There was a statement just made by a local PAHO rep that the suicide rate that put us on top of the world rankings back in 2012, has now plunged considerably. From 44.2 per 100,000 to 20.6. Now if this last figure is accurate, that’d be some real good news – but your Eyewitness has his doubts. He says the 20.6 per 100,000 figure is from a Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) review report – but the WHO site says it’s actually 29.0.
Now don’t get your Eyewitness wrong…even if it’s the latter figure, the decrease is significant. But he has a problem with ALL figures emanating from certain demographics in Guyana – specifically from the rural grassroots. In the last few years or so – especially after we hit Al Jazeera and BBC with our suicide rankings – suicide has become a cause celebre. Which, in case it slipped you, is “a controversial issue that attracts a great deal of public attention.”
After endless handwringing by the present government, which studiously refused to sustain the previous PPP government’s anti-suicide “Gatekeepers” Programme”, every aspiring beauty queen suddenly started declaring their life mission is to “end the scourge” of suicide.
Every group looking for the spigot of public funding to be turned on in their office, started “raising consciousness” about suicide. Some of the connected ones – connected to the political directorate of the day, that is – did garner significant funding. Your Eyewitness called them “Suicide Pimps”…and boy have they been hocking their wares!!
Workshops were held…training sessions were held…vigils were held…marches were held and thousands of column-inches were written about the former. But from where your Eyewitness sits, he couldn’t see any of these folks addressing the major at-risk demographic that all the figures has identified: the rural, male Indian. Whether the rate was 44 or 29 per 100,000 the one constant was that male suicide victims outnumbered females by at least 3 to 1 – and Indians were about three quarters of the overall victims. But your Eyewitness ain’t seen none of the Suicide Pimps checking them out.
So call your Eyewitness a sceptic – but he’d like to see the numbers. In absolute numbers suicide in Guyana for the longest while has hovered around 225 and that works out to 30 per 100,000 annuallyand it’s been the same types of folks killing themselves.. Ain’t nothing’s changed.
So who’s kidding whom? Nobody’s really gives a damn about suicide in the cane cutting crowd. It’s like the “war against drugs” in the states.
Only when the stuff left the ghetto and hit the suburbs, did the govt take notice.
This City Council and its ruling Gang of Four will never learn, will it? But why should they, when those in charge have made them sacred cows. There was a big hue and cry about the Parking Meters that were going to skin the burghers of – and visitors to – GT dry. But did the Minister of Local Government head the contract off at the pass when he had the authority to deny permission via proposing appropriate by-laws? No siree Bob!!
Did the AG and Finance Ministry do anything after they issued their scathing reports on the (pun intended) highway robbery? Not in this lifetime! Well after all the sturm und drang of the middle class enjoying the sunshine outside City Hall, a “review” was ordered. This was done – but like the original secret contract, has been under wraps. Doesn’t look promising that anything’s changed, has it?
And right after, comes the sole sourcing of new garbage collectors after City Hall fires the original collectors who they owe $300M!!
The more things change…
Reg 10 contractors are bitching about being squeezed out from contracts in their region. Maybe they should have a word with their comrades in Region 6.
They were pretty miffed when their “Indian Monument” was contracted to a Reg 10 contractor!