The modernisation of Guyana


THERE is a creole saying in Guyana: “never see come fuh see.” It applies to situation where something that did not happen before, suddenly happens. It is like the passenger bridges at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), which did not exist until a few months ago.

No longer would passengers be subjected to the weather on either boarding or disembarking international flights. But when the APNU +AFC coalition embarked on modernisation of the CJIA, there was a hue and a cry that much money was being spent on the project. A certain section of the media described the works at the airport as a “repair” or “renovation” job, costing US $150 million.

Now that the use of the brand new air bridges has been suspended to do reinforced concreted foundation for the heavy structures, there is another hue and a cry that the service has been interrupted!

This has been the negative response from a section of political fringe elements to everything good that has happened under this new government. And there are many good things happening simultaneously all over Guyana.

When the new government started to build a huge roundabout at Kitty, there was a hue and a cry that the roundabout would be a “slaughter house”; that there would be tragic accidents as Guyanese did not know how to use the new arrangement for traffic in multi-lanes. No accident has happened there since.

When the coalition started to build the independence arches at Agricola and at Industry, and pedestrian crossings, the negativists complained about traffic inconvenience. The same complaint was raised when bridges were renovated along the Railway Embankment road, and the new four-lane roads on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara were under construction. You get the feeling that nothing new is appreciated.

But this is not the view of most Guyanese who welcome with gratitude and enthusiasm every street and road lamp, solar energy at work places and offices, new traffic lights and cameras at intersections, and the many improvements in every village, in all the country’s 10 regions!

Guyanese who have never seen progress in fast internet connections, radio broadcasting in the hinterland and flights to some 60 renovated interior aerodromes, have now come to see these. No longer are they shrouded in disbelief to see the many essential services they could have never accessed in the past, coming to their communities.

For communities that now enjoy potable water supplies for the first time they are not ruffled if the service is cut off for a few hours, or even for a day. The same could be said about those who enjoy electricity, the supply of which is not yet what it should be, but is now more reliable.

We are a grateful nation, and in spite of the prophets of doom, most Guyanese do appreciate good and new services and are not discouraged when certain services are temporarily down. It is a small price to pay for progress!