Kaieteur News – My daughter was away in London living on the campus of a prominent British university for 14 months and each day, she would speak to her mom and she would email me. You get a compelling sense of how young people feel about Guyana when they describe for you their experience of living in a developed country.
When she was leaving, my daughter completed all her student/visa application processes without any hassle. She got her student visa without encountering a problem. Our only burden was the negative experience at the commercial banks in Guyana. Our daughter informed us that she opened up her account in London without any trouble.
In her daily contact with us, our daughter would tell about bureaucratic procedures in London that is vastly different from her country of birth. She said the immigration officer took her documents, stamped it without a question and she was out of the airport. Why he did that? Because the man knew that she was cleared to visit London because the questions he needed to ask were already answered during the application for a student visa.
What is the point I am getting at? In living in the world, humans expect that the powers that control their lives make living easy. That is the point of living. People do not expect the men and women who have authority over society to hassle them or oppress them with regressive and repressive bureaucracy. Humans believe that when they come into this world and they have a right to be treated fairly and nicely because that is what life is about.
The population of a country wants to see their leaders do good things for them and to stop whatever moral, legal and existential pressures, which they endure that are unnecessary. This expectation exists in every country but in Guyana, it is bitterly dashed because since the colonials left, our leaders who succeeded the White oppressor have not been different in their thinking than that very White oppressor. Did you see on the television news how the police were killing non-violent oppressors? They were just shooting into the crowds massacring protestors.
I remember the president of the country, David Granger, denouncing the edict that currently bans women from wearing tops and dresses that are sleeveless. This was carried in a large headline in the Chronicle. Months after, I saw brand new signs of that edicts being put up at several schools including of all places, a tertiary institution, Cyril Potters’ College of Education. Nothing has changed in the courts and other public places since Granger spoke because Granger and the state he presided over did nothing to change that outdated custom. In Jamaica, that edict has been removed.
Recently, there was a press release from the Bank of Guyana (BoG) directing commercial banks to relax the unreasonable demands they impose on customers, especially with regards to proof of address. That release came in late 2020. Do you know a former executive with the Alliance For Change, Leonard Craig, wrote a letter in the newspaper in 2013 describing the horror show he experienced at one commercial bank that refused three types of proof of address and they were from government institutions.
Where were the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Guyana when Craig informed Guyana of this ancient nonsense that should never have existed in the 21st century? The answer is that they were right here in Guyana. But in Guyana, no one in authority wants to show they are different from the White oppressor who we hated when they ruled over us.
There is a study about migration from Guyana that has just been released and is making the news. It was done by the prestigious American research institution, Centre for Strategic and International Studies. It paints a sad, gloomy, maudlin and tragic story of a lonely country going nowhere fast. It describes migration from Guyana as one of the highest in the world. I believe per capita, we have the highest in the world.
I walk my dog all over Georgetown and as I look at the young people dining at Giftland Mall and shopping at Massy supermarket (I walk my dog at both places because I live nearby), my heart bleeds for them. I watch intensely at them while I listen to the voice of Andrea Bocelli soothing my soul and I wonder ‘when they will leave?’ There are times I want to go up to them and ask ‘what is it in Guyana they would like to see change?’ I know the answer. They want a modern Guyana where leadership removes the ancient things that depress them.
(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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