Liquor is being sold on the seawall
Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News
February 5, 2007

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When he is finished shredding the reputation of Dr. Cheddi Jagan, I hope that Uncle Freddie would agree to do a lecture tour of New York .

There are many Guyanese in New York who I am told eagerly look forward to reading his articles in the Kaieteur News and would love to hear him in person explain the dilemmas of Guyanese politics.

While the publisher of this newspaper has been made aware of the request to have Uncle Freddie on tour, I thought that I should personally communicate this request to Uncle Freddie and so I went looking for him on the Georgetown Seawall. I did not find him but what I discovered was a disaster zone.

The Georgetown Seawall was supposed to have been one of the prime attractions of the coastal belt and especially the capital city. However, it is filthy and unkempt, a national disgrace.

I can no longer take seriously anything anyone says about Guyana being ready for Cricket World Cup 2007. If by now the Georgetown Seawall has not been spruced, then I cannot but see how it can be anything but a national embarrassment come next month when the tourists begin to arrive in their droves.

Is the Georgetown Seawall one of the places that we are going to showcase? I should think not.

That area is a horror story. As you walk along what should be the beachfront, the area is marked off by tons of plastic bottles and rags sticking out from the stand, debris no doubt washed ashore during the high tides. At one stage, I thought that the Georgetown Seawall had become a collection point for recyclable plastic. All along the shoreline, heaps of plastic bottles could be found.

I wonder when was the last time that the President of Guyana took a walk on the Georgetown Seawall. He always seems to be in a hurry when he is touring places and thus I am sure that even if he paid a visit to the Seawall he would miss the mess.

But why does it need the Head-of-State to ensure that this area is cleaned up? Where are the authorities under whose jurisdiction the area falls? Should they not have been aware of the terrible situation existing there?

As you walk along the shoreline when the tide is out you are greeted by the nauseating smell of human excrement, a sure signal that you should check your sneakers every time you mash something soft on the beach.

The area is also overgrown with weeds and while you can walk on the beachfront unhindered all the way from the Bandstand to the jetty, as you approach the latter, you believe that you are in some jungle.

I was told that at one time there were squatters living in the area. How such a travesty was allowed to happen is beyond comprehension. And while the shacks have been dismantled, I am quite sure that there are makeshift tents within the bushes. The entire area needs to be leveled and the many boats under construction on the western extremity of the seawall need to be removed.

As you walk along that long concrete strip that leads from the Bandstand Area to what used to be the roundhouse, you have to contort your body to avoid being run over by non-motorised go-carts which are rented out to the children. Believe me, it is only a matter of time before modern technology takes over.

This area is no longer a place to relax. It is no longer a serene environment. Apart from the carts, there is a huge trampoline on which children are bouncing up and down. Then there are the many food booths right at the entrance to this strip, an invitation to indulge even before you can find a seat.

And of course there is the blaring of music from heaven knows where. I heard the music but could not tell where it was coming from. Why would anyone wish to drown out the natural sound of the sea?

I could not resist a bite. I enjoyed it but, to my utter shock, also noticed that apart from sodas, there are vendors who are selling beers and liquor. Can you imagine that liquor is being sold on the Georgetown Seawall?

The greatest tragedy of all is, however, the Round House which lies just behind the Pegasus Hotel. I am told that many years ago a group of Seawall lovers and fans raised a huge sum of money to rebuild the old Round House which had gone into a state of neglect.

The Round House was rebuilt and in order to ensure that it was not converted into a home for vagrants, padlocks were placed on the doors.

Well, the locks are still on the doors which are shut tight. Except that a great cavity has emerged on the seaward side of the Round House and this serves as an entrance and exit for the vagrants who inhabit this facility. What a waste of good money that this should have been allowed to happen?

It seems to me that the Georgetown Seawall is a good example of this country's inability to appreciate the management, effort and attitude that is required to ensure that public facilities and attractions are kept in a condition that would make them appealing to visitors.

If by this week there is no plan to clean up the entire area west of the Bandstand, I would urge the authorities to close off the present area because, as it is at present constituted, it is a disaster zone.

I wonder how Uncle Freddie missed this decline of an area that he claims he loves to frequent. Must be that he is concentrating too much on the flaws of the Mahatma of Guyana .