(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 13 Oct 2005)
According to an article in Stabroek News last Tuesday, President Jagdeo is cutting through more red tape by freeing up over $50 million to take care of those nasty sewers. Although there is still no word yet on whether flowers will be planted in place of the sewage, as I suggested last week, this is a monumental step.
So great is this step that, being the sceptic that I am, it begs the question, “Why now”? Why fix those sewers now? They have been overflowing and stinking up the city for decades and after 13 years in office, the President has yet to do anything about it.
Could it be the upcoming election has motivated the PPP to let go of its purse strings a little and make some grand gestures to impress the people? Maybe this is how they plan to keep the hearts of the people – they are going to buy our affection.
Within the last year, the roads have improved and the airport is looking real spiffy. The initial stages of the long awaited Berbice Bridge are supposedly underway too (although I truly have serious doubts that anything substantial will really develop between now and election time, but I guess we can always hope for the best).
All of this generosity AND new sewers too! Maybe Guyana should change its Constitution to have an election every two or three years so we can see this kind of progress on a regular basis instead of as a treat bestowed on the country every blue moon.
The best part of this announcement was that after 13 years in office, President Jagdeo has decided that "If the city looks good, I look good as President of the country." I suppose that would work in the other direction as well, that if the city looks bad then he looks bad. If so, then His Excellency is in need of a major makeover.
If we are going to draw a parallel between how good/bad the President looks with how good/bad the city looks, then we are going to need add a whole team of plastic surgeons to the government’s payroll.
We’re not talking about the speedy type of makeover that you get from your girlfriend right before an important event. This is going to require the type of massive makeovers you see on the television when surgery is involved, fat is sucked out, dangly things are tucked and pinned, botox is injected and lots of implants are strategically inserted.
There would be lots of lifts in the right places, enhancements and reductions as needed and lasers would be blazing for all of those ugly blemishes. This type of makeover would entail very long words like rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, liposuction and liposculpture. Lots of time would be needed for healing and maybe, just maybe, the end result will be something that resembles normalcy.
I guess it all has to start somewhere though, and those repulsive sewers are the perfect place to start. Evidently the council was moving far too slow for the President, so he decided to start this face-lift right away by circumventing the bureaucracy and just putting the money where it needed to go. If only someone would have thought of that a decade ago!
I was reminiscing with some older Guyanese this past weekend who talked about how beautiful things use to be way back when. Gesturing with her hands to demonstrate the splendor of trees and paved walkways, my mother-in-law told me for the umpteenth time about how picturesque Main Street was back in the day.
How many times has this story been told by one generation to another? How many times have our hearts ached for the return of this beauty? Even now, my heart aches to think of how much Guyana has to offer its citizens and the world – if only.
If only the economy was thriving. If only the PNC was not power-hungry when in office. If only racism wasn’t a justification or an instigation for crime. If only the road to Brazil was already built. If only…the sewers could last another 50 years, then we could use that PPP treat to pay the police enough to catch the drug lords.
I’m not trying to belittle the sewer makeover; I just think that if election time were not around the corner then the sewers would continue to be neglected. I may be wrong, but history does seem to prove that I am indeed right.
So I say we milk this for all we can! Let’s try to get as much out of the government as we can between now and the election next year. Maybe we could get some of the litter cleaned off the streets or some paint to spruce things up here and there. Maybe we even could sweet-talk them into a real big treat like additional traffic lights to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely.
Gosh, there are a million things we could try to get out of the government in the next few months. And why not? After all, if the city looks good, then the President looks good – and we all want the President to look good, right? Because making the President look good is the most important issue in Guyana right now…right?