No one will come here with the present state of lawlessness

Stabroek News
July 3, 2001

Dear Editor,

With all due respect, who is the Rip van Winkle that wrote the editorial [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] captioned "In search of skills" (26.6.2001) in which a positive immigration policy is proposed. Does the writer not know why there is such a dearth of skilled people left in Guyana? You propose a 'point system' like Canada's? My suggestion is to give anyone who wants to come here a million points. What difference would it make? To put things in perspective, skilled people do not remain in Guyana because they cannot live comfortably here, there is no financial security, neither is one safe at home or on the street. Yes, there is a lot more, but financial considerations and personal safety are foremost.

When will the Government of the day see it fit to pay public servants a living wage? I personally do not want to hear that it was worse under the PNC. The PNC have been out of power since 1992, an eternity as far as I am concerned and enough time for the present government to have made things better. The PPP was elected to the highest office in the land with great expectations which, I am sorry to say, have not materialized. The PPP are good at enumerating their projects, they build schools and hospitals and health centres, but they do not tell us that there are not enough teachers or nurses to put in these buildings.

They want to know why teachers and nurses leave Guyana? Because they can earn a living wage elsewhere. Simple.

Why is our Minister of Health focusing so much energy on second hand smoke? That is a preoccupation of first world countries. Not 10th world countries like Guyana. We need to focus on maternal and child nutrition, if nothing else. For anyone who read the recent article [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] in Stabroek News on the overcrowded, insanitary conditions of the present paediatric ward, the furnace as it is so rightly called, there is no need to further. Let us start paying attention to the children of Guyana. They are the future. When will we wake up and realize this?

Why does the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Police make it so difficult for an ordinary citizen to get certificates of fitness for their motor vehicles annually? In Georgetown there are two police stations citizens can go to, between the hours of 8 a.m and 11 a.m., Monday to Friday. Why can we not set up stations all over the city where motorists can go in all day and have certified technicians do this? Do we really need a skilled police officer to do this? In the United States, where I lived for many years, you do not go to a police station for fitness for your motor vehicle! If this obtains in the most civilized, advanced country in the world, can we not emulate them? Can we not try something new? Please?

I am so upset about an incident I witnessed last night that it may very well be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I was coming home at 8:10 p.m. down Wellington street. The street was well lit and there were many people walking towards Regent street. I was thinking to myself how nice that people can still walk at night, maybe they were coming home from the cinema. Then I saw two youths attacking a man, they beat him and they eventually took his wallet. I was numb. I stopped my car in the middle of the road and asked a man on a bicycle if it really was a robbery we were witnessing and he said 'yes, that is why the police have to kill these people', etc. The victim was crying out for help and no one, including me, came to his aid. I am so ashamed of myself. What kind of society do we live in when we are not willing to aid a fellow man. I can rationalise the situation and say I am a woman and I would have been attacked if I had come to the man's rescue, but that does not exonerate me. I am deeply ashamed. You know, I have had many patients with fractures of the face who have told me of being attacked and robbed at night, going home from their jobs. I saw for myself last night. The youths took the man's wallet and just sauntered off. They were clearly visible to all. They made no attempt to hide their faces or to run away.

Why is there not a police presence at night on the streets of Georgetown, especially near the cinemas? Is it because too many of them are too busy giving tickets to mini bus drivers or supervising fitness for motor vehicles? Let us try to protect innocent citizens from attacks, please Mr Commissioner.

I can go on and on, like the majority of hard working Guyanese, but our pleas fall on deaf ears. The government has lost sight of a vision for Guyana, if one ever existed. There is no hope for this country. There is no silver lining. Maybe it is time to pack up and leave.

Yours faithfully,
Jennifer Bulkan