongs done to people in this country, at my age, tiredness is stepping in.” The husband chimed in, “but Mr. Kissoon, it is because you are a daily columnist you should write about these things” to which I responded by offering them one of the most absurd manifestations of what a deranged society this is. I have mentioned this manifestation in previous columns.
My bank account is jointly owned by me, my wife and daughter. For renewal of information each year, in keeping with the anti- money laundering legislation that very bank would require proof of address. But do you know how it sent periodic statement before I protested? This is how it was addressed to us, “Frederick Kissoon et al.”
It did not contain the names of my wife and daughter. Now if my daughter goes to another institution and it asks for proof of address how can she give them a document that says, “Frederick Kissoon et al”? Where is her proof of address? As I stepped into my car, my wife with an intestinal smile intoned, “but you will write about it.”
Well here it is. As they got into their car, it suddenly dawned on me that I should use the most tragic example to underscore what a barren wilderness this country is, and my hope is that Dr. Irfaan Ali could bring it to life and leave an everlasting legacy.
That example is why the most caricatured election result could have occurred only in Guyana. In Africa and Central America, there are some countries that are poor and unstable but our five-month election insanity would not have occurred in any such country; it could only have happened in Guyana. When you have a society that is dystopian, shambolic, Dostoyevskian, Kafkaesque, Mephistophelian and Faustian like Guyana, then it was a logical place for that election circus to have taken place.
This country cries out for wrongs to be righted and it is the fervent hope of many that the creation of energy, spirit and humanity that confronted the indignities of the five-month election saga would usher in as fast as possible the instinct of empathy in all Guyanese so that the banality of violation of people’s rights that no one cares about will quickly vanish. And I am not talking about state violations. I am talking about rights that are violated on a daily basis by all types and all spheres in Guyana. I am not talking about the government and its organs. I have in mind, upper class people, employers, financial houses like the commercial banks, private institutions of all kinds, etc.
I have kept the details of the title of this column for the end for emphasis because I know a majority of people are not aware of it. It is a sad situation in a dead country. Do you know there is a constitutional body in this country named the Human Rights Commission yet it doesn’t exist? It came into being eleven years ago together with the Rights of the Child Commission but it has never gone beyond paper. The Jagdeo, Ramotar and Granger presidencies never devoted one second of attention to bringing this institution into existence.
In this country with a small population, it is incredible and beyond belief that so many violations take place so often.
Can the presidency of Dr. Irfaan Ali make a difference to Guyana? We have tried seven executive presidents and all have failed this nation on the creation of a modern, psychologically stable society. People live sad, reserved, resigned lives in this land because no one comes to their rescue. I hope Dr. Ali shows up on their doorstep. I will work with him without salary to remove the ghosts that haunt this nation.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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