Saturday, February 07, 2009

Just the Little Things

Peter R. Ramsaroop, MBAChairman, Vision Guyana


Over the last year, we have come to understand the plight of the Air Traffic Controllers, from low pay, unsanitary toilets and poor working conditions. The Union has done a great job in bringing these to the attention of the employer who in this case is the Government.
Not one of us can say that their demands are uncalled for. We too would have wanted our back pay and proper toilets and working conditions. Because of the limited staff in this field, it puts a strain on the others when one is sick or out for any given time. The bottom line here is that we must treat our people better.

Look at the tremendous job they do every day. Even with the limited equipment, they bring in our families as safe as they can to Guyana.

I felt the pain this week when I went to the airport at 4am only to be told that the flight will be at 11.30. I did not get upset because I support the call of the air traffic controllers.
The Minister’s decision to terminate is the same tactic of forcing the citizens into submission through fear. The Minister drives around in his nice 4 X 4 and has numerous staff and equipment at his disposal, so he doesn’t care of what others must go through. He doesn’t feel our pain.

The Little ThingsMany of us every day come up with ways to improve our nation. If only someone would ask our opinion; if only instead of the government coming and meet with the village leaders, they will come and ask us the citizens; if only when the government holds its propaganda TV shows on NCN, the hosts will allow us to call in. Why are they so afraid of the ordinary citizens?

Example of the little things that can make our lives better:

1. We may not be able to afford a four-lane highway all the way to the Airport, but we can make passing lanes every few miles where there is a wider stretch. That will cut down on accidents and make for a smoother ride. In addition, all the road turns were removed in Mahaica, Unity and Mahaicony. Why not do the same on the East Bank Road, which sees much more traffic everyday to the airport and where our visitors must use to come to the city.

2. From 7am to 9am rush hour traffic, no trucks should be allowed to drive on the East Bank Road into the City. Many workers are late for work or have to get up early due to the heavy congestions.

3. Move maintenance of roads and drains to the local communities. Hire local residents to maintain their drains and fix their roads. They will do a better job. You tell me, if I was hired to clean the drains in Bel Air, and after I cleaned it today tomorrow it is full with trash, don’t you think that person will know which resident did it? Empower us. We will prove we can do it better.

4. Instead of giving out plant seeds to everyone that comes and asks for it, why not give out one type of seed to each community. So for example, one community will plant peppers, one will plant tomatoes, not a case of everyone trying to plant everything which then causes everyone to try to sell the same produce at the market.

What if we open a farmer’s market in every community, where the residents get to buy right there instead of coming all the way town? That should immediately reduce the cost for the produce since there are limited transportation costs.

5. The overcrowding in jail is because our laws need to change. One ends up in jail without any bail for months for petty crimes. I know of one individual that was accused for taking drugs into the prison. He was held in jail for three months, on the fact that someone said they saw him. A year later there has been no trial.

6. It would be great to use some of the excess VAT money to help feed our needy school children. Many of them go to school hungry.

7. I have advocated for years to use some of the excess VAT money for free school transportation. It would be nice to hear the Minister say he will do that versus firing of the only few air traffic controllers we have in the country which will basically shut off all air transportation.


I am sure you can add to this list of the little things we can do better to make our lives better off. We can together make a difference in each other’s lives. We need our government to get on the bandwagon of good, versus always at us. We need them to listen instead of telling us what they will do.

We are the people paying for the government jobs. Yes Minister Benn, you only exist because we are paying your salary, and we want to terminate you too. Our roads are a mess in the villages and nothing has been done in decades. Maybe you are trying to keep the President from returning.

The Government has proven to be the worst employer in Guyana. We must get away from all the talk and get to action. Together we will make Guyana better. Join in the voices of Guyanese everywhere and be counted.

Until next time “Roop”

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