Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mother recounts horrible tale of sexually-molested child

Reposted from

The mother of the five year- old girl from Berbice who was raped earlier this week said her daughter is in stable condition at the Intensive Care Unit of a Berbice hospital. The mother said that her daughter began responding to relatives, eating regularly and showing encouraging signs of recovery following emergency procedures to save her life last Friday night.

She explained that the profuse bleeding from the child’s genitals has been substantially reduced, and the child seemed to be regaining strength but complains of pain in the abdomen, legs and genitals. Several relatives who showed up to see the young child could not help but register their rage over the atrocity, and called for a speedy and robust investigation into the crime.

The child’s mother recalled the horror of her daughter being taken from her home and sexually molested.

She said on the night in question, she, the child and her two- year- old son were next door at her mother- in- law’s house waiting for her husband, who lives and work as a farmhand in a Caribbean island, to call them for the holidays. The children got impatient, so she took them back to their house, helped them settle on a mattress on the floor, and then returned next door after securing the door from the outside with a ‘ keylie’ [ small piece of wood attached to a post by a nail to secure door or window]. Her eldest daughter, the six- year- old, was spending the night with her maternal grandmother some distance away in the same village.

The mother said she later checked on the children and they were resting where she had left them. Sometime around midnight, she decided to go home having grown tired herself, but to her surprise when she entered the house and looked in on the children, the five- year- old was missing.

Frantic over her daughter’s disappearance, the woman woke up her husband’s relatives and the neighbours, but no one had seen the child. Eventually after much frustration and anxiety, the Reliance Police Station was called to lend support, but to no avail.

“ I called Reliance Police Station … they say, ‘ How long she missing?’; I say ‘ Not too long from now but she is five years old’. They ask me which part I think she gone, I say ‘ Me ain’t know’… they say ‘ Arite report the matter tomorrow morning, if she ain’t come home’… I say ‘ She is a five year- old, I can’t wait fo she come home … I think she sleep walking’.” The search continued with the aid of a light and persons calling out for the child. According to the mother, about several house lots away, in the darkness, in some thick vegetation, she heard the voice of her daughter responding to her call.

The mother said she started to shout out the child’s name and following the response she ran into a very thick clump of vegetation aback the village alone to rescue the child. She stated that the men who were with her were afraid to venture into the bushes, and did not go into them, even though she pleaded with them.

The child was found standing with her clothing intact but drenched in mud and water, not knowing where she was in the darkness.

The child was eventually taken home, cleaned up, and put to bed. All this while she did not complain of pain and the mother felt that she had been walking in her sleep even though that had never happened before.

Sometime after, the child’s father called and the mother related what had happened.

The woman said she then decided to spend the night at her mother- in- law’s house.Subsequently, the child asked to go to the bathroom to urine, and it was then that blood started pouring down her legs. It was at this time they family realised something horrible had happened.

“ I went upstairs, pull down back she pants and put she pun de sponge and me tell she ‘ open you foot easy, let mommy check’ and when I checked she vagina bus up,” the mother related.

While rushing the child to the hospital, the mother questioned her, and she told her about a man throwing her down in the bushes earlier and drenching her in mud and water.

The molested child had to receive an undisclosed amount of blood, and sustained severe physical and emotional scars. The mother related that on Wednesday the child was talking but seemed stressed.

Even though the mother of the child has named someone she suspected may have committed the crime, police said there has been no breakthrough. Police said nine persons were detained, but had to be released due to the lack of credible and substantial evidence to place any charge.

What would you do if this happens to your child?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

GDF, China sign $ 157M accord

Reposted from:

Chief- of- Staff Commodore Gary Best and Chinese Ambassador Yu Wenzhe on Wednesday signed a military aid agreement valued five million Yuan ( G$ 157,032,600).

According to a GDF release, the aid reflects similar assistance provided over the years, geared at enhancing the GDF's defence capabilities. At the simple ceremony, Commodore Best highlighted the good relations which the Guyana Defence Force and the People's Liberation Army of China have enjoyed.

He said the force continues to be grateful for the assistance it has received and pledged commitment to the bilateral arrangements the two militaries share.

Ambassador Yu Wenzhe described the bilateral relationship between the two militaries as excellent, particularly in the areas of training and high- level seminars.

He added that this recent aid is another gesture of friendship and solidarity which Guyana and China enjoy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lalwa is finally Silenced

On this auspicious day, a man who is known as a loud mouth, bully, thief, vagabond, general trouble maker is going to meet his maker. On Saturday 12/10/2011, he lost a long battle with cancer. Some may say he is going to get what is coming to him.

Lalwa is guilty as charged. But the man I know is not the same person. He lived opposite my home in Line Path A. As a little boy growing up, he was always there. There were times he disappeared, those were the times spent in jail. His yard was fertile with mango, cherry, genip, guava, and a coconut tree. Being the “Bad man” he was no kid dared go pick his fruits. I was allowed. Actually, he picked and gave me those fruits. If a kid was accompanied by me, we could raid his trees. He was kind and gentle to many people who lived on our street and fiercely protective of all.

I clearly remembered one incident when there was a group of men going around every night creating havoc and mayhem, stealing peoples belongs. One such night, these men made the dreaded mistake of coming into our yard. Our old dog, Rio, barked his little old head off. Lalwa emerged from his house with his weapon of choice, a cane cutter’s cutlass. He was a one man army. Most of that night was a blur, but when he came back he was covered in blood, not his. Needless to say during the crazy 70s and 80s not a single soul bothered us or anyone on our street ever again.

For his constant vigil over my family and our neighbors I thank him. Today Ram, as was his given name, you depart this earth and you knew this day would come. You have lived your life by your own ways. More people should have gotten to know the side of you that I knew. It has been 22 years since I ate a fruit from your yard, but I will always remember the kindness and protection you bestowed upon me. Rest in Peace my old Protector and friend, rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where is the Guyanese contribution to Corentyne River security?

Suriname deploys anti- piracy squad in Corentyne River
Reposted from GuyanaTimes ePaper 9/21/2011

By Michael Itwaru

In wake of a string of piracy attacks on Guyanese fishermen in the Corentyne River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Surinamese authorities have announced the deploy ment of a special unit in these areas to restore some order.

Last week, pirates at tacked at least seven Guyanese fishing boats off Nieuw Nickerie, and me dia reports said that the men were beaten and re lieved of their catches, out board engines, fuel and personal effects. Piracy off the Suriname and Guyana coasts has always been a source of concern, and on some occasions the pirates go beyond robbery to killing their victims and throwing them overboard.

It’s not the first time Suriname authorities have increased efforts to stem this problem. Pirates caught in Suriname face lengthy jail time, evidenced by the 12- and 14- year sentenc es six Guyanese pirates received in 2009 for attacking a yacht off Suriname.

In July, Kevin ‘ Long Hair’ Narine, a convicted pirate who fled a Guyanese prison, was arrested in Suriname after committing a series of attacks on fishing vessels. Narine and his fel low pirates are still in jail in Suriname awaiting trial.

The fate of five Guyanese fishermen who disappeared near the border in August is still not known. The five left Guyana on August 6 aboard the 52- foot- long Reshma , which was found aban doned, but the men have not been seen since. Law enforcement authorities fear that the men may have been attacked and killed by pirates.

Fishers in Berbice have reacted positively to the news of the Surinamese patrol. However, they are calling on the government of Guyana to match the ef forts of the Surinamese by deploying a similar team to maintain a strong pres ence in Guyana’s fishing grounds, while strengthen ing relations with its Dutchspeaking neighbour to wipe out the high- seas robbery of fishing crews.

Rosignol Fishermen's Co- op Society Chairman Sasenarine Harrinarine, when contacted on Suriname’s move, said it was a very good initiative, noting that it would cre ate an environment of safe ty for fishers to ply their trade in the lucrative fish ing grounds of Suriname.

Harrinarine also called on the Guyana government to respond in kind and set up a similar force to moni tor and patrol Guyanese fishing grounds. He thinks that a stronger security presence is needed day and night out where most of the commercial fishing happens in Guyana. He feels that if Guyana does not replicate the Surinamese action, lo cal fishers would continue to perish at the hands of pi rates who would now lurk in Guyana’s waters await ing fishers returning home.

Rosignol Fishermen Coop Society Treasurer Pooran Persaud stated: “ This is the kind of protection fishers have been calling for years, especially in the wake of re cent brutal attacks on fish ers while out at sea.” He noted that, up to Monday night, a member of the co- op was reportedly confronted by pirates. “ This should have been done a long time ago…. we need rigid patrol and policing of the water,” said Persaud.

He is echoing the calls by Harrinarine for Guyana to deploy a similar unit to spe cifically handle the increase in piracy.

Encouragement Meanwhile, Gansham “ King” Singh, a fisherman from the No 66 Co- op who was injured by pirates in a hijacking incident last Wednesday night, said he welcomed the news. He add ed that it has much encour aged him, because he was very reluctant to return to the trade after his latest ex perience.

Singh explained that the Surinamese routinely patrol the waters where they fish; however, their presence is temporary, and when they leave, the pirates emerge in the dead of night to rob fish ers.

Singh, who has been a fisher for 22 years and is currently a captain, was se verely beaten when he un successfully tried to outrun five pirates.

The bandits eventually seized Singh’s boat and took his crew hostage. He was beaten about the body with pieces of wood and cutlass es, and forced to drive his boat to seek out other fish ing crews which the pirates robbed. Singh sustained a broken left ring finger and internal injuries during the brutal beating, and can not work for the next two or three months as a result.

He is restricted to a bed or hammock. One of his crew members, Arnold Budhoo, sustained a fractured right knee from the same ordeal.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take the extended hand, it may not be there tomorrow.

Guyana gov't not impressed with US Embassy's visiting professor | 2011/07/27/ | Latest

Two conflicting sides of the same situation presented it self in the Guyanese Newspaper yesterday. One newspaper reported that a prominent Guyanese public official was not impressed with the visiting US Political Science professor. While another mentioned the issues he addressed.

The public official did not attack the issues raised but went after the professors credibility. Several comments on both newspapers were for and against the Political Scientist's position. The alarming issue was how many people went after the very accomplished gentleman's credibility. Having read through both newspaper articles both were in agreement reporting the professor's qualifications. So the man was qualified on the subject, but when the argument does not fit he gets put down on credibility?

Does not seem like a fair argument, right? Why not argue the issues? State a reason why the professor's position is irrelevant to Guyana. Not just, he does not know what he is talking about. Why would a Harvard educated political science Ph.D travel to Guyana and talk nonsense? The professor has done this same kind of assessments in many other countries. Don't think they are talking trash to him. The issue here is the clear disregard of another opinion.

Is this the pulse of a nation? There are other reports on newspapers, social media sites, and individuals that indicates the disapproval of "outside" opinions. In a conversation with an "outside" person and a local, the local said, "Man gawn so, you from outside, you naw know nothing about Guyana." People actually feel this way. Is it that there have been too many "outside" people who feels that because they are from a foreign country that they know more than Guyanese? Or are Guyanese feeling that they have heard enough about how bad their country is?

The natural instincts of man is to protect and honor his ways. Continuous reminder of how bad things are and how incorrect everything is done will eventually lead to people feeling dismayed. No one wants to be told how bad things are. Where are the solutions? Show the solutions to the issues, not the issues. It is no secret that there are several systems which can use some adjusting. There are several things that over time have eroded. Whether it is man's faults, nature's fault, or some outer world's misalignment of the stars. Things have gotten off the rails. Everyone knows that. Well, instead of keep pointing out that glaring reality, focus on a solution.

On the other hand, it is okay to listen and take note. Most people who even attempt to engage in any way, have Guyana's best interest at heart. There is absolutely nothing wrong with listening to a different opinion. Agreement or disagreement brings about a healthy civil engagement that may even turn out beneficial. Personal attacks is counter-productive. A new and novel idea when combined with a a tried practice may create a strong deep solution. Why block an idea or theory? At the end of the day "outsiders" will be just that, on the outside. Guyanese living in Guyana will be the ones making the decisions as to which direction they want to take. "Outsiders" can just share their knowledge, passion, and time. So step up and take the hand extended, it may not be there tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Negativity-The Curse of Progress.

Guyana President Wants Regional Good News TV - Caribbean Community Online, Inc./Caribcomm

If we continuously focus on the negative we stifle the positive. All too often as a society we are more focused on the negative rather than promote the positive. We shoot ourselves in the foot and stand in the path of progress.

There was a recent article in the Kaieteur News Paper, where the editor defended their decision to publish graphic images of a gruesome accident. Another article from the same newspaper depicted the slaying of a dog. I fully understand the position of accurately reporting events as they occur, but at whose cost? The victims? There is a very graphic nature of events that occur in Guyana where publishing a story for shock value only serves to give more credibility to heinous actions. What happens to the young impressionable minds who come across these bloody front pages? Wow, look at that. That is so “cruel”. They romanticize the word “cruel”. That is disturbing. From the media this negativity rolls into local communities.

Negativity brews at the local level of municipal development. Recently, a local Chamber of Commerce was attacked by a campaigning party official on a social networking site. There is one thing to run a political campaign about what the current administration is doing wrong and then there is cheering for progress. Without all the facts political mudslinging only paints a nasty picture. The facts show a different image altogether. This particular Chamber of Commerce has been the singular driving force of development for a long time. So even in a political season, why try to discredit where credit is due. Celebrate their success and build on it. Not tear it down. Major organizations trickle to individuals.

Over the past several years there is a growing number of individuals and or groups engaging in Charitable work on a grass root level or online. They are all working to assist and ease the burden of poverty to the less fortunate of Guyana. There are individuals or small groups who gather things amongst themselves and help their immediate family or neighborhoods back home. Then there are larger more organized groups who conduct major fund raising events. There are online forums, lead by individuals or groups of people, who raise awareness and invoke conscious discussions as to situations in various parts of Guyana. All of these good hearted people are supposedly working towards the same goal. Would it not be beneficial if they work in harmony and respect each other, rather than mudsling and block each other’s activities?

It would seem that the norm is to take sides of individuals or groups and then attempt to distort the work of others. How can this bring about any progress? Our society is such that a we show the negative of each other in order to achieve our own positive. Does not seem to make sense, does it? Old wounds from a time gone by, past child hood experiences, past school yard disputes, past work disputes, past rum shop arguments, past bottom house disagreements are rearing its ugly head to hinder progress and success in each other’s effort. Why can’t we put the past behind us, stop the negativity and move forward as a strong force to change and success?

This piece of land that our forefathers banded together and fought so hard for is now being torn apart by us. We, with our negativity, are in the path of progress. All of us should put our differences aside and reach across our yards to our neighbors and hold on. Let us band together to raise our children, as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Let us put our collective minds together to find a way to better educate the youths. Let us reach out with open arms and embrace our brothers and sisters who are too distraught to threat their children with dignity. Let us show compassion and love so the next generation of Guyanese will lift themselves out of this negative state of mind. Of course there are going to be some of us who just will not move. Go away with your negativity and let the ones who are ready to embrace and band together effect change, progress, and success.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Man brutally chopped by stepfather : Kaieteur News

Man brutally chopped by stepfather : Kaieteur News
This is a total blatant disregard of human life. What deep rooted distaste for another person would lead to taking a weapon and brandishing it with an intent to create extreme bodily harm? More so, how can this raw image of bloodiness be spattered all over the front page. Is this celebrated?

Dying child gave horror story of sexual abuse : Kaieteur News

Dying child gave horror story of sexual abuse : Kaieteur News
How many more young lives have to be destroyed before this sick senseless practice will stop? Did this happen in a remote area where no one was around? No. It happened in a community who is now up in arms. Up in arms to whom? Shifting the blame when they know exactly who it is will never stop this. These monsters must know that communities will not only jump up and down after the fact but stand up for their children. Adults, are the protectors. It takes a village to raise a child. Where are the protectors? Hollering about the government. Don't shift blame on to someone else. Naw me job man. Crap! Take responsibility for your children, protect them!

Animal rescue tourism

Animal rescue tourism
The reason that someone like Jason can spend his vacation rescuing animals is that he was brought up that way. The early attention to learning and understanding animals builds a foundation for a society to threat animals humanely. In the US, kids are thought to love and threat animals as part of their family. More than often animals are companions to infants. Adults allow kids to practice bonding, sharing, and caring with animals so that they can acquire and transfer these skills to humans. The way a society treat its animals correlates to the same way they treat their neighbors. Until this fundamental concept of treating animals humanely is realized, the horrific inhumane treatment of animals will continue.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A gut-wrenching day, two decades later : Kaieteur News

A gut-wrenching day, two decades later : Kaieteur News

This is the same story told over and over again by several people. It is not that anyone is pointing a finger or putting Guyana down. On the contrary, while other parts of the world strive to develop, time has stood still on one plot of land while the plot right next to it strives. Startling.

Over the past two decades there has been many great improvements in Guyana. No doubt. But more can be done. The very essence of this society is being neglected. Youths. Extreme poverty in certain areas continue from generations to generations. There are still kids who does not believe in an education or the necessity for schooling. Their parents were never encouraged to develop themselves from their parents and this cycle continues today. If this cycle is not broken soon, an entire generation will turn another cycle for how many more years?

There are more hand outs than Laparkan Shipping and Western Union can handle. When are people going to be given the tools to survive rather than the materials to show off. Why should they work or try to develop their housing schemes when "foreign money a come"? Overseas families partially share this blame.   We work and break our backs to send for our families while they "shake a hammock with a bottle of Stay Home Darling". We are enabling and at the same time tossing the blame on government. In order for this country to develop and stand on it's own, there has to be a fundamental shift in thinking and actions from all sons and daughters of the land. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The necessity of having highly trained teachers

The necessity of having highly trained teachers

On this day as Teacher Madan Kumar is sent to his final resting place, let us all take a moment and reflect on his role in our life. Those of us who were fortunate to be in his class will testify to his passion for teaching and educating. He was a strict and ardent purveyor of knowledge. His colleagues will sing graces of his easy going temperament. His friends will remember a stunner on the cricket field. 

Teacher Madan, you have touched the lives of so many in various ways that we will forever be grateful. Rest in Peace, Sir. Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Canawaima Ferry Stelling from Corriverton to Nickerie.

Canawaima ferry ends 2010 strong
Who remembers when this ferry crossing was just a dream, empty promise, or campaign slogan? Now look at it. A shining beacon which shows that progress is possible.
As a kid living and growing up in Guyana circa 70s and 80s, Road End was as far as we could go. It was either the final turn on a leisure drive with my grandfather or on my bicycle with my friends. I always wondered what was beyond the bush? There was always stories from a local farmer about the raw beauty of Moleson Creek area. There were tales of lawlessness in the marijuana trade. Today, tells a different tale.
What was once only an aspiration has become a reality. The Road End no longer exists. There is now an endless road. A brand spanking new road extends beyond the old Road End. This road goes all the way to the New Canawaima Ferry Stelling and beyond. I am told that the paved road will extend all the way to Orealla, perhaps Brazil? One could only speculate.
Along the road are several farms and cattle rearing activities. Not surprising, there was a small hotel. Clearly this is still an area ripe and ready for development. Although very agricultural in nature I could see many areas of shear bush. This could be the new frontier of growth.
We arrived at the stelling in the late afternoon after the ferry operations had stopped. The gate was closed. A guard informed us that for a nominal entrance fee we could still walk around to see the buildings and grounds. A nominal fee. Wonder where that money was going and how did they account for that? Tourism dollars?
There was a Amerindian cleaning crew busy at work. I have to say these buildings and compound were extremely clean. There was a waiting area outfitted with a small snack counter and several televisions. Restrooms were very clean. The lawn was well trimmed and acute. There definitely was pride in the upkeep if this facility.
A beacon of hope, a shining light to show the way, a structure of pride and joy. This is the fruits of progress. This is how a community rise with glistening glints in their eyes and chest full of pride.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Core Rules of Netiquette -- Excerpted from Netiquette by Virginia Shea --

The Core Rules of Netiquette -- Excerpted from Netiquette by Virginia Shea --

Since this is a new group, we wanted to share this short insightful book with you. As in any social situations we are to conduct ourselves accordingly. Please allow the simple netiquette outlined here to guide our interactions.

Naturally, issues about Guyana are close and dear to all of us. Tempers flare and language gets very colorful. We cannot stress enough the importance of civility, humility, common courtesy, and respect for each other. In as much as this is an open forum where we encourage healthy civil discussions and debate, this is not anyone's personal soap box. We ask that you refrain from personal attacks using derogatory language and names of people.

As in any civilized forum, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate post, up to banning a member from the group. In as much as we want to promote a healthy discussion we also want to provide a safe group for members.

Let's enjoy the Conversation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Honoring Pandit Suresh Sugrim

The Guyana Tri-State Alliance, in collaboration with The Consulate General of the Republic of Guyana, New York and the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations, celebrated Guyana’s 45th Independence anniversary on Wednesday, June 22 with a special evening and appreciation ceremony.
The event, dubbed “A Taste of Guyana”, was held at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, New York. 11201. USA.

Among the recipients of the special honor were community philanthropist Rick Chetram; humanitarian Vibert Bernard; actress and advocate for preservation of Guyanese culture Rose October-Edun; Patrick and Paul Haynes of the Haynes Foundation in Guyana; Ms. Taruna Sardoo — advocate for educating women and children in Guyana and around the globe; Pandit Suresh Sugrim, President of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Humanitarian Mission and champion for the poor and less fortunate of Guyana; Dr. John Mitchell of Health and Education Relief for Guyana (HERG), advocate for family health and prevention of infant mortality; Ngozi Moses, photojournalist of The Washington Post; Nikki Kahn, and Mohamed A Hassim, who have been noted as key figures in keeping the diaspora connected.

Pandit Sugrim was born in Corriverton, Guyana and migrated to the USA in 1980. He settled in Bloomfield, New Jersey and found the New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Humanitarian Mission in 2005. The mission’s current initiatives are:-
  • Assistance to less fortunate children in and out of orphanage care
  • Empowerment to low income working families and single mothers to acquire their own homes
  • Medical care (such as surgery outside of Guyana)
  • Food Vouchers for seniors, battered women and underprivileged children
  • Education Fund for children living in dire poverty
  • Benevolent Home Building Project for seniors, abused and battered women, men, and orphans
  • Helping victims of domestic violence, rape, abuse
During his acceptance speech, Pandit Sugrim applauded the diaspora’s generosity in reaching out and giving freely through various charity events and contributions. He reiterated that without the community’s earnest participation the mission’s initiatives would not be achieved. “I am just the facilitator. This honor is yours,” he said.
The special observance was sponsored by the speaker of the event, Christine C.Quinn, Councilman the Honorable Dr Mathieu Eugene, and the Honorable Marty Markowitz, President of the Brooklyn Borough.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

CNN Heroes - Special Reports from

CNN Heroes - Special Reports from

It is official, Pandit Suresh Sugrim has been nominated for CNN Heroes 2011 for his work with New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Humanitarian Mission and the outreach they do for people in Guyana.

Now we hold our breaths as the selection process gets underway. Cheer him on. Congratulations. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

For Sale--12 year old girl in #78 Village. G$50,000.

Man accused of raping 12-year-old girl; proposes $50,000 to settle matter : Kaieteur News

The landlord is covering for his friend and giving this family a choice of accepting the pay off money or move out. Outrageous! I am not naive to know that there are sick, bad people in this world. They exist everywhere, in the States, Canada, Guyana, EVERYWHERE. In most societies there are laws and organizations whose sole purpose is to put a stop to this and protect the children. However, even the most aggressive securities cannot function without participation of a community. Why would anyone protect these monsters? Ever heard of aiding and abiding? When one helps in the committing or cover up of a criminal act they are as guilty as the actual perpetrator.

Why is it so difficult to enforce the written laws in such a small country? Forget the corruption for a minute. In my dealings with people in a public capacity, in Guyana, there seems to be this order of things are black and white. If the situation does not fit into what they were thought or told then there are no other situations. It is a narrow look at public welfare. It does not seem like anyone thinks outside the box nor are willing, capable, or able to do so. It is either this way or that way and no matter what the other way exists they have no interest in looking at it. The blame has always been given to the police or the government.

Is the government or the police living daily in your village? NO. Why are the locals not standing up for themselves? A village does not grow if they cannot live in harmony. There can be no peace, security, nor stability if neighbors refuse to look out for each other. It starts at the grass roots. There are numerous areas all over Guyana where neighbors are like family. They look out for each other and take care of each other. Most of them have grown up together and their fathers and mothers lived the same way. Some have moved in and grown to respect their neighbors. Why is #78 Village not able to protect their children? All it really takes is eyes and ears. These days every little child and adult has a cell phone, not forgetting a home phone. Why can't they call and report suspicious activities? Why can't a neighbor and another neighbor and another neighbor look into something suspicious? Where is the spirit of community policing gone? Why are they so afraid of each other?

Children can't even go to their parents for help. They have to report to the school teachers. What has happened in the home? Children does not trust their parents? Where is the love, trust, and comfort of a home? This seems to be a trend in #78 Village. Parents are inadequate in protecting and raising their children. Although, there are families who live in harmony and love. I have seen families who spend a lot time together and parents who have a vested interest in their children lives. These are isolated but they do exist. Maybe some work shop on parenting skills would assist these families who are failing to protect and raise another generation.

There needs to be more community partnerships and bonding. Neighbors must come together and look out for each other. Skills must be shared with others who are lacking. Children must be protected and cared for. The authorities has to play a leading role to increasing resources to this village but it is the residents' responsibility to govern their village. Someone had to vote for a mayor. Even if the elections were rigged, some had to let the current officer stay in office. Stand up and reclaim your village or lose it all. Some one from the US can not be allowed to come into #78 Village and rape a 12 year old girl and then offer G$50,000 to shut the family up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Your legacy lives on……

My Facebook inbox blinked 1 message, I checked it, message from my cousin in Guyana my Aunt passed…sigh….here we go again. Did I not just bury an uncle? What the hell is going on?

My aunt is the rock who stabled my uncle through his tumultuous years. During his time of being a “bad man” running around #78 Village with a cutlass drunk off his ass, creating havoc and mischief, she stood by him. She was there for it all. I am sure that there were times when she wanted to leave but she stayed.

When I lived in Guyana, some 21 years ago, I clearly remembered her with 3 little kids in tow, tending to the house and cooking some amazing meals. She always had and offered something to eat. When the big bad man started to get on she would retreat quietly into her house and not come out. Frail and timid but was there for her kids and always with a smile.

During my recent visit, she changed a lot. She was now in charge of her affairs. I am sure that she had the biggest role to play in teaching her big bad husband that life could still be lived in a humble way. She turned him around to being a soft gentle, easy going guy. A man who is not afraid to let his soft side show. This was an amazing turnaround. I am so humbled that she stood by him and worked it through.

Her daughters have grown into beautiful and caring young ladies with families of their own . One has achieved the very noble goal of home ownership with her husband, a Tapir driver, and their kids. She has made a very simple and cozy home. The other, her husband and kids run a grocery store at her “bottom house”. Her entrepreneurial spirit strives for a good life.  Her son is a very strong and dedicated young man. After figuring out that academics was not for him, he went to work in a mechanical work shop. For several years now this very quiet young man is honing his skills in all aspects of the mechanical trade. He works and brings his money to his mother. She showed him how to save his money for a better future.

My dear aunt, you are an inspiration to all of us who walk this path. You never gave up on family and love. You always showed a good face to anyone. You were caring, loving, and shared even when you did not have. Now you are in a place of rest. May your spiritual guider take you with loving arms as your earthly work lives on in your children and grand children. May you rest in Peace.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Could this be the escape and evade route for the 16 year old drug pusher?

  Guyana- Suriname backtrack operations continue daily : Kaieteur News

Entrance next to Reno Nite Spot.
Entrance close to the old Radio City Cinema 

As I took a morning stroll along the #78 Village Public Road, I couldn't help but notice the group of people gathered in front of two seemingly empty storefronts. Curiosity kills the cat or unearths smuggling in high daylight. As I approached the group, few people asked if I wanted to exchange currency or go to Suriname? Ah ha, I got it! This was the entrance to the famous underground, no very open, "back track route". There are several entrances from the public road to the seawall. This makeshift area has seating sheds, a jetty for boats to dock, snackettes, and of course the ever present people who arrange for a boat to transport people or goods or anything one desires. 

Snackette Seating

Time out! Isn't this whole "back track thing" illegal? How is it that this place is so well built? It seems like an established well run operation.  Did I say that this entire seawall operation is not more than 100 yards from the Police Station?  Oh yea. Puzzled?. Could this be a very possible escape and evade route for the 16 year old drug pusher? After all, my sources informed me that his family operates one of the snackettes along the seawall. Possible right? 

Why was the new stelling built? This could be a very legal, safe, secure, and profitable operation for the locals. They are doing it anyway, why not legitimize and control the safe transfer of people and goods? This would at least make it harder for any illegal transfer. But what do I know, I am a "foreigner"! 


#78 Sawmill 
Waiting Shed

Thursday, April 21, 2011

She is home, but HE is still out there!

The 14 year old, who was in police protection in Corriverton, Guyana, is home tonight with her family. Her alleged kidnapper and rapist is still out there. The authorities were unable to apprehend this little rascal. How can a 16 year old elude the mighty Guyana Police Force? Who is aiding and abiding this fugitive and why can’t the police find him? Although, the magistrate in Corriverton upheld a warrant for his arrest.

The magistrate also placed the 14 year old in the custody of her uncle a Community Police Officer. He is to report all activities to his superiors on a daily basis until the suspect is in custody. The young lady will still live with her grandmother and father. She is to attend school everyday and complete all assigned tasks. In as much as she is a victim in this situation, the magistrate reiterated that she must include all of her family members in her life so as to create a ring of protection.

Will the little scoundrel come out of hiding to inflict harm on his victim? Will this family be able to give protection? Will the police be able to capture this menace to society? How many more little girls’ innocence must be taken before society puts a stop to this? No one sees, no one hears, no one acts. Where are the morals of a community? Do not blame the government, blame yourselves for letting this happen to your children. Get up, stand up, band together, and create an iron circle to protect the young and innocent so this does not happen ever again to anyone.

We hold our breaths while he is still at large.

We are too busy with administrative functions!

Riding on a bicycle along the #78 Village public road on the second day of my vacation to Guyana I noticed a sign that said “Help Center” where used to be Melrose Bar. Naturally, this sparked my interest. When I lived there, 21 years ago, nothing of this nature existed. This space served as a gathering place for us kids on Sunday after lunch to party and dance the weekend away. 

So I went in to check the place out. I entered a sparse space with partitioned areas and a few people milling around. There were a couple of people in the entrance area, all stunned by my entrance. No one offered a welcome, so I initiated conversation with the closest person and asked to speak to someone in charge. The first question was, “Wa u want?” After indicating that I was visiting from the US and very interested in what “Help” they offered the community, the lady conferred with the other ladies present. Eventually, a younger woman approached me and asked specifically, “What  I wanted to know.” Again, I reiterated that I was interested in what they had to offer here.

She walked around and sat behind a huge desk stacked with papers and told me that they are a non-profit organization that helps people with HIV/AIDS, children of HIV/AIDS parents, sex workers, and children in need. I asked if I could sit, she obliged. I inquired about funding for such a place. She expressed that they get help from private donors, Non Governmental Organizations (NGO), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). I suggested that I may know a US based organization that may be interested in helping their cause, New Jersey Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission. The young lady got a little more comfortable, then replied that they are willing to work with anyone who is willing to help. A young man came over my shoulder and got the young lady’s attention, she indicated that she was late for a session. I politely asked if we could continue this conversation some other time. She said, “Come back anytime, we always open.” With that I left.

After being knocked over by the rampant drug use, careless regard for society, kids not interested in going to school and a host of other issues that affect Corriverton I decided to return and continue my inquiry. Upon attempting to walk in the door a middle aged woman approached me and asked, “Wa u want?” I politely smiled and indicated that I would like to continue my conversation with the young lady who was sitting at her desk. The middle aged woman positioned herself in front of the door as if to block my entrance and said, “She busy with paper work, we just finish a meeting with USAID and we very busy with a lot of administrative things.” I asked if I could come back the next day. She said, “We busy, tomorrow.” I asked about the next day. Same answer. So I asked if I could make an appointment, the answer, you guessed it, “We don’t have time, we busy.” The young lady looked at me from her desk helpless, as if say, “Sorry”. I turned and walked out disappointed.

Wait. Did this place have a sign that said “Help Center”? Who were they helping and how? I have more questions now than answers. Why could I not get a straight answer, on what they did? Why would they not speak with me? Why did the young lady sat silently? Why did the middle aged woman block my entry? Where were the people they were helping? And how? If they are helping people with funding from USAID, do we not have a right to know how our money is being used?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Look at my Brother.

“Everyday me look at him, me a cry blood. Dis ting a hut me. Look wa me do to me own flesh and blood, me brother. Me chop am up real bad,” said the tear stricken man. Wa, de man chop up he own brother! Yes!
Boats at the #78 Village Market Koker.During the late 70s and 80s, there was the contraband trade between Guyana and Suriname. Anything that could fit in a Guyanese style fishing boat was fair game. This was mostly dry goods including flour, peas, and sardines. The boats were made of wood and powered by an outboard motor. These little floating coffins could out run and out smart the not so well equipped Guyana Police Force. Boat engineMost of these smugglers were initially poor fishermen trying to make ends meet. Eventually this little side business became the driving force behind an economic revival in Berbice and the country as a whole. More people got involved and the smuggling business took off. Shady characters of all forms spun their web of deceit and treachery. A lot of these people are now prominent honest, clean businessmen. Others continue in one form or the other in illegal smuggling. Though I am told these days the cargo is people, guns, ammunition, and drugs.  Either legal or illegal, the smuggler’s haven of Springlands, Skeldon, Line Path, and Crabwood Creek that was once after thought villages is now a very vibrant destination with brand spanking new shinny houses, restaurants, shops, hotels and drugs.
The contraband trade also bread a new type of person. The type of person would do what the nice business men would not dare do with their churches, mosques, and mandirs looking on. This is the modern day version of a river pirate. This person did as the old time European pirates. He was the captain of a similar Guyanese style fishing vessel but was armed with cutlasses, pitch forks, shovels, axes, and knives. He lead a small band of similar minded thugs. These guys had one thing on their minds, hijack a loaded boat and take the cargo. Some sold to the highest bidder others to their masters. It was the darkest of men who were pirates. The masterminds behind the piracy got richer and the pirates,  who were not caught and convicted, stayed poor and helpless. One such person was the teary eyed sad man in front of me crying about what he did to his brother.
One night during a drunken brawl the big time river pirate got so angry and unforgiving of his younger brother that he drew the shinny pirate cutlass and chopped him half to death. Literally! Look at the cuts on his armsOne of his legs was hanging by the skin, before medical aid could get to him he lost the leg. His arms were severely chopped with bone deep cuts. His back and ass were severely cut. Look at that cut on his back
He laided months in a hospital bed never expecting to live. Now, by a miracle he is still alive. He walks on crutches and has nagging pains all the time. Of course, alcohol is his pain killer. Whenever, the pain comes he drinks it away.
While he was in the hospital his wife left him and their little daughter. As time when on and he healed physically there remained that mental image of his own brother chopping him mercilessly. There have been several drunken outbursts from both brothers who just can’t get over this dreadful situation. The little girl is now 14 years old and still holds a grudge against her uncle for making her father unable to provide for her. At the judicial hearing the younger brother dropped all charges letting his older brother return to providing for his family. The older brother has since turned his life around and gotten a regular job that provides honest income for his family.
These two brothers have not spoken directly to each other since the incident. At a recent family function the younger brother asked his older brother to have a drink with him. The older brother looked at him and with shame in his voice said that he was not drinking, yet. Later that evening, sitting across from me with bloody tears in his eyes the big bad pirate pledged to always look out for his younger brother even though they do not talk. He is stunned that his brother can find forgiveness in his heart. “Look at what me do to me brother and he still want to talk to me,” said the stone cold pirate, soften with age and mercy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Update—Crack, Sex, and High School Dropout, Now Girl School—Corrected.

I apologize for my sources in the previous post for giving me incorrect information. The 14 year old is not in “girl school”.

Days prior to the last foreigner leaving, the young drug pusher confronted the 14 year old somewhere outside of her high school with a knife. She screamed and ran between her friends to hide. Her attacker ran away.

The last foreigner left at noon, in the evening the 14 year old never came home. Three days later her father hobbled on his one remaining leg to the local police station to file a missing persons report. The 14 year old’s family lead the police to the young drug pusher’s family home where they suspected all along that the young girl was being kept. Female ranks went in and rescued the juvenile.

She recounted that the drug pusher threatened her with violence against her family so she went with him. The police took her to the hospital for a medical examination. Doctors reported that the young lady has been sexual active since around age 12 and evidence are consistent with rape.

The young girl is being kept in personal protection by the police at an undisclosed location with access by her family for food and clothes. The local magistrate issued a warrant for arresting the young drug pusher on charges of rape and kidnapping of a minor. There is a sentencing hearing next Thursday pending the fugitive arrest.

We hold our breaths and pray to our divine ones that justice is served and this young lady can try to put the pieces of her fragile life together. Here is hoping that cooler heads and kinder hearts do the right thing and take this situation seriously so that this does not happen to another young lady. This is a opportunity for the justice system to shine. For the humanitarian community to reach out and envelope a hopeless child and for all of us to open our eyes and find a way to prevent this from happening again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Update--Crack, sex, and high school dropout, Now Girl School

Finally all the foreigners left #78 Village. That afternoon the little 14 year old went missing. She was missing for 3 days until found by the police at the young drug pusher's house. Her family agreed to send her to Correctional School for Girls.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The quintessential Guyanese home.

Finally, I found a piece of heaven on earth. Though all the mayhem and crazy stuff going on here there was a little part of peace and serenity.

I went to visit an uncle’s family today. He lost the battle with cancer. But if his home is a testament to the way he lived then he is smiling today. I knew Uncle Jai as a little boy growing up. He took me for long rides on his bicycle and always picked fruits for me from the various trees in the yard. As a cane cutter he always had a very sharp cutlass which he would make small chore of peeling cane with.

Uncle Jai’s home is behind his mother’s. A long walkway leads to the back lot which opens up to the most serene lush tropical setting. Six macaws cheerily greets when guests enters, parrots, monkeys, pigeons, ducks, chickens, cats, and goats join in. The tropical symphony is muted by gorgeous foliage and  flowers. The backyard is a tranquil getaway with a hammock hanging in such a way that it is shaded, but the cool river breeze washes away all stress. With animals singing and chirping it would seem like this is the perfect home, until one meets the genuine hospitality from this family.

The mom just opens her home and let us just say that the daughter should be leading a team of five star hospitality professionals. This kind open hearted young lady was the most gracious person I’ve met in Guyana. Had I not have to leave on Wed I would be spending a lot of time there. Without me responding to a question whether or not I wanted a coconut she was already reaching into a bunch of coconuts hanging from a tree, before the answer came from my mouth she was already smiling and cutting with a cutlass like a pro, maybe she got it from her dad. Before I could say no thank you to mangos there was a bag full of the smallest most succulent little darlings I every laid lips on. Then the cherry and fat poke showed up. All this time with a smile and intelligent conversation. This type of hospitality comes from a genuine desire to please. May god bless her and grant her family all that they desire. RIP uncle Jai.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crack, sex, and high school drop out.

“We have a son who is 18 years old and ready to marry. We can marry and take her to Suriname to live with us. She can go to Christian church and live with us while she matures to serve as a house wife. Our son will not touch her until she is 18. We will take good care of her.” said the Surinamese couple to the wide eyed and tired family of hopeless aunts, uncles. and father.

They are discussing the future of a 14 year old girl who does not listen to anyone. She smokes crack, have sex, and is a high school out since December 2010. What, you say? Of course, right here in quiet old #78 Village back yard. The first street of #78 Village Rampoor Road is infested with a group of 14-17 year olds who are all crack users and hang out like a bunch of little wanna be thugs. The little girl’s cousin is her pimp. He gets crack from a “friend” who in turn crawls into his bedroom window to have sex with the 14 year old girl, his cousin. Outrageous you say, sure, it gets better. There is a 17 year old girl in the gang who collects money from the boys to have sex with the younger girls. A little “madam” at the tender age of 17. Not your little old Guyana. Wake up open your eyes and ears, look and listen. It is happening right now. There is little or no parental support for anyone it seems.

Most of what I hear from some of the parents is, “A b a tired talking to dem pickne dis, dem hard ears, dem na listen to no body.” The feeling of despair, hopelessness, of helplessness, of a total break down of parental values and discipline all play a role in this dysfunctional society. Most parents of these kids don’t want to or are too tired to deal with the issues of this teenager pack. The parents rather hide their kids when the truancy officers come knocking because they feel the kids will continue to do the same things.They are also afraid of drug users. There is also the perception that another person’s child is not one’s business and they should just stay out. The notion of it takes a village to raise a child definitely does not apply here.

Most of the teenager pack’s parents are uneducated and work menial jobs to get by. They have no faith in the system nor do anything to get out of their current situation. I hear the words, “ we are poor people, what can we do” a lot. It is very hard to convince these people that there is a way to get help and there are organizations and people who are willing to extend a hand. A very casual inquiry at Skeldon High School lead to a whole world of individuals ready and willing to help. Teachers, consulars, an actual social worker (University of Guyana graduate) are all in place ready to help.

With limited resources and just the goodwill of helping a child to stay on a straight path these teachers and social workers try tirelessly to contain a problem that is fastly spinning out of control. The drug epidemic is quickly engulfing this once innocent society into a 15 year old monster. What will happen in a couple of years when these kids grow up a little? It will be intolerable to be on any street corner or walk on any streets. There is little or no help from parents who are too illiterate to bother about helping their kids get off drugs. As far as they are concerned the kids are bad and there is nothing to be done about it. This is the brick wall the social workers run into everyday. When social workers take money out or their own pockets to buy shoes for a kid who can not afford it, that is going beyond the call of duty. They is only so much a social worker can do. They cannot parent every child. That is the parents’ role. But this society has always been okay with someone else raising their child.

It has always been a common practice here for parents to give a child to their relative or close friend or some to complete strangers to parent. When my father passed I had many offers to “mine” (raise) me. My grandfather and grandmother was very vocal and stayed strong that I was not up for adoption, or raising or any such crazy thing. They made sure everyone knew that I had a home, their home. Had they allowed someone else to “mine” me who knows what I would have become. Not that I have not had my share of troubles, god knows I had, but I am still not so bad. Right?

After a three hour session with the social workers the little 14 year old was allowed back in the school with stipulations and check points. She has to check in 3 times a week with a social worker and every evening with another teacher at the teacher’s home to do homework. There is a support system in place at her home to assist with absenteeism. Everyone around this child were brought in and made absolutely clear what were the consequences if this little girl were to not to follow the guidelines laid out for her .  If she is absent 1 day for no real reasons the social worker will be forced to report to the Ministry Of Education who will inform the local authority to commit her to a Correctional School for Girls. She is to stay away from her pimp and the young drug pusher and avoid her little pack at all cost.

The social worker made a list of things for little crack girl to have so she can have a smooth transition back into school. All items with the exception of 2 are accounted for. She starts school in the morning.

Don’t move me!

The car flipped three times avoiding an oncoming truck with high beams on into a dry roadside ditch  The driver was pulled out by helpful people on the scene, but the passenger in the front seat refused help and order everyone to stay clear of him. Prince had the mental capacity to know exactly what had happened and how he was going to get out of the car.

Prince’s friend had to make a fish delivery to Guyana Fisheries at #66 Village, Corentyne, Berbice, Guyana. DSCF0125As very close friends he asked Prince to tag along. After the delivery, there were other people in the car. When the front passenger seat was vacant, Prince’s friend asked for him to join him up front. Then came the fast rolling high beam truck.

As the first flip happened Prince pulled the seat lever to lay flat, the second flip had his spine against the gear shift knob, and the third flip had him feeling coldness on his legs. He knew that there was spinal injury. As people tried to free him, Prince had the mental capacity to tell them to stay clear as he used his arms to break free of the wreckage. He was transported to Skeldon Hospital.

Upon arrival the nurse wanted to give him a sleeping pill to ease the discomfort. He knew there was no feelings in his legs and that it had to be looked at. No doctor was available to look at him until the morning. He demanded to be transferred to New Amsterdam hospital. The nurse refused. Since everyone knew him, a friend got the ambulance driver to come take him anyway. At New Amsterdam hospital he spent 11 days with no X Ray, since the machine was down. The driver of the vehicle that Prince was riding in when the accident occurred , his friend, took him to Prashad Nagar Hospital in Georgetown. He spent 14 months there with treatment but still could never walk again. His family survived with the generosity of a community that Prince represented and dealt with in dignity and respect. His struggle continues…..

Holika Burn

Went to the witness Holika burning. Lots of people attended. Of course the local politicians turned out in full swing. Anything to rub shoulders and have face time. The pandit rode in on a big bike, did the prayers and roared off into the sunset. He could not be more than 25 yo. After prayers the giant palm tree leaves were lit and it went up in flames. Rain looked eminent so we left.

Shut up, Lalwa

Lalwa's home--directly opposite my old home.This is Lalwa, the street and village bully, thug, petty thief, and maker of mischief. If there was anything illegal going on this man knew about it. He was blamed for almost everything that happened in my housing scheme.

Lalwa, his parents, and family lived in a small wooden house across the street from the home I grew up in. His yard had a mango, guava, cheery, and podu (spelling?) tree. I was the only kid on the street allowed to go raid these fruit trees.

Ram (his real name), was very good friends with my father. His father and mother were very close to my grand parents. This family was a neighbor and in Guyana, neighbors are family. They actually lend each other salt, sugar,Approach from front of cemetery flour, rice and anything else they need. For as long as I can remember Ram always had my best interest at heart. He was kind and generous to me. Although, Lalwa had the most dangerous reputation in the village he always treated our family with respect and dignity. He was our personal security. I was told that he always warded off any potential robbers to our home. I remembered an incident when he personally jumped our gate with cutlass wielding to fend off five attackers as they tried to steal our chickens. He always defended our honor. When he drank alcohol the devil came out.

Lalwa was a habitual drunk. During his earlier years Ram was a cane cutter like most of the young men in my scheme. When he came back from the fields at around 12 noon the drinking began. This was an everyday situation. Drinking lead to him being a public nuisance everyday. As he got drunker the mischief  started. In bright daylight this man would commit stupid petty crimes and no one dared tell him anything. He wielded a cutlass very well and used it to threaten everyone. He was also a big mouth. As he got really drunk he would verbally abuse the neighbors and anyone who passed by. This would continue into wee hours of the morning. My grandfather got him to shut up. As I got older and high school became a constant series of late night studies I could no longer listen to his verbal diarrhea every night. One night I just walked over and told him in no uncertain tones to Shut the hell up. To my surprise he actually shut up. The next day when he was sober he apologized and told me that whenever he became too unbearable that I should yell at him. This began the strong bond and mutual respect we had for each other.

Although, I did not condone with his behavior then nor now I understood why he did what he did. As a “bad” man in the village he had a reputation to protect. This is how he survived. Very early in his criminal career someone threw battery acid on his legs. There was an ever  present burn mark for as long as I knew him.  Today that burn mark is skin cancer. He heard that I was in the country and came looking for me. I was not home. But as I was riding on the public road yesterday, I passed by him. He did not recognize me at first. But when he did, I finally felt like I came home. The man who had protected my family and I as a child was now holding on to me on the public road with frail arms and a barely there body. Lalwa was on his way to the hospital to get his dressing changed. He had a skin graft since the burn mark was removed. He informed me that since the diagnosis he stopped drinking and is trying to survive. Once again the fighter has another round to go. This time for his life. He was a bad, dangerous, and sometimes annoying man, but he was my protector and I will always give him that respect.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guyana’s Top Oriental Restaurant.

What an amazing concept in the heart of Georgetown! The GT lunch crowd was buzzing. The entrance is like a grand Chinese palace.Off to the left is a pastry section that is a far cry from the mundane black eye, cheese roll, pine tart found in every Guyanese snackette’s glass case. This restaurant featured glazed donuts and a wide array of specialized Chinese pastry like egg custard tart. Nice selection. There was even a Chinese attendant who spoke very little English, but told me she was from Beijing.

Continuing on the left there was a large display of various Chinese specialty items like shark fins, sea cucumbers, sea weed, dried scallops and a few others I could not make out.  Shocked? So was I. Shark fin soup in Guyana? Welcome to the band of shark killers, go New Thriving Restaurant!

Farther along on the left is a long Quick Service counter with pictured overhead menu displays. Yes, just like your corner Chinese take out restaurant, even the menu is the same. Swing around to the right is a buffet section.

Buffet items were displayed in large serving containers with no heat nor cold. All food was served at room temperature. Items were similar to American Chinese $9.99 lunch buffet with an off taste and texture and a lot of MSG and corn starch. There were even little dim sum treats like shumai, egg rolls, sweet peas in buns, and custard tarts. Although the garden salad was not at temperature it was fresh and delightful. The tiny slivers of pork were heavily spiced with ginger and pepper. A huge delight was fish wrapped in eggplant. Delicious. Overall, great presentation, highly concentrated flavors, mushy textures, hard mystery crunched meats and no temperature control. Friendly service.

The upstairs a la carte level featured a full 10 or so pages of the regular American Chinese corner restaurant’s menu. But the Rum selection was oh so full of all the goodies. They carry El Dorado 25 yo, US$70/shot (my birthday is coming up hint, hint) There was also a small selection of Chilean and Argentine wines. Also featured here was 2 different US$100 Chinese rice wine. Impressive selections. I was told about the 3 floor catering capabilities and the outside open-air deck. Service staff was very friendly and willing to answer questions sincerely. The manager, Richard, even took pictures of us and was a positive ambassador for New Thriving Restaurant and Guyana.

Although there were little quirks that every restaurant has and personal opinions differ from each other, New Thriving Restaurant does bend and break the mold that is inherently Chinese. In as much as they do take away, it definitely does not have a take out feel. As a matter of fact it is quite stylish with very bright gold fittings. All in all this is a great step up for Guyana and it goes to show that stepping out into uncharted territory is deffinitely worth the risk. Kudos. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prince’s Bar

This is the first bar I saw that works with a flooded floor! Due to heavy overnight rains the entire bar and sitting area was flooded. This was still operational. Mind you the bar was rocking at 7:00 am with every one drunk, even though it was still raining heavily. This is my aunt’s and uncle’s bar.

Prince, my uncle, is THE man. He has always been in charge of his own destination. Eighteen years ago Prince had a horrible car accident that left him in a wheelchair for life. His legs cannot function. Before the accident, Prince had one of the first successful roadside stands. He sold fresh food and snacks. That little stand in front of Morocco’s Nite Club was rocking in the 80s. I remembered back in the day when I was “walking the road” I would take my friends to Prince and we would eat our belly full. De man is also the first African Guyanese I knew would could make a duck curry that would rival any Indian Guyanese. After the accident, he bought this little bar that turned out to be a neat little place.

Today, both of Prince’s legs are infected from being in the wheelchair. The wounds are too graphic even for me to discuss. Words nor pictures could do any justice. They are about 6-8 ins in length and 3-4 ins in diameter, and about 2-3 ins in depth. A doctor has cut away all the dead cells and Prince goes to the hospital daily to change his bandages.

As he left for the hospital today, my aunt asked if I could help with raising the freezer since the bar was flooded. With the help of their son, we emptied the freezer, washed it out, and restocked it. We decided that the whole bar needed a good deep cleaning. So in true professional hospitality and sanitary style we gave the bar a once over.

Prince came back and we did not want him to come in since it was still wet. But he knew something was up since he left it wet. So he rolled in and the tears rolled. This strong proud man was humbled by a little cleaning. I thought spending time with my cousin was more fun filled with memories, jokes and laughter. Unknowingly, we touched him.

As he resumed bartending duties, we sipped a stout. About half an hour later Prince rolled out the back door and we could see the pain in his face as he said, “I can not take it anymore, the pain is too much. You take care of the bar and help me get into bed.” We helped him to bed and could hear his groaning for hours as he tried to sleep. My aunt closed the bar. Late in the afternoon, after my cousin left he called back to ask his  mother if he could move back home. He was willing to pitch in and help. I am beyond excitement. At least, Prince could get some rest and may be able to heal. Life goes on.Father, mother, son, grandson, step girlfriend will fend for themselves and hope they all get along. Small victory for family!

The equipment is out of the country!

Why can’t a simple electrical meter get turned on? The equipment to ensure that the meter is functioning correctly is out of the country. Okay, I know what you are saying and I am too. WHAT? No way! Yes way.

My grandmother had her electricity turned off for some repairs. Repairs are down, bill is paid up to date and the request to turn power back on was placed a month ago. No answer. My uncle went to inquire from Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Corriverton, they gave him an account # and a phone number in New Amsterdam to call. I called this number there was no record. So I went back to GPL, Corriverton (wearing long pants of course) to investigate. After displaying utter amazement to the clerk when she told me to call New Amsterdam again, she told me to wait while she spoke with her supervisor. There was a blackout, again, in GPL office and the supervisor was in a closed office, poor guy. I was wet to my underwear, I wonder about him. So the clerk came out and informed me that the account # I had was wrong. So she found out that the paper work was in New Amsterdam but they were waiting for the equipment to check the meter, which was out of the country. Yes the ONLY meter checker equipment was out of the country. Now we must wait for next week. Fingers crossed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Roadside Chicken

Enterprising chicken operation along #70 Village public road. This is halaal chicken at is very best in the strictest of religious practices. The chicken or duck is placed in a cage then turned upside down in a special hanging container that keeps the wings and legs together. The neck is pulled through the bottom opening and slit with one stroke. Bloods drains.  The bird is placed in boiling water and into a turning feather extractor. Roasting is done as desired. After a clean bath the bird is chopped to desired size, placed in a bag and ready for the carahy (spelling?) cooking vessel.

Intercultural Unity

I went fo a drive up de coast with a close friend of my dad to see wa going on. I was pleasantly surprised to see anIMG_1443 Islamic Education Center. I am told that this school educates, boards and houses students of all faith. They are specialized Islamic studies from well educated scholars who hail from Pakistan. The courses cover all studies from primary to secondary education and sits students for Caribbean Excellency Council (CXC). There are some scholars who never leave the school grounds. It is very IMG_1444interesting that Guyana can intermingle religion in education, yet focusing on a main religion. This just shows tolerance in a society plagued by race divide.

Rum suckers!

The future of Guyana spoke out on ‘all dem rum suckers who a drink from fowl cock crow to sun down.” Had a sad conversation with the little angel, Preya, tonight. She was ashamed to point out the obvious all day. There was drinking and carrying on all day in the street. Several men clustered at houses and along the street with music blasting and bottles swinging. She is concerned what I will think as a foreigner. That this is all Guyanese people do. Where is a 10 yo getting this stuff from? How does the actions of grown people affect the youths of today? Preya is sad.

The most interesting person in Corriverton….so far.

She speaks Guyanese politics, knows what is going on in Yemen, Libya, and Egypt, is well versed in local politics and affairs surrounding Corriverton. She is hailed by every fish monger, butcher, farmer, and hawker in the market. This young lady has a video collection of a 25 year old. Ladies and gents meet 10 year old Preya. (I’ll save her real name for her protection since she could very well be a future president).

I met this young lady briefly from the time I arrived. She and her mom rents the lower flat of my aunts home. They have lived there for six years. She sees her dad on weekends and regularly. Her mom and dad are separated with her dad having another family and her mom being single. Preya’s mom is a fishmonger who sells in the market. The notion of it takes a village to raise a kid is alive here.

As I was leaving for the market on Fri morning @ 7:30 am a little voice merrily said, “Good Morning” I reciprocated. She asked where I was heading this early. I replied the market. She asked if I minded her tagging along. Mind you this coming from a little person. 10 yo! Sure let’s go. Little did I know what I was in for. She asked how I felt about the old president, Mr. Jagdeo leaving office and who might be fit for a replacement. We discussed local and international politics, the current situation with remigration, sanitation issues, local market rules. 10 yo!

We arrived at the market and walked through the back gate into the fish section. Every vendor greeted her by name and waved, Several asked if she was ready for school. More asked about her home work, Even more asked if she had lunch money. Preya replied with the playfulness of a free spirit and the weight of a gifted child accepting the charge before her. As she escorted me around the market pointing out various stands and vendors and people I should avoid. I got the feeling of a proud Guyanese showcasing her home. At 8:30 am several people called out to Preya that it was time to go to school. She giggled, oops “ I got carried away, got to go to school, see you later.” And off she went to seek knowledge.  Am I witnessing a child carrying the hopes of a nation? Whatever this is I am beyond joy to know that there are people looking out for this child and all is not lost. More importantly Preya has the willingness and desire to be brilliant.

Amazing that this child, and she is still a child, with the wits of a matured person well beyond her years is so informed and well versed in matters normal 10 yos are not interested in. She reads the daily newspaper early in the morning before going to school sitting amongst fishmongers who are her extended family. Most fishmongers can not read nor write so she reads loudly. A little angel. The future of Guyana is in the hands of the fishmonger.

Down for the Count.

Major knockout by the flu! Woke up in the middle of the night to go for a whiz and could not get out of bed. I felt like a Mack truck ran over me. This was Sat 2:00 am. I drank 2 DayQuils. Woke up @ 7:30 am feeling the same. It is THE market day. I am to meet with everyone, plans with my cousin and her family, can’t get out of bed, body hurts. 12 noon 2 more DayQuils, Less pain, 4:00 pm Finally turned a corner. Less pain better movement, Watched some crazy chutney viideos (soft porn) what the hell was that? Rescued by the 10 yr old downstairs neighbor who suggested I go through her video collection. Wow,  this girl is stocked. I settled on Krrish. Not bad at all. 8:00 pm finally able to eat. Feeling much better.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hold It. Back Out!

“Hold it. Back Out.” Shouted the “Officer” at Central Immigration and Passport Office in Georgetown, Guyana. He was directing his rampage at me! What did I do? He pointed to the typed and clear taped sign on the door. Discriminatory Sign

Oh, what the hell is that, get a closer look. Yes this is a public building conducting the people’s business at the people’s wishes. Where does “the management” get off dictating dress code to the people of this nation? This reads and looks like a cheap nightclub trying to show that they don’t tolerate rif raf. Am I reading this correct? This is still a nation of the people not an authoritarian regime, right? Did I really miss that much? Is this what they say about people who go away and then go back to a country with turned up noses. My noble friends, please trust that I am by no means a saint and wish to suggest that I too have many hang ups. But a dress code to renew a passport? WTF.

Wait, look at this.Drop pants.

They let this drop pants ass prance around in the building. How the hell can this be more tasteful than a decent pair of cargos? The guy’s underwear is practically jumping out of his butt crack and this is acceptable? How can this be? Major cities are banning this kind of dressing. Not that I agree or disagree with this dress style. But at least there is not underwear mopping up the floor.

Here is a clear sentiment to show how an over haul of the current “rules”---LAWS should reflect the changing times where practical heads and current thinking prevails. This kind of forcing the people to do as they are told is, is, is, is, is, oh you know what I want to say…….

The explanation from an official on a bottled Coke and shave ice break is there are a lot of hooligans who come there and look like rags or “sex workers” Huh? Did he just call the nation of Guyana a bunch of rags and whores? Oh shit I better go put on some long pants and silk shirt with nice patent leather shoes and rub some coconut oil on my hair and skin or suffer the consequences.

What….no curry chicken, fried rice, nor chow mein?

Where is the Guyanese food? None on the menu, hold on…..also no rum, liquor, beer, nor wine. Did this restaurant go too far? Hell no. Au contraire my feeble globe trotting fenoms. In fact, Oasis CafĂ©, hits a six right out of Bourda or that new and shinny Stadium, whatever it is called. Man, talk about great fresh food with a global twist and international simplicity. Tucked next to the Delta and Caribbean Airlines Offices, this gem offers up fresh varied alternative to mundane and very monotonous Guyanese cuisine. Hey, Jack Wagon, get down from your soap box I love curry, fried rice, and chow mein just like any other sun burnt Guyanese. But there has to be more to food than a varied combination than those three food groups!

Okay I am aware that you well travelled folks have savored a wide range of delicacies from Calcutta to London and back. Yea there is a whole different world of food from Guyanese food. So why don’t Guyanese expand their “food groups”. Who knows? Maybe curry has addictive abilities? Either way Oasis challenges the taste buds to try different things. I was told by my fellow diner that this place had the best coffee in Georgetown. I did not try it. Not a fan of hot coffee at 11 am.

Although, the clientele seems to be predominantly expat there were at least 10% local Guyanese representation. A very international crowd gave the feel of more South Beach, Miami than Georgetown, Guyana. But I guess this is why this place works so well. I must say as a buffet and an la carte establishment they were no complains from anyone at the table. Oh I almost forgot…..FREE WIFI. For that alone I could be a regular! Great food, great ambiance, great service, great concept, FREE WIFI, happy loyal guest. Love it. Would recommend to anyone even if to just give it a try and feel how the rest of the world rolls!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Journey from Cheddi Jagan Airport to Corriverton.

Mini bus loaded with luggage and passengers, music blasted, windows rolled down and off we went. Holy crap this was really it I AM HERE. This scenario played out for about 10 minutes until my mom started feeling dizzy and light headed. We pulled over at a police station and the kind but reluctant officer let her use the restroom. Back onboard all set. Off we went. Closer to the airport were smaller less well built homes alongside better structures. The scenery was dotted with farms and wide open lands. Mini buses, cars, motor bikes, cattle, sheep, and people all vied for road time. The tremendous morning sun was at full throttle making good use of me not getting a chance to put on some deodorant before leaving the plane. Okay I was a little ripe, well maybe a lot more.

As we got closer to Georgetown, the capital city, it was evident that this was the nerve center of everything. All the hustle and bustle of an under developed capital city came to play in driving on the out skirts to avoid major traffic. We ventured into the main mini bus and car parking lot only to be confronted by the heavy odor of urine and shit. Yes literally, the place smelled like shit. I actually even discovered a bag of the brown stuff on the streets as we parked to make a pit stop for bananas. My mom gagged, we left.

Driving on the coast one could not help but be marveled at the great new constructed houses next the old ones. Homes that would sell for 4-5 millions in Florida was easily spurting up every where for about G$10,000.00 according to our trusty mini bus driver. Not sure if this figure is accurate but it sounds reasonable enough. The building craze stretched all the way to Corriverton. Where the heck are these people getting the money? Mansions like Tiger Wood’s in Windermere, Florida and celebrity homes in Beverly Hills seems replicated here in the hundreds. What am I doing wrong? The road condition was not so bad and the traffic to all you cry babies were not so crazy either. Still not convinced that I can’t drive here. But very concerned about animals sharing the road way. Very scary when a dog stands in the middle of the road and one unable to tell which way they are going. My heart was in my throat every time we encountered and animal. I thought if it was Rio. Goodness, I shudder at the thought. But arrived safely and immediately family drama unfolded. Soap opera!!!!