Grappling with …mental health 

Your Eyewitness is quite pleased we’re now discussing “mental health” in Guyana rather than complaining about “mad people” – as we’d been doing for hundreds of years!! It’s not for nothing everyone used to refer to the “Berbice Mad House”, which was supposed to deal with the aforesaid “demented” folks. In fact, the location of the “Mad House” – with its OFFICIAL name being the “LUNATIC ASYLUM” not helping any!! – in Berbice allowed wags in the rest of the country to snicker that all Berbicians were MAD!!
Anyhow, Monday was “World Mental Health Day” – with the theme, “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority”. But have we in Guyana really accepted that “mental health” is just as critical to our well-being as “bodily health”?? Your Eyewitness doesn’t think so. No one gives a second thought when folks talk about visiting doctors, clinics or hospitals, but just mention – if you’re VERY brave – that you gotta check out a psychiatrist or psychologist!! From then on, all you’ll be getting are side glances from folks who’ve suddenly become very wary when you’re around!!
And yes…your Eyewitness is speaking with authority from personal experience!! As when he’s “feeling down, wearing a frown” – but dare not tell even his buddies, who’re insisting they engage in the national pastime of habituating rum shops!! Even if they want to be kind, at best they’ll cackle that Eyewitness has “gone mental”!! Officially, according to the Health Ministry, 20% of Guyanese suffer from one form of mental illness or other. But your Eyewitness thinks the figure is more like NINETY PERCENT – since just living in Guyana has to drive almost everyone bonkers!!
Have you driven a car in Guyana recently?? Walked around the Stabroek Market Square at ANYTIME – or around Georgetown after any elections since 1992?? Listened to some of these provocateurs on social media?? Used a minibus when you have a headache?? Or used a minibus – period??
Not to mention the post-traumatic stress disorder from the horrors of slavery and indentureship inflicted on 90% of our ancestors that’s been passed on to us. And that’s why your Eyewitness – whose wife who never fails to roll her eyes – gotta get his daily regular fix of beer after work!! But seriously, folks, your Eyewitness is pleased the Government  now sees “mental health” as a “public health” issue to deal with. They’ve decriminalised suicide attempts and are making the umpteenth attempt to grapple with suicide.
They can also do well by starting with those street dwellers who inhabit the pavements of Georgetown and display obvious neurotic symptoms. They’ll be removing threats to pedestrians while helping them.
And yes…the mental is as critical as the physical.

…oil challenges
Back to the “modular” oil refinery for which the Government has asked for “expressions of interest” (EoIs). Now back in 2019 – even BEFORE oil was shipped – a local rice magnate had announced he could build a 30,000bpd one for only US$100 million!! He even announced he’d locate it at Linden. Your Eyewitness was then puzzled as to why Linden – since that’d mean extra shipping costs on a congested river!! But he figured the fella just wanted to sweeten the deal for the PNC – then in power!! The PNC didn’t bite.
Now that the present Government has accepted the notion, your Eyewitness just googled what it’d cost for such a “modular” refinery. He discovered that the SIMPLIEST such refinery – dubbed a “topping refinery” – which would merely distil off diesel, fuel oil, kerosene, AGO, LPG or asphalt, but without total refining capacity to produce gasoline, would cost at least US$200 million!!
That’s DOUBLE the fella’s projection – and we still wouldn’t be getting gasoline for our cars!! Gotta move on!!

…the Demerara crossing
It was a stroke of fortune that the crash into the DHB happened on a long weekend. Your Eyewitness thinks this is most likely an act of sabotage and expects the authorities to conduct a full investigation!!