The expression ‘sanctity of the contract’ has become common verbiage to oil up all things Guyanese. Now comes the dire need for ‘sanctity of office’ for all ministers and officials of gov’t. Taking an oath of office to serve, protect and uphold the Constitution envisages great responsibilities and integrity; ingredients sadly lacking in the general gamut of this- and the previous- administration. We are not dealing in semantics and negotiations, rather, the lives Guyana’s poor are now in Titus’s coliseum. (Titus was the Roman emperor from 79 to 81 CE (Vesuvius erupted in 79) who built the coliseum and derived pleasure in gladiators fighting to death.
There is existing danger that pervades Guyana: unsafe buildings waiting to claim lives. Look around the Capital and its suburbs, where half the population reside and you will witness (1) overcrowding of dwellings (2) unsafe electric wiring (3) parking encumbrances (4) garbage pile up and rotting (5) poor and unclean un-clean water supply (6) traffic bottlenecks that result in hundreds of thousands of lost work hours (7) sub-standard (Chinese) electric fittings and equipment and a litany of trashy, unkempt properties. A journey on the East Bank road from the Airport to the Capital is littered with narrow turns, overladen trucks, uncovered sand that impedes free flow of traffic and pitiful eyesores of abandoned and unsafe properties.
Almost every public building like schools, ministries and offices have pitiful safety standards regarding fire safety. The Brickdam Police Station, where17 prisoners were burnt to death 2 years ago bears ample testimony to this phenomenon. Extinguishers are either non-existent or non-functional while the absence of fire hoses and sand buckets compounds the dangers of the working environment; not to mention that absence of warning alarm systems, like a simple bell, which are conspicuously missing!
It is prudent to ask: When was the last time any ministry or school undertaken a fire drill? The answer stares you in the face as such exercises are not deemed necessary in 57 years of Independence. The ministers attach half the alphabet behind their names yet not a single one performs with any semblance of alacrity to educate all persons who work in both public and private sectors to be cognizant with the five primary methods that are employed worldwide in cases of fire. The acronym RACEE aptly depicts this: R=Rescue anyone in immediate danger, A= Alarm-Call the fire department, C= confine the smoke/fire by closing doors and windows, E=Evacuate all persons, E= Extinguish small fires with portable fire extinguishers. Peoples’ lives at stake here and this matter are definitely not negotiable.
Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine
Real Estate Builder