Guyana Chronicle
November 28, 2002

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As we countdown to the Festive Season, and a new year, we must all take stock of some of the things that we do and, more importantly, don’t do.

These things, if approached with due care and consideration, can contribute to our own human development and promote a better civility.

Guyana needs this as the fresh air we breathe. We must dispel the notion, now abroad, that we are a nation of unruly people. Every Christmas time we look for excuses, however small, to march, terrorise, shutdown business and, invariably, to burn. And we say that we do so out of care for workers, and for political constituents.

It doesn’t matter if, by what we do, others suffer.

But this compulsive and insensitive behaviour is not limited to the labour or political domain. We see it displayed everywhere, and by ordinary folks, to whom these questions should be addressed.

Why, for example, should mini-bus drivers toot their horns incessantly in a Silent Zone outside the Victoria Law Courts? Is it necessary for every bus to do violence to the peace and quiet in our foremost hall of justice as if no one cares?

Why no policeman has ever been seen at this arena of marketplace-type noise nuisance to enforce the Silent Zone?

We could well imagine High Court judges cupping their palms to their ears to hear lawyers and witnesses during trial, and jurors leaning forward to hear proceedings that are drowned out by the noise from the bus park.

The Chief Justice has spoken out with vehemence against this nuisance, but is the Traffic Chief or anyone else in authority listening?

Why do we have so many mini-buses stopping at will, suddenly, to pick up passengers, even at intersections with traffic lights or just in the middle of the road, unmindful of traffic behind them?

Why do so many persons negotiate pedestrian crossings without looking at on-coming traffic? Why so many others ignore these areas designated for safe crossings.

These are but only a few questions that beg for answers as we commute daily on our roads, and endure the lack of care that is fast becoming a Guyanese sub-culture.

The answers, of course, ultimately lie in stricter law enforcement. But the law can hardly deal with the impulses of the human mind. It is a selfish, sometimes reckless, state of mind that creates the maddening hunt for passengers outside the law courts that requires the use of deafening horns. It is the selfish zeal of the person who steps on a pedestrian crossing in the face of a vehicle while silently regurgitating like a mantra a contemptuous refrain, “Hit me if you have guts!”

The question of what is correct civic behaviour has attracted countless sermons on moral rectitude from many persons in high places. Yet we carry on as if we do not care.

We see this carelessness assuming the shape of foul-mouthed television talk-show hosts, attacking with apparent impunity the character of citizens. We see the paranoid obsession of this specie of public personalities with creating race-hate, and raising rebellion in the land.

If we care for the welfare of others, then we would desist from doing things that are repugnant to proper conduct and that could do harm to our country and her reputation.

In this festive season, our wish is that all citizens, high and low, must show some care. It is this care that would help shape the respect amongst us as brothers and sisters of a common Guyanese family.

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