Jan 01, 2018  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

 Readers of this column would know, by constant repetition, I go to the Georgetown sea wall each day with my dog. They would know also I composed an entire column on the vendors’ complaints that Minister Patterson has given orders for their removal (see my column of November. 14, 2017) and have made several references to that edict since.

Several of these vendors who are refusing to move have repeatedly told me that to spite them, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure turns off the lights after 6 PM and because of that there is a huge decrease in attendance on the wall thus, reduced patronage. One gentleman who goes to the area with his grandchildren to use the paid trampoline service also spoke to me about the darkness of the area.

Last Saturday was my birthday. That night my wife and I were supposed to dine at Grand Coastal Inn. But Albert Cromwell got in the way. Cromwell came to my home and delivered his invitation asking me to make a special effort to attend his wedding reception at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC).

freddie-kissoon-300x273There was no choice. If I stay alive, I can go to Grand Coastal next year with my wife. But Cromwell’s wedding event may never come again.  I touched down at DCC at 7PM only to find the place deserted. I asked a person who was driving away if they have a wedding reception there but he said he was connected to the club and didn’t know about that although he thinks something is going on at the upper level.

I went to the upper level, the place was decorated but only four persons were there. Through a phone call I found out that the bride, groom and guest were at Independence Arch having photo snaps.

I decided to visit the Georgetown seawall to ascertain for myself what was taking place with the lights. The place is virtually uninhabitable for both vendors and visitors at night. The entire vicinity from the trampoline area opposite the living quarters of the Tactical Service Unit of the police force right down to the Kitty pump station is enveloped in darkness. You cannot do vending in such a condition.  Children cannot enjoy the beach front milieu in that kind of situation.

Some vendors, especially the ones opposite the DPP’s office, came up to me and implored that I write about it. They all claimed it was vindictive action by Minister David Patterson who they accused of being behind the drive to move them. I was enjoying myself at the wedding event when Minister Patterson came in and sat next to me. His food was served first and I took a patty out of his plate. I was in two minds – do I observe protocol and avoid politics or do I raise what the vendors had said to me about him just twenty minutes ago?

I think how we perceive life and our resulting attitudes tend to change as we get older. I am not, and have never been an adherent of protocol. I think it is derived from my shambolic upbringing on D’Urban Street, Wortmanville and it is buried deep in my character. I have earned countless enemies in this country because of bad protocol habits.  But I am strongly guided by the need to respect the rights of others.

Minister Patterson was entitled to go to a wedding reception, drink his beer, talk to attendees, enjoy the ambience without being burdened with the sermons of politics.  So I avoided asking him if the decision to render the Georgetown seawall an area of darkness was his.

I don’t know if the Minister is behind the move but the lights should go on after six in the evenings. Maybe the vendors think it is Patterson because of his edict to have them removed. Maybe the lights are just not working. They haven’t been working for almost six months now on the street where I live.

On the Railway Embankment from Sheriff Street to Giftland Mall, the lamps have died. If you are a regular reader of this column you would know I have done countless commentaries on vanishing street lights in the vicinity where I live.

I have absolutely no more intellectual energy to continue on that topic. Some patterns of negative life are unchanging in Guyana so why continue to carp on them. We are into a new year and I could have started with calls for things to change in 2018 but there is still time left for me to do that; I hope.