Response to Dr Tara Singh

Dear Editor,
It was no surprise to see Dr. Tara Singh making sure that he replied to my letter. My words have really struck some nerves.
ALL Guyana/anyone with an iota of conscience would be filled with emotions at the wanton and needless death of 20 young souls. Regardless of what anyone says, it is difficult to avoid emotions, preconceived biases, and perhaps a touch of distortion from seeping into our work/psyche. If our lives were run only on the basis of data, logic, and inference, the human species would not have survived to this day, would it? (Read the strange but real-life story of Phineas Gage, neuroscience’s most famous patient, and you will understand my point.)
But Dr. Singh implies that it is not the “benchwarmers in parliament” who are responsible for what happened to those 20 kids. Why then do we have these people wasting our taxpayers’ money, warming the seats of Parliament even as they and their near and dear ones revel in extreme privileges while these young kids could not even enjoy a proper/safe dorm to sleep in? None of those that sit in Parliament presently own Guyana, nor did their family (even if some seriously seem to behave as they do, imho).
Dr. Singh says that holding the Head of State responsible for the lives/welfare of each of those 20 dead kids in particular, and all of Guyana’s children, is: “I can discern Ms. Sahadeo’s subliminal remarks here.” Subliminal? Surely you jest, Dr. Singh. Or are you just being plain obtuse? And he does not seem to register that it is both the Government and Opposition that I hold accountable for this great tragedy.
It is mind-blowing that Dr. Singh implies that a President is NOT responsible for the welfare of every citizen, more so its kids. Can he explain, then, why we have a President? Is it to cook, feed, fetch, and carry/load planes? Guyana does not need a labourer in the State House/Office of the President, we need an administrator to run the country, so that we will not have a single child’s life snuffed out PREMATURELY, much less 20 at one GO.(I am not knocking any labourer, in case he jumps on this; though from the way this lot in present-day Parliament is operating or not operating, we may be better off with labourers in Government).
I HAVE A SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTION: WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT AND ITS APPROPRIATE AGENCIES not ensure that the dorm was not a fire disaster waiting to happen when they were warned it was so by the Fire Dept?
Where is the Minister of Amerindian Affairs? Does she visit her constituencies? Surely, if she had visited that particular dorm, she would have noticed that it was unsafe in event of a fire?
And then there are Cabinet meetings, where issues are supposed to be discussed. My late uncle was at one time the Scribe to Mrs. Jagan’s Cabinet, and he made it a point to bring up/include topics that are affecting the ordinary folks (Mrs Jagan gave him a specific office to meet regular folks with problems, then when she left office, this position was cancelled by her successor).
Dr. Singh does not live in Guyana, he was not an investigator to know the details of this disaster, yet he took it upon himself to write about something he was not an authority on, and then chastise the rest of us who have been carrying the grief of those families who have empty spaces in their hearts forever. If, as he says, he wrote based on the facts available at the time, and his letter is devoid of emotions, how did he see a “silver lining?” The data at his disposal did not permit such an inference. How did he arrive at that conclusion? Is he a clairvoyant?
His unwarranted conclusion does not support his view that his letter is based on data and reason. I believe that, had his intention been kindness and empathy, he won’t have used an insensitive metaphor; he would tell the families and those grieving to NOT LOSE HOPE, which is plain English. But to say that there is a “silver lining” to be had from this tragedy…what on Earth do you mean, Dr. Singh? Again, explain coherently in simple English.
NOTHING can replace a life, in case Dr. Singh does not know. He should go and tell those grieving families about “silver linings” and see what he would get. I can remember when Ministers of the Government went to see the families at Lusignan the day after the massacre. The local television station was live and all of us were looking, and we saw when one of the Ministers (he is still one today) was slapped in the face; people even spat on others. Such was the anger and grief of the people.
I saw young Indian girls burning tyres in the streets to protest, and a huge wave of people marching towards Georgetown. I saw when that car came and stopped them by the Triumph Pumping Station, and I saw who it was that came out and told them to turn back and go home.
Dr. Singh left Guyana a long time ago, and went to seek betterment in other lands. He must have forgotten what life is like in Guyana. Intermittent Sewa does not make one aware of the angst and sufferings of the ordinary people, else he would not have chastised anyone in the first place.
Lastly, FROM A VEDIC/HINDU STANDPOINT, Sewa is part and parcel of our Dharma, and to boast of what one has done negates the very essence of Sewa. And as the saying goes, charity does begin at home, if he knows what I mean. My father died 30 years ago, and a day does not pass when I do not miss/grieve for my beloved parent. Wouldn’t your child grieve when you are gone one day, Dr. Singh? Much less those parents and siblings right now, merely days after losing their loved one in such a horrendous manner.
Imagine the horror of those kids as they were trapped in that death trap, Dr. Singh. Take a moment and put yourself in their shoes for just a millisecond, and then tell me if all of us are not justified in our grief and anger.
As for the rest of the rambling questions Dr. Singh asked me, I say look in the mirror and ask yourself; if you cannot find the answers, then put them in chronological order, and I will seek to answer them. As it is, your letter is too convoluted to answer in one go.
As I was about to hit the ‘send’ key, the S.N. piece on the U.N.I.C.E.F. report popped up. Well, Dr. Singh, what say you now? The “blood” of 20 innocent young souls stains whose and whose hands now? You and your idols can pass the buck as much as you want, Karma does not differentiate — which you, as a Hindu, should be well aware of. (Maybe you can edify your idols at Robb Street on Karma Phala.)
And finally, “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly”: Mahatma Gandhi.

Yours truly,
N Sahadeo