Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – It is a struggle this week to find the positive, the little lights that encourage amidst the disturbing developments. I leave alone the heaviness that comes from specifics of a violent serial sexual predator around, cash for political cronies, and continuing oil dodges by governing leaders. I sift through our situations to gather the few encouragements around.
A thrill came from the announcement from the Hon. Minister of Social Protection, Dr. Vindya Persaud, that arrangements are in place, so that those who need help in our society will feel the benefit of helping faces, and helping voices and presences when they come with nothing and looking for something to ease their agonies.
Those that come to government offices usually have nothing and nobody. The poor, the strapped, and the elderly most of the time have no connections to call for some influential intervention in their struggles. They have no standing before anyone; and when citizens are trapped in such circumstances, and come to government offices with their hands outstretched, they are neither given the highest priority nor treated with the best courtesy. For these reasons, I was delighted to read that the Hon. Minister of Social Protection installed Boards of Guardians for the Fort Wellington and Mahaicony communities. These boards have responsibility to interact with members of the public, who have nowhere else to turn. To quote, Minister Persaud, “we have to learn how to speak with them when they come to us for help.”
As we all know, brush off or chilly reception is more the norm. I think that this sets a platform on how to make people get back on their feet with dignity. I laud Minister Persaud and her people for this initiative, which I think should be replicated across the country. It can only help, definitely raise standards.
The neighbours who came out in the wake of that horrifying rape development involving a ‘Spanish woman’ were also found to be positive. They spoke out during and in the aftermath of that dangerous individual’s activities, which wreaked havoc on the helpless. As is coming to light, neighbours have been abused or attacked for their efforts. This strengthens the tendency to mind one’s own business and keep to self (not getting involved), while keeping quiet. The situation, however, got so frequent and so unnerving that they could no longer hold their peace. When we all maintain a wall of silence, behind which we shelter, then what we have all done is issue an open invitation for the worst that our society has to offer to do as they please. As we know from long experience the worst can include violent criminals, white-collar public servants, and white hat politicians. When we allow them to get away with murder, it is just a matter of time before we are the next victims. More neighbours should come out and speak out when violence rages in their communities, and more citizens speak up when a different kind of violence is inflicted by leaders (of every stripe and from every cranny) on our society.
Then, there was news that COVID-19 vaccines had arrived, with more on the way. That is most encouraging. By my count, subject to correction, we have a total of 205,000 vaccines to be here shortly, with 3,000 compliments of Barbados, 20,000 from the Chinese, 80,000 as part of India’s vaccine diplomacy, and 102,000 promised by the World Health Organization, which I think is good for that delivery. I thank and commend the Honourable Minister of Health for publicizing how those 102,500 full doses of the vaccine are to be distributed, which started with our frontline workers. That was a good and essential step. Next up is the elderly, as extracted from the pension rolls of the Ministry of Social Protection. It all sounds like a solid plan and a laudable one. My hope is that the actual distribution will be above board and beyond criticism.
(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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