Away from Guyanese stress Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
June 21, 2002

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"Guyanese" stress? So who says there is a particular type, category or variety of stress which could be labelled as stress peculiar to Guyana? Perhaps I'll develop this later.

The truth is I've been granted an editorial time-out by an understanding editor, who, in these troublous, headline-making, newspaper-selling, stressful times, is himself adept at avoiding stress and its consequences. And two relatively pleasant circumstances have dictated that I organise the briefest of respites - at some distance from my Big Blighted Beautiful land - during which this "record-breaking" column must be sustained.

As I mentioned in the introductory paragraph above, life, for the poorer working-class Guyanese especially, is overbearingly stressful from the time you awake at some hour in the morning. It's no fun doing this, but imagine this worst-case scenario: You awaken and get out of bed to begin cooking at five in the morning. But you're greeted with the inevitable black-out, power-cut or outage, (take your pick of electricity load-shedding terms). You are resigned to this generation-long fate but silently angry and, yes, stressed out early in the day. If the telephone works because all circuits "are not busy", you make a few calls before realizing that early-morning showers have left your bridge and roadway under water. The rain is O.K., even welcome. It's just City Council neglect and lack of drainage.

The other Guyana hassles are actually "normal, routine": transportation in small buses, poor customer-service but high prices; long stressful queues at hospitals, public utilities and occasional water-shortages and the regular pot-holed or muddy roads and dams to access residences. These latter are "expected". We have learnt to handle or live with them.

But, my Lord, the crime and the terror, the murders and the menace. These new additions to our stress-friendly environment along and within our coastal communities are frightening, life-threatening. The fears, the uncertainties and, alas, the hopelessness now inform too many timid lives. And we don't deserve this.

I was obliged to take a few days off from our very own type of stress. As I've done in years past however, I frown upon, even as I appreciate the reason for some stress-making activities I'm experiencing in a developed but frantic metropole. There is the sprinting for the trains, the increased security scrutiny and checks and yes, the jitters over job-security and finding accommodation. And you can add to that list the usual, more "pleasant" stresses and strains related to keeping fit and keeping up with the few Joneses left.

Whilst it's reasonable to expect most folks to "prefer" the "overseas stresses" - rich people's diseases, frequent medical tests, fast cars and the half-hourly bad-tidings T.V. - as against our fearsome problem now producing sick, retarded minds, I still recommend counting our few blessings. We in Guyana - up until this scourge of murderous crime - still have fresh, unpolluted air, enough produce to stave off starvation and simply lots and lots of space!

So far too we've avoided situations akin to the Middle East, Rwanda, India-Pakistan, Colombia and those war-torn, battle-weary places. Please, let's opt for peace, not conflict (PNC?)

The Fentys - and bin Laden

Pardon me for personalising this item but accept the levity - along with the serious undertones. Whatever happened to Osama bin Laden - America's and peace-loving people's "most wanted"? Recall that I was substantially, if not overwhelmingly pro-America in the aftermath of September 11. Well, I still am even though I had cause to be mighty upset - sometimes in a jocular mode - with the consequences of the bin Laden/Al Qaeda/anti-terrorist hunt, world-wide. The security measures, in part.

Now over the past month or so, one daughter, merrily pregnant, left Guyana on vacation. Her tummy caused minor suspicion. Forget about "delicate condition". In that dreadful beautiful Trinidad airport - no radiation from sensors, but body-patting to ensure that it was indeed a baby, and not a bomb.

Then a second girl-child of mine did not make it to the U.S.A. from Toronto even though she is a full-fledged Canadian citizen.

Why? Because the Americans say that many, many years ago she had "overstayed" her welcome in their land of the free. Increased security, because of Mr bin Laden, you see. Quite reasonable, quite expected. Especially from Canadian borders, as some September terrorists did actually cross through them on their nasty missions. My poor girl though, did not and does not intend to bomb or do any harm to a neighbouring land she admires.

Me? Well, I was just miffed, the other day, over those show-off Trinidadians and their better airport/security facilities. Passengers passing through have to repeat all they did elsewhere. Guess that the American have more confidence that evil mischief-makers would be detected quicker - or better - by the Trinis than by, say, poor Guyanese airport, underpaid, over-worked officials.

Fires' pon bin Laden and what he has caused me, my children and the entire world - dependent upon America - recently.

Peace, not conflict (PNC)

1) Really, I prefer the abbreviation and its positive meaning, much more than the one sent to me two weeks ago - Protecting Notorious Criminals.

2) 2) Poor Police Protest! (PPP) - Perhaps my Commissioner should point out: (a) deportees being dumped upon his jurisdiction, (b) prisoners being charged just to escape justice by a seemingly accused-friendly justice-system, (c) the number of rogues that were former soldiers as against former police and (d) police putting lives on the line to apprehend and get convicted, criminals, who escape a leaky prison system.

3) 3) Famous Guyanese Lloyd Luckhoo and B.O Adams passed on recently. What recognition?

4) 4) World Cup Football, bets next Friday.

'Til next week!