By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Tiger Bay – arguably the most depressed community in Guyana – has seen more than its fair share of stigma, being snubbed, unadulterated poverty and filth, but the residents still have a renewed sense of optimism in James Bond, a young politician and Attorney – at – Law.
Neatly nestled in Central Georgetown, Tiger Bay has acquired a bad reputation of being one of the areas where you dare not venture at nights or even during the day out of the fear that you may be relieved by gun toting youths of whatever you have.
The people of the area however are not daunted by their circumstance and perils, regardless of how grim they may be; they are wary, skilled, and full of pride vigilant.
Bond recently embarked on the Tiger Bay Project, which is geared towards ensuring a better life for the residents which starts with them being relocated to another area.
But before that is done, several prerequisite steps have to be taken and as such, he is attempting to make life for them somewhat acceptable and a step up from what currently obtains.
Bond told iNews that for too long the residents of the community have been marginalized and it is time that some attention is placed on the development of the people there.
He made it clear that he is not in the business of hand-outs, indicating that instead of some money, what the residents need are the skills and tools so that they can go out into the world and make whatever monies they need.
“It’s not a hand-out culture,” he stated while in discussion with a few persons gathered on the streets when he arrived on Tuesday, June 16.
Bond is hoping to partner with the government and other focus groups to help develop the capacity of the residents with specific attention being given to the youths. He also embarked on a rigorous clean up campaign in the community, getting businesses on board to assist in the process.
Eslene Richmond Scott fought at every turn to hold back tears after she ventured into the community centre for Tiger Bay. At present, the building houses some nine families with an average of four persons per family.
The families use one kitchen and one bathroom, both of which are in deplorable conditions. The only privacy they are allowed is within the confines of their respective rooms, which when one considers it, is not private at all.
“I didn’t know that people lived like this anymore in this country. Whatever I can do, I will do.”
One resident explained that whenever it rains, it’s a most terrible situation in the homes which are supposed to provide shelter.
“When rain fall, you gotta play hopscotch up there,” she explained while pointing to the top floor of one of the buildings.
Local Football star, Godfrey Powers also resides in the community, where he shares an apartment with the mother of his two children.
“It is time people live better, people can’t tek this…we really need a change, youths need some jobs and education,” said Powers.
The Head of Habitat for Humanity, Rawle Small in a recent letter to the editor, had floated the possibility of Tiger Bay being turned into a tourist destination in the coming years.
“Tiger Bay is a historic neighbourhood in Georgetown. Its people are full of pride, vigilant, resourceful and its history and present can be woven into a fantastic story to share with all Guyanese and Guyana’s visitors. In summary here is what I imagine for Tiger Bay, colourful, vibrant tourist attraction with various art offerings inclusive of music, sculpture, drama, dance and culinary offerings displayed in and outside soft bars, restaurants, indoor and outdoor cafes, a small dance studio, etc.”
He pointed out that the “historical offerings about Tiger Bay and its immediate environs, artifacts, revered heroes and heroines, notable supporters, epochs, crucial moments, and so on displayed in a museum (Museum of the Guyanese People?) or two and at key locations throughout the district.”