Appalled by conditions in New Amsterdam
Stabroek News
March 13, 2004

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Dear Editor,

I visited Guyana, my homeland for Xmas. Departure was taken from New York by a Universal Airlines flight, which after changing their departure time from 8 p.m to 11 p.m finally got under way at 3 a.m.

At the time of booking I was told that it was a non stop flight. However this turned out not to be as the flight stopped in Trinidad. The meals on the flight to Guyana were not up to standard. On the menu was a choice of chicken or fish. I chose chicken. Upon receiving the serving, I removed the aluminium foil covering same and seeing what it looked like, decided to return same.

The presentation was very bad. As I looked around, I saw other passengers with the same reaction as, as a matter of fact the person that was sitting next to me stated that the taste of the food was disgraceful.

On arriving in Guyana at 11.45 a.m., and proceeding to the city, I was very impressed with the beauty of the buildings, the repairs to the bridges, and from what I saw Georgetown really looked great.

On arriving at Rosignol (as I hail from the ancient county) the ferry service was very frustrating. I heard that the building of a bridge will commence shortly, and that was good news. This time I hope it will be a reality, as I have been hearing that since I was a child and that happens to be a lot of years ago. Now in the ancient county, and happy to have arrived at home after the gloomy experiences of the past day, my disappointment and frustrations were heightened as the realities struck home.

The streets are in a horrible condition. Praises must be given to the citizens for the immaculate condition in which they have kept their buildings despite the hardship they are facing, a true sense of civic pride which Berbicians are known to possess.

The municipality should be ashamed of the deteriorating condition of the city, which at present has garbage strewn on the streets to be burnt by the citizens. There are cows parading the streets both day and night, not to mention the intermingling of pigs with the garbage (dirty diapers and sanitary napkins). Not to disregard the flies, mosquitoes and most of all the obnoxious smell that is lingering in the city.

I was told that considering the economic situation of the country, the taxes levied are very high and an additional burden to the poor citizens. On discussing my observations with some of the citizens, I was told that the abattoir is infested with maggots, flies and is so filthy that no sane person would want to eat the meat slaughtered there. What is the municipality doing about this situation? Aren't they ashamed to be called representatives of New Amsterdam? Where is their self pride? It is only a matter of time before there will be a serious outbreak of either malaria, typhoid or some other disease which will be a catastrophe.

During my brief stay, I took a trip to the Corentyne coast. From the time I crossed over the ferry bridge which spans the Canje Creek, there was a pronounced difference. At first I thought that I was in another country. The air was so fresh, the cleanliness of the streets throughout that region was so noticeable that one could not help commenting. Guess those responsible for New Amsterdam could certainly learn something from those on the Corentyne coast.

As far as my memory serves me, New Amsterdam up to 20 years ago was never in such a deplorable state. Those members of the Municipality be they Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Councillor or otherwise, take some pride in your Municipality. Do not be just a square peg filling a round hole, do something about this situation. Either shape up or get out and give others a chance.

After such a disappointing stay, I departed for New York with the same airline that I went to Guyana with. Again, after cancellation of the departure time, the breakfast served was no different in nature from the meals served on the flight to Guyana. The flight attendants, who were not responsible for what was served, were abused by some of the more irate passengers. The scrambled eggs, sausages and fried cassava were horrible in both taste and preparation. No coffee or tea was offered, and when I did request a cup of tea, I was served with cold tea (not ice tea), cold tea. Had I wanted iced tea I would have requested that.

Shape up and do right Universal, as the travelling public are talking and complaining. Be professional and do not only look for the monetary gains. Service is important.

Yours faithfully,

S. Wynter

Editor's note:

We sent a copy of this letter to Mayor Claude Henry of the New Amsterdam Mayor and City Council for any comments he might wish to make. There has been no response.