Sports, tourism and security
By Donald Sinclair
Guyana Chronicle
February 8, 2003

Related Links: Articles on crime
Letters Menu Archival Menu

The pain this nation feels demands nothing less
of our political leaders than joint approaches and
shared visions and responsibilities.

ONE of the more ominous items that appeared in the media recently was an announcement about concerns regarding safety in relation to the upcoming Australian cricket tour. A letter-writer just about the same time posed a question regarding the appropriateness of this year's Mash celebration, bearing in mind the pervasive pain that now afflicts so many. The two concerns are not unrelated and they both point to deep soul-searching questions that must engage the minds of officials, policy-makers and the populace at large. During a recent Sports Tourism promotion in the USA, a similar concern surfaced, as was indeed expected.

The first level of response involves an honest and sober assessment of security matters in the state at present. Such an honest assessment is unlikely to bring comfort to any assessor. After the assessment bold initiatives should follow -- parallel and simultaneous initiatives on a number of fronts, political, religious and strategic. On the political front, thinking and action need to be innovative, ground-breaking: going beyond the traditional hardened and stubborn positions that may have been useful in another era of our history. The pain this nation feels demands nothing less of our political leaders than joint approaches and shared visions and responsibilities.

Continuation of the present trends in crime will see no winners on any side and the image of Guyana as a nasty, brutish place will be further consolidated in the minds of all -- both locally and overseas. The persistence of that image will pose huge challenges for any initiatives aimed at attracting foreign external investment or visitors. We in Guyana know that, media images apart, there is much more to life at home than murder and mayhem. We are aware of the thousand creative and constructive actions and initiatives occurring on a daily basis in our lives.

Unfortunately the dominant image abroad derives more from the mayhem than from any knowledge of those constructive deeds and for many in the Guyana Diaspora there is no other reality. In fact, one of the most moving and touching media cameos last week that reached far and wide was the image of a woman kneeling before the cenotaph, her hands raised to the heavens, beseeching an urgent divine intervention to bring an immediate end to the season of brutal killings.

So our Sports authorities, festival organisers and Tourism planners have their work cut out. As one Tourism scholar remarked: "In the travel business, perception is reality."

Site Meter