CARIFESTA: Report from Georgetown

Well, here we are in Georgetown.After our late (LATE) arrival on Sunday night Monday morning, when we were met at the hotel by our liaison officer, we slept through a lot of the morning and didn't get started until midday.  First things first:  we changed US dollars into Guyanese currency (exchange rate yesterday - Bank of Guyana buying at $195:$1), and then moved on out to the CARIFESTA Secretariat.  There we touched base with the people who've been working hard for the past several months, and tried to finalize our accreditation and the like.  ASIDE:  It's a very frustrating job, hosting this event, especially in a situation where people are worried about security and stuff like that, and at the same time dealing with Caribbean governments, all of which appear to operate in a similar inefficient fashion, providing final approvals at the nth hour, or (worse, as happened with Turks and Caicos) denying approvals at the very last minute.  It's especially frustrating when, appreciating all the above, one tries to assist host country by sending them the information they need in advance, only to find out that the people in one's department who were charged with the task took their sweet time in sending the package to the couriers, so that one arrives in person before the information has been received and opened.  And so Guyana had to prepare our accreditation at the last minute anyway.So anyway, on we went to the Secretariat to register and to get our information into the computer so that our participants can be accredited.  The army has taken a key role in the hosting of CARIFESTA, access to the venues is to be tightly controlled, and anyone who doesn't possess a ticket or an accreditation will not gain access.  We assisted in the accreditation process, too, and then we came on home. By tomorrow, we are told, we will have our passes in hand.Monday wasn't as productive as we'd hoped, thanks to the time we arrived.  But today was much better.  We dealt with our accommodation -- our contingent is 140 strong and we're spread out over three locations -- today.  Once again, we've got an issue with long-distance payments and our accountants' performance takes on a centrality that it might not otherwise.  Let's just say that some things don't have to be done at the very last minute, but that invariably when we deal with our governments, they are.  Nevertheless, Caribbean people are very good at dealing in good faith, and so we were warmly received by the people at the DDL Estate, where we've booked 6 houses for our contingent, and we were shown around the houses and the complex.  We were similarly warmly received by the people at Buddy's International Hotel as well; and tomorrow we'll go and deal with the apartment block that will house the rest of our people.We have also been dealing with scheduling and transportation issues.  Tomorrow we hope to lock those down and be ready to receive our contingent when they begin to arrive on Thursday.But fellow bureaucrats, take note:  the world's a whole lot bigger than the desk before us and the papers we slide across it.  There's no really good reason for us to make the big world suffer any more than it already does.  Let's try to see whether, just once, we can do things efficiently and well all by ourselves.