Kaieteur News – There is no philosopher from ancient time right up to the present 21st century who has argued that the action of humans can be accepted if they infringe the rights of others. Rights sit on an absolute foundation.
The three controversial philosophers in this context were Plato from ancient Greece, the Englishman, Thomas Hobbes from the 17th century and the German Karl Marx from the 19th century. German thinker, Sir Karl Popper in his philosophical magnum opus, “The Open Society and Its Enemies, “took Plato and Marx to task for advocating the entitlement of rights for rulers that are superior to the citizenry.
Since Popper wrote his masterpiece in 1945, there have been formidable criticisms of his treatment of Marx and Plato. Here is where one must understand context. Popper wrote his treatise in 1945 after the second most terrible episode in history after slavery – the Second World War – where closed societies like Germany caused the war.
Popper was eager to show that leaders of closed society saw values in the way Plato and Marx arranged a society of higher and lower humans. After reading Plato and Marx deeply and extensively and the critics of Popper, I think Popper did not interpret the Greek philosopher and German thinker properly. Hobbes is often criticised for placing all the rights with the absolute leader. This is misleading. A careful reading of Hobbes showed that he advocated the removal of the Leviathan if the absolute leader violated the social contract.
I use this philosophical outlay to describe and analyze what is taking place on the Georgetown sea wall from Camp Road at Eve Leary to the Kitty roundabout. This is a special place inside the heart of Guyana and it is dying. If dedicated Guyanese do not stop it, it will be gone sooner than later.
The late founder of the Stabroek News, David DeCaires once noted that the Georgetown seawall is the only place in the world where an ocean runs through the capital city of a country. I don’t know if he is right. I haven’t gotten the travel experience of Mr. DeCaires. I remember telling a former manager of GuySuCo, Kirk Douglas who lives close to my home, about what DeCaires observed. He told me from his extensive travels, DeCaires may be right.
The Georgetown seawall from Camp Road to the Kitty roundabout the past three years is completely overrun by people drinking and sporting. It is impossible to use the seawall road going east or west. The vehicles park in the middle of the roadway. What goes on each afternoon on the seawall can be likened to Easter fun on the beaches. The Easter fun is once a year. The seawall thing is daily.
The music is load and vulgar, the alcohol flows like the incoming waves. Don’t dare ask a driver blocking your pathway to move. You may be insulted senselessly. Why you would want children to be walking there? All of this takes place in a unique part of Guyana where the aesthetics should be cherished by every citizen and all incoming generations.
Gone are the days when young lovers can sit on the wall from Camp Road to the pump station; when families can spend time on the wall with their dog roaming nearby; when older couples could relax there and take in the Atlantic freshness. Let me be pellucid – the Atlantic between Camp Road and the Kitty pump station has been lost not only to nature-lovers but to people who want to use that site for mental comfort, exercise and jogging.
Years ago, I would come from work at UG, around 9 PM, and park there and listen to my car stereo before going home. One night, at around the same time, I saw a pensive Raphael Trotman leisurely walking going west. Maybe he had a lot on his mind. He, you and I cannot do that any longer. The Georgetown seawall is lost to Guyanese who do not party every afternoon.
The Georgetown seawall should not be converted into a daily Bacchanalian park. It is a vulgar contradiction when you think of it – a lovely part of a country where people can go for mental relaxation and aesthetic experience is now a drinking spot. The governmental leaders of any country would not allow that. I roamed that seawall as a young lad of 10 years until this very day. But gone are the evenings when you could go there and contemplate the mighty Atlantic. I know this is a young country and I fervently believe people should be allowed to enjoy themselves after work and on weekends on the beaches. But not at the Georgetown seawall. (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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