Sunday, December 04, 2005

Stella Says…Please Deliver This Message To The President

(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 04 Dec 2005)

Dear President Jagdeo,

I am quite sure that a man in your position probably does not have the time to waste on a mere peon as myself, so I will not bother you with a request to accompany me on a shopping trip like Khemraj Ramjattan or to request your presence the next time Freddie and I get our groove on. We do so love to dance.

However, I have a very important matter that needs your immediate attention so I decided to sit down at my desk this morning to pen you this letter. I believe it vital to maintain an open channel for communication and this seemed like the most expedient way to deliver my message to someone who is as busy as I am sure you are.

I did plan on contacting you while you were in the States a few weeks ago to see if you would do me the pleasure of accompanying my husband and me to dinner. I am in the DC area (did you know that?) and I am very sure you were staying no more than just a few miles from my home while in town.

However, life quickly became quite busy for me and you were well on your way back to Guyana before I had the opportunity to extend this invitation. Perhaps on your next visit I can treat you to one of the many wonderful eateries in the area? I think we would have so much to talk about.

If you don’t mind, Mr. President, I would like to jump right into the gist of my letter now. I simply cannot express in words how disappointed I am about the fact that Georgetown flooded again this week. I truly did believe that when, in dramatic fashion, you provided the money to fix the drainage problem there would be no more flooding.

I was warned by others not take that whole “horse and pony show” seriously, but I so wanted to believe that you cared about the people. I am usually a very good judge of character, but it seems that I may have missed the boat when it comes to you – your Excellency, Sir.

I even wrote a column praising you and your party for taking the initiative to do something about this problem. Now I am forced to eat my words and I have to face the jeers of those who warned me not to believe the drainage system was actually being fixed.

I’m sure Freddie is gloating and saying, “I told you so” because I had thought you to be a caring President who was going to keep the streets dry. I just hate it when he wins an argument. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I would rather eat a raw fish than to admit he is right.

However, as much as I like to save face, this letter is not about sparring with Freddie. I can take care of myself in a debate with the likes of Mr. Kissoon and his seat-hogging friends. This letter is about the people whose homes and businesses are once again in a deluge of water.

A friend of mine, Bryan Mackintosh, is a wonderful photographer. He put up some photos on his Website of the flooding this week and I barely stand to look at them. Right there it was though; Main Street was under water. How can the stores in the city possibly keep up with their losses if they have to deal with flooding every rainy season?

Bryan’s photos showed cars trying to drive through the water too. When I think about how hard it is for the average person to get a car in Guyana, it seems so unfair to see that these cars then have to drive through all of this water. Don’t you agree, Mr. President?

When you doled out the money to clean up the sewers, you said, "If the city looks good, I look good as President of the country." I know I gave you a hard time about this statement when you said it, but don’t be too upset – it’s my job to point out the obvious. As such, I am once again left to wonder how good you look this week.

Don’t worry, I won’t offer to get you some new shoes and a shave (it seems Khemraj is still sporting that blasted beard), but it does seem that it will be very difficult for you to look good when the nation’s capital is covered in water – again.

The word on the street is that you are upset with the Mayor and City Council over this whole flooding situation. I am sure they should be severely reprimanded, if not investigated. I do wonder what happened to that $50M if the sewers did not get fixed, which it would seem they did not. Does this mean another nice home will be going up in Pradoville?

In any case, the buck stops with you, Mr. President, and it was your job – as the one who promised progress – to make sure this job got done, and that it was done properly. Surely you have an established procedure to review the ongoing progress of any construction or maintenance project going on in the country at any given time?

In other words, you promised the country that something would be done and did not follow through. This is very disappointing and, if I may be so bold, very irritating. It is highly frustrating for me and I am sitting in a house that is high and dry. I can’t even imagine how exasperated the people feel – the people you serve.

Mr. President, I know you have Smart and Sharp Robert Persaud (who has been touting his new MBA acronym after his name like Peter likes to do) to help you with Public Relations situations like this, but I would like to offer just a tiny bit of advice if you don’t mind. It is not a good thing for the PPP to have flooding (again) only a few months before elections. I’m sure you already knew that, but again it is my job to point out the obvious.

Thank you ever so much for allowing me to air my grievances on this subject. We really should get together for dinner one day soon, okay? I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and please give my best to Robert Persaud, MBA and the rest of your Cabinet and staff.

Best Regards,
Stella Ramsaroop

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