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The garbage in Georgetown is piling up again. Those who remember Georgetown during the days when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was in government, this will come as no surprise. Georgetown is the capital of Guyana and once internationally famed as the GardenCity given its tree-lined avenues, roadways and cleanliness. Georgetown is the seat of Central Government, diplomatic organisations, and Guyana’s major trading port.
From a political point of view, Georgetown is a major stronghold of the People’s National Congress/Reform, the major party in the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change Coalition. It is because of this numerical strength the political blinkered and small minded will revel in returning the city to infamy as the Garbage City.
This publication carried a story of City Mayor, Pandit Ubraj Narine, addressing the garbage problem and the scheme the central government has put in place to make a bad situation worse. He talked about Minister of Local Government, Nigel Dharamlall, promised to give the City Council $100 million, to assist with garbage contractors for the end of 2020, which was never fulfilled.
Mayor Narine further stated that, “The dumping started with the Ministry of Public Works not the Mayor and City Council. That cemetery road was very clear and clean. Since the PPP took office it started happening again, the city is like a dumpsite. Central government did not come to our rescue.” Many have seen this playbook before and are not surprised by the Ccentral Government’s failure to provide the promised $100 million or refusal to come to the city’s aid in improving the situation.
To the Government it matters not that the President and ministers have to work in Georgetown and traverse through the mounting piles of garbage and the eyesores these have become. It matters not to them because the city is controlled by the Coalition Opposition or those who sit in office don’t know better or cannot envisage better. It matters not to them that the garbage is also a reflection of them and their acceptance, living and working among trash and dirt.
If the leaders in government had a modicum of decency or understand that the garbage could be seen as reflection of their upbringing and political spitefulness they will work with the Georgetown Mayor and City Council to improve the situation. If they were raised to appreciate that throwing garbage around is unbecoming and not a political issue they will collaborate with the City to get the eyesore under control. If they are capable of seeing connection to the garbage as a health hazard and threat to the environment they appreciate the necessity of partnering with the City Council in its solid waste management.
Instead, the government continues to show that not only the wrong people sometimes get the opportunity to govern but add weight to truisms such as ‘you can take the pig out of the mud but not the mud out of the pig’ and ‘hatred has no limits.’ Only spitefulness would cause people to think they are immune from the health hazards that result from poor waste management. Only narrow mindedness would make leaders think their reputation remains intact and hygiene unsuspected. By their deeds they continue to prove their unsuitability to govern in the interest of Guyana and all Guyanese.
Most of the waking hours of the President and ministers are spent commuting to and from work in Georgetown and spending their time in their offices in Georgetown. The fancy high-priced air conditioned vehicles, security and police outriders they drive around in do not spare them the shame of the dirtinessof Georgetown. Georgetown shame is their shame. They are not isolated or immune from the environment and resulting health hazards. Not even when their windows are wind up and they sit in their air conditioned offices. Such arrogance is a representation of primitive not modern-day thinking.
The attitudes of the leaders in government belong to the past when the unimaginative by sheer might governed with brute force and ignorance; when it was not understood and appreciated the threat improper solid waste management posed to the environment and their health. They belong to an era when leaders foolishly think they are isolated from the dirt among them. They belong to the past not the present.