Kaieteur News – I have known the CEO of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) for over 15 years. He is a likeable person. His professional treatment of citizens in any job before he became CEO of CH&PA was of high standard.
My young cousin with three small children and a wife secured a house lot from the state. I took him to the CEO for final settlement and the CEO was his usual competent self. The issue was solved in minutes by the CEO. That was that. A month ago, my cousin called to say the officer that deals with him indicated that his lot is not yet fixed. I knew there was something wrong because the CEO fixed it. There had to be a little error somewhere that could easily be solved by me since I was involved.
The officer’s last name I don’t know since my cousin said in dealing with her since last year, he only knows her by her first name, Gaitree. For one month, I have been trying by phone to contact Gaitree or any other person, I repeat any other person, at the CH&PA. I have been unable to make telephonic contact with CH&PA. Here is my appeal to the President about CH&PA.
I quote from my column titled, “I am urging President Ali to try this experiment” of Wednesday, September 8, 2021: “Here is a little piece of advice for President Ali. It will work and it will open his eyes to the radical overhaul he has to make to this country. Take one of the subordinates in his office, put him/her in a room with a telephone and tell him/her to try for one hour each day to get through to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA). I am telling the president that young man or young lady will not get through after one month’s try. How do I know that? Because I tried the experiment. I called just before I started this article here. Guyana has to move on. We cannot go on like this. Do something Mr. President. I am willing to help.”
I wrote that appeal to the President nine week ago. Just to speak to Ms. Gaitree, on an issue that would take maybe two minutes, I drove down to CH&PA to meet this lady. There were no parking three blocks east and west of the CH&PA. I turned into Hadfield Street, Werk-en-Rust and almost had my car struck by a heavy-duty truck.
My cousin and I waited outside the office of Ms. Gaitree. The female orderly outside her office said she was somewhere in the building. This could take hours so I left my cousin and went all over a three-level building looking for this lady, I ran into a former student and asked her for Gaitree.
My student telephoned Gaitree, she answered. Gaitree was in her office. My student took me to Gaitree’s office. Gaitree is a self-assured person but so am I, so a clash was inevitable. I told her it was unconscionable for me to drive from Turkeyen just to get a response from her that would take two minutes. I told her I was trying for a month and I left messages and with my mobile number.
Much to my amazement, Gaitree asked me if I was questioning her competence when the issue at hand was my suffering. I emphatically stated that her competence was not the subject but what I had to go through to see her. Her cell phone was on her desk, I asked for the number. She said she has my mobile number and she lifted two pieces of paper to show me she had it.
When she showed me her number, I said, “so you got my messages but never called.” Gaitree said to me, “I was about to call you.” The tiny mistake was cleared up in less than three minutes. That could have been done on the phone.
Imagine if my situation was replicated in a resident of Mahaica. That person would have had to travel way down to Georgetown for a matter that takes three minutes to resolve. So, in the space of nine weeks, I have written two columns about the impossibility of talking to anyone by phone at the CH&PA. Not to remind you this is a large country.
It appears to me that Gaitree is a hard-working, busy public servant. I believe this. She is not the problem. The problem is the system. My cousin went back the next day (Wednesday) as instructed. At 9AM he was at the CH&PA. At 3PM, he called to say he was still waiting. I spent my entire life fighting for Guyana’s improvement. I am tired.
(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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