Eyewitness: More cars…


…than bigan seeds

Your Eyewitness’s eye was caught by the headline that since 2013 – a mere SEVEN YEARS – more than 100,000 vehicles were registered in our dear Mudland!! But he wasn’t surprised – and not just because he’d noticed we were already at “PZZ” registrations for cars. But more so for the simple reason that in that time he’d (as they say pedantically!) performatively experienced that exponential increase since he had to drive into Georgetown every working day. And it was more of a BATTLE than a drive: a battle in which no holds were barred by those who entered the fray to get from point A to point B!

Your humble Eyewitness has had reason to visit quite a few countries on several continents – including all the three “worlds – first, second and third! – and he’s got to concede that our Guyanese drivers are in a class by themselves. The closest are the drivers in Lagos, who hurl their cars into the roundabouts like rockets trying to get a boost from a planetary system for interstellar travel! What distinguishes our drivers is their uncouth insistence to “bore” into lines.

So here’d be your law-abiding Eyewitness, getting into the inevitable queue at whatever junction you can think of, and inevitably there would be some wise guys who’d manoeuvre around on the sidewalk – or whatever space available – to get ahead. The expression “road rage” doesn’t even begin to describe your Eyewitness’s anger at these miscreants. Smoke literally steams from his ears! It’s a good thing he’s not a licensed or unlicensed gun holder!

Now there’s no question that our road-building programme hasn’t kept up with our car importation enthusiasm. But that’s the price we’ve had to pay for the success ushered in by the PPP Administrations since 1992, isn’t it? If Roosevelt’s motto to get America out of its Great Depression was “A chicken in every pot”, it would seem that for the PPP to get Guyana out of the PNC’s Great Destruction, theirs was “A car in every driveway”! And this became the new reality…we’re suffering from a surfeit of economic expansion after the great downturn between 1970 and 1990.

But lucky for us, help’s on the way. With the PPP back in the saddle – this time with a new, can-do President – they’ve committed to a massive infrastructural programme that’s anchored with roads and highways. There’s the East Bank-East Coast Demerara bypass; the new West Bank road from the new DHB to Parika, and, of course, the Highway to Brazil.

But even with all these new roads, we’ll still have the challenge of what do we do with our uncivilised drivers.

Your Eyewitness suggests a return to horse whipping?

…more development

While we might be focusing on the utilitarian benefits of every family having a car to take them to wherever they want to go, there are other salutary effects from the increase in car ownership. And they go far beyond the burgeoning American snob effect of “keeping up with the Harilalls and Joneses” – with the latest model in the driveway every year. Well, we’ve already gotten around to celebrating Thanksgiving, haven’t we?

Anyhow, what your Eyewitness had in mind was all the employment opportunities opened up by the explosion in vehicles. Have you noticed the corresponding increase in wash bays? Or the explosion in gas stations – with the now de rigueur convenience store? Then, especially since we’re importing mostly reconditioned vehicles, the increase in mechanic shops? And body shops to rectify the damage wrought by our above-mentioned uncivilised drivers? How about taxi stands? Even in the so-called poorest villages, folks don’t walk any longer from the back street to the Public Road. They call a taxi!!

It’s called progress!

…for the PNC

One unremarked phenomenon of the PNC’s five years at the helm wasn’t just the land giveaways that are hitting the news right now.

There were the giveaways of top-tier cars to all party apparatchiks!