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By Adam Harris-For years, one always thought that there was a Guyana before 1992. But from the utterances of the politicians of today, Guyana actually began in 1992.
Minister Susan Rodrigues told an international forum that Guyana’s housing drive began after 1992. She said that prior to 1992 there was an undemocratic country largely because of rigged elections. Therefore, nothing happened.
According to Minister Rodrigues, post 1992, housing began to appear. Between then and 2015 the PPP Government allocated some 100,000 house lots to a population of 750,000 people. She called that programme land divestment.
But long before 1992 there were myriad housing schemes in Guyana, some dating back to the Cheddi Jagan era. There were the West Ruimveldt, East Ruimveldt, La Penitence, and Lodge Housing Schemes back then.
During the Forbes Burnham era there was a massive housing drive that gave rise to places like Festival City, North and South Ruimveldt, Melanie Damishana, Tucville, Guyhoc, Tucber, Bartica, Roxanne Burnham Gardens, and scores of others.
The population of these schemes numbers more than 200,000. But this does not feature in the annals of this country as far as the PPP records show.
And for the records, these were finished homes rather than mere house lots that leaves people scrambling to raise funds for the construction.
That is not the only case of deception being peddled by the PPP. Forget that President Irfaan Ali began the falsehood about One Guyana. He surely did not believe his claim about ruling for all the people of Guyana because his actions belied that fact.
Regardless of all the talk about equal treatment for all, the evidence suggests otherwise. Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton said that this was clear when the government made its flood relief payout. He said that on the Corentyne, the government paid out between $250,000 and $8 million to affected farmers.
When the government team went to Baracara in the Canje River, where people lost head of cattle, they gave everybody $50,000.
To further attempt to mislead the wider society the government sent Prime Minister Mark Phillips to Buxton to announce $52 million in contracts to 26 contractors to construct some bridges. The money sounded a lot but the reality is something else.
The maths revealed that it was about $2 million to a contractor. When that contractor buys materials for the bridge and pays labour he is left with a grand profit of about $200,000. That is his profit. And if there is a defect and the defects liability kicks in then he is out of pocket.
And that is only part of the story. When he addressed the press on the forum hosted by Cuffy 250 on The Emerging Apartheid state, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo claimed that head of the organization IDPADA-G, Vincent Alexander, was one of those black people who was using state funds destined for black people to enrich himself.
Alexander has since sued.
IDPADA-G was rooted in the United Nations Declaration of the Decade for People of African Ancestry. The first government funding was made by the Coalition in 2017—the sum of $68 million. Sums of $100 million were given in 2018, 2019 and in 2020.
The PPP came to power in 2020 and made a subvention in 2021. Jagdeo concluded that IDPADA-G collected nearly $500 million from government. He did not say that this was over five years.
Every year the organization presented its accounts to be audited. It then forwarded these audited accounts to the government.
In the run-up to the forum on the Emerging Apartheid State, Culture Minister Charles Ramson wrote to the organisation seeking its accounts for 2021. This was forwarded and used by Jagdeo to make his contention.
Ramson was to write to IDPADA-G again. He was told that the more recent accounts were still to be audited but that the government has all the audited accounts.
The forum was held, Jagdeo and the government became angered and have decided that no more money would be given to IDPADA-G. If this is not a direct attack on black people, then what is?
And it comes just a few weeks after the government announced $3 billion for the Amerindian communities, six times what has been given to the people of African ancestry. There is no talk about an audit and no accusation of people enriching themselves.
Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton said that the President taking photographs with a few black people at public events and jumping up on stage does not negate the fact that his government’s policy is discriminatory.
Still fresh in the memory is the contention by both Jagdeo and Attorney General Anil Nandlall that Guyana can in no way be considered an apartheid state or an emerging apartheid state. They argued that there are black policemen, black judges and the Guyana Defence Force is mainly black.
They never studied the apartheid system in South Africa. There were black policemen, blacks in the defence force, black judges and magistrates. In fact, there were blacks in nearly every facet of life but their roles were always subservient to the whites.
In Guyana there are black Ministers but they know that they are not decision makers in the government. If a decision is to be taken and they are against it, rest assured that the decision would be taken.
A former Prime Minister, Sam Hinds, came face to face with his limitations in the government and resigned, twice.
His resignation was never accepted.
So this discrimination continues and the government can cry to high heavens that it is even handed, the evidence says otherwise.