I’m not one to seek favours here in Guyana. Favours here are generally a “lil sumting” to grease the palm. It is grafting or bribery to help speed up business through the labyrinthine processes that I firmly believe are created to frustrate, wear down, and tire out those accessing essential services.
This frustration, I also believe, is what lends to the corruption that is endemic to the system and Guyana as whole. Many of the instruments that manage, staff, and access the public agencies are complicit in making it what it is.
No one wants to wait an inordinate length of time to conduct the simplest business transaction. Businesses that should be a 15-minute turnaround get tied up and bogged down in archaic processes, and while strides are made to alleviate issues of access and improved efficiency, those who are entrenched in the system seem to work counter-intuitively and/or for their own gain.
What system works like this?
I went to the Licensing Office at Camp and Lamaha on Monday, April 4th, for a simple vehicle licence. It is now Saturday and I still don’t have it. On Monday last, I was given a lodgment receipt and assurances that it would be ready the next day. On the subsequent days, I was told to return the next day and the next day and the next day.
On Thursday I called GRA, and a young man told me that it would be ready by 1:00pm on Friday, April 8. At just after 1:30pm access was restricted, the gates were closing, and I was made to understand that the office closes early on Fridays.
What country functions like this? It frets me – rather, it angers me – that it takes forever and more to do simple business in Guyana. How in heaven’s name do these public agencies expect someone to travel from the Corentyne or Essequibo or any far-flung area of the country to Georgetown, only to be told to come back tomorrow and the next day and the next day?
There has to be change. There has to be a cultural shift in the various public agencies, with emphasis on professionalism, business etiquette, quality of service, and the integrity of the system. Guyana can never be the country we dream of unless these diseases that plague the system are eradicated.