Reconsider travel to Guyana due to crime and COVID-19

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Dear Editor,

I am quietly minding my own business and a ‘Travel Advisory’ arrives compliments of the U.S. Embassy.  It is a double-barreled one titled: “Reconsider travel to Guyana due to crime and COVID-19”.  It should be a cause for much squirming from PPPC Government leaders and loyalists.  As I observe the government’s state with both crime and COVID-19, it is that the former is statistically managed, while the virus has now been relegated to the realm of more of a nuisance than that of a peril.  What is really what here?  Who is closer to local reality?

First, I present a short extract from the Embassy’s Advisory.  It relays that “The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Guyana, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country.”  To reduce to the norm of Guyanese jargon: yuh lie.  Deh lie baad, baad.  But if I have to make a life-and-death choice between what the Hon. Minister of Health has been representing, and this advisory from the Yanks, it is as the other bright fella say, a ‘no brainer.  Sorry, Minister Anthony, yuh lose.  It is not that I am calling the Minister a liar; I merely assert that his marbles are mixed up, since those virus numbers don’t add up.  I think we are, indeed, to use my own words, still high risk.

When we tell people to self-test, when there is no requirement to report results, and when Guyanese treat possible virus symptoms as a case of a ‘baad flu’, then what we have are engineered pandemic numbers.  There is no basis for them.  What might have been moderating risks has now been sabotaged by the Government’s unholy haste to relax protocols in time for Holi festivities; like it did for Christmas, so citizens could intoxicate themselves, while the PPPC Government danced on their heads, through that calculated oil fund bill hurried into law.  These are remarkable examples of a PPPC Government for the people.  Emancipation Day looms next.


Additionally, to convey to the nation that masking is optional and social distancing is dependent on mood (if and when yuh feel like) is the height of governmental and leadership irresponsibility, if not stupidity.  This is endangering, plain and simple.  It would have been better for the Minister, Task Force, and Health Ministry to come right out and announce there is no masking and distancing requirement, than to hedge with this farce about ‘optional.  Be stronger.  I am trying to remember when this authoritarian government and its tyrannical leader(s) have given Guyanese options. The bottom line is that those numbers are hollow and the Minister should know, it does not require mathematical or actuarial logic.  Simple reasoning, Comrade Minister; nothing else.

Numbers and statistics provide a good segue into the U.S. Embassy Advisory’s second component/alarm, which is crime.  According to the Police people, the serious crime numbers are down (like the virus), but here we have the Americans, who know more about Guyana than Government and Guyanese, saying that that may be so, but it is dangerous, as in life threatening.  To PPPC fundamentalists, I agree, but don’t take my word for it.  Instead, please give a hearing-fair and complete-to what the foreigners have put out; don’t cherry-pick, don’t see them as elections muscle only.  The Embassy’s Country Summary presented this: “Violent crime, including murder and armed robbery, is common, especially at night.  Local police often lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”  I say half of that, and it is subversion, agitation, and partisan.  It is malicious, slanderous, and libelous to those sensitive, to light and truth, citizens.

Regardless, the reality is that we have our soothing numbers about improvements, and then we have realities that ordinary Guyanese must deal with daily.  Nightly also.  Government leaders and people say let not your heart be troubled, the outside people say don’t travel.  I close on this note: who do my fellow Guyanese take more seriously?  Who is believed and trusted as more of a source of truth and facts?  Who has earned the right to be seen and deemed as honest, credible, and reliable?  Nobody should ask, because where I stand.  It is not with Government leader, or Health Minister, or any other propagator of recklessness and what is laced with total dereliction of duty.

GHK Lall

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