…our mental angst
Guyana’s a tormented place in more ways than one. Shall we count the ways? Heading the list has to be the torment inflicted on half of the population every time a general election rolls around!! And since torment can be inter-generational, there’s the 28 years of hell that eventually the entire country had to endure when Burnham decided to rule as a dictator to satisfy his megalomaniac cravings. Just when we though our crippling by the British after they took over from the Dutch would be alleviated at “independence”, we had our own Kurtz, who took us back into “The horror! The Horror”!!
Political horror sometimes can lead to improvement – as we saw in China after Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” – which led to famines with up to 55 million deaths – the greatest famine in human history. With us, things got so bad that even bread was banned!! While famine didn’t actually stalk the land under Burnham, hunger and rampant crime certainly did. Can you imagine the impact of the mental state of our people – especially the victims? It caused half of them to flee to other shores – and left the PPP to clean up the mess.
The pressures and the terror forced our people to fragment into individual pieces – bereft of the comfort of social ties, as it became “every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost”. Want to know what’s “alienation” – just talk to Guyanese!! Absolutely no connection to one’s fellow man. The negative reactions reinforced each other until the entire society was sick.
And we’re brought to the team from Columbia University that’s going to tackle the biggest symptom of our national mental breakdown – suicide.
Now, four decades after the 1978 mass suicide at Jonestown gave us the notoriety of having the largest number of people taking their lives at one time – NINE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN – we earned the dubious “honour” of becoming the country with THE HIGHEST RATE OF SUICIDE in the world!! Imagine that…Guyana, with less than a million people, at the top of the world rankings for suicide with 44 per hundred thousand!! Even Haiti – the poorest country in the hemisphere – having no Government to speak of, and being ruled by gangs – scores at 10/100,000.
Over the years, there’s been a whole lot of handwringing about the tragedy – not to mention every wannabe Beauty Queen taking it up as her “cause”! But for every step forward, there’s been two backward!! Meaning we’re still neck deep in our tragic mess. So, are we now gonna he saved by the three-staged Columbia intervention? Your Eyewitness would be satisfied with even some improvement – but he ain’t too optimistic.
Where’s the commitment from the powers-that-be?
Back when Burnham was “moulding” our destiny – straight into the bottomless pits! – he promised to “feed, house and clothe” the nation. We ended up hungry, homeless and nekked!! And his acolytes still talk about his “vision”!! More like a “nightmare”? Anyhow, as your Eyewitness mentioned above, the PPP tried cleaning up this mess after 1992, and provided up to 30,000 house lots with basic infrastructure.
There was no question there were all sorts of hurdles for the next step of building houses, but gradually – at least 20,000 homes were built – the largest housing programme in the British Caribbean!! When the PNC-as-APNU coalition came into office – with all the fat talk they had – your Eyewitness would like to know whether they handed out even 1000 house lots, much less 100 houses!! Wankers!!
With the PPP back, in only a year-and-a-half, they’ve already given out 9000 house lots!! And worked with banks and NBS to offer low-interest loans!!
Homes sprouting up like mushrooms!!
Your Eyewitness is chuffed that retired Assistant Commissioners of Police
Paul Slowe and Clinton Conway are supporting the present Commissioner of Police on trying to raise the integrity-quotient of the GPF.
But what were they doing when THEY were inside?