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I pen this article because notwithstanding events over several generations here and elsewhere, there is still some lingering relevance to the statement that “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
The events at Mocha have already been adequately dealt with in articles, at least one editorial and social media.
At the base of this matter are two issues which constitute the burden of this article First, it is the apparent politicising of the enforcing arm of the government, the Guyana Police Force and Ministry of Works and second, the capricious and lopsided allocation of state lands to citizens including a different approach to squatting in different areas..
Footage I’ve seen and statements from those present including a policeman, (who I will not identify) shows the barbarity and cruelty of certain members of the Police Force and of course, those who operate these bulldozers and other machinery to demolish homes of residents of the area appropriately named Pepper Field.
In one case the bulldozer demolished a concrete structure wantonly destroying family heirlooms, documents, additionally the bulldozer returned to flatten to the ground, cases of drinks which the owner was not given the opportunity to salvage.
Then there was Ms. Eastman who was thrown to the ground in mud and the brutal battering she received where a policeman placed his knees on her back reminding us of the days of the inhumane treatment by the plantation owners.
I find President Ali’s justification for this inhumane and brutal treatment of ordinary people and their homesteads, who are not compromising the new road, disgusting, disgraceful and degenerated. I smell a rat getting stinker.
I hope that an investigation into this cruelty and inhumanity will take place and the ranks be disciplined, if not we must assume that this descent into the dismal path has the power and support of the President and the Cabinet. Who gave the orders for this act of indecency and inhumanity? Or is it that One Guyana means treating some as human beings and others as scums and dregs to be swept away at the behest of the new Massa?
During the day I engaged certain members of the PPP hierarchy and informed them that my intelligence on the ground was that the ranks deployed at Mocha were given orders to arrest MP Amanza Walton-Desir. Persons claimed they were unaware of what was taking place at Mocha, and, I pose this question – Is the Government, notwithstanding the pros and cons of this issue, determined to split this country asunder along the racial and economic lines?
Based on my experience when during my tenure as Mayor, I saw a diagram of the Durban Park area in the office of the HPS, where this area including the site of the new Fire Station is being built was to be allocated to persons of one ethnic group and known supporters of the Party in Office.
I drew this to the attention of the then President Janet Jagan and in fairness to her she intervened and stopped this scheme.
A similar story was when even after burying coins on Parade Ground and promising to have an 1823 Monument erected on an Emancipation Day, it came to my attention that Bai Shan Ling was promised this sacred area for parking and other purposes. When an approach was made to me as Mayor to use Parade Ground for economic purposes, I rejected, pointing out (a) that the city is already short of open spaces, but (b) of greater significance, that area was sacred ground because in 1823, when the slave uprising was crushed, many of the revolutionaries were rounded up, had their heads cut off and blood dripping, put on stakes around that area, known as Parade Ground, now Independence Square.
Of interest, the PPP without consulting anyone built the Monument at a site off the seawall.
It is the same attitude which allowed the PPP Government to take away the Luckhoo Swimming Pool area belonging to the M&CC for the building of the Marriott Hotel, even after our best known International artiste, Eddie Grant was given provisional permission to establish a cultural educational facility.
The houses at Mocha are not in the path of the road, but there may be some validity in the belief that once the road construction is completed, those lands alongside the road will have great value, of course, those folks because of what they look like must not benefit. A sort of economic genocide.
Every story has two sides but a President or Government that is serious about this one Guyana nancy-story would negotiate seriously with patience and understanding
If this Government is serious about uniting and not dividing, they would formally and informally consult and engage the groups that speak for and representatives for the people of Mocha.
I know the area fairly well, since it was part of the Houston Constituency, where I was a Candidate for the PNC in 1961, and as Minister of Works more than a decade later, when the idea that was then called the Georgetown by-pass was proposed, care was taken by the engineers who designed the project to ensure the homesteads and the activity of tending to cattle were not disturbed.
I don’t know how much variation took place with this Eccles and New Diamond area but the underlying principle disturbing people living there ought not to be disturbed, remains intact.
The impression one gets is that we have a Government who cares little for certain folks and as someone said to me earlier today, they are deliberately attempting to ferment strife in this country.and feel as we have seen elsewhere, they can use enforcing arms of the State to achieve the objective where One Guyana translates to mean, as we heard in the late 50s, awe pun top and the rest of us like vermin must not share equally in the wealth of our country.
Of course, this same week, land titles are given to squatters, and I emphasise squatters in Region 3. I ask this question, what is the difference with the squatters at Mocha and the squatters at Greenwich Railway Embankment (Stewartville/Uitvlugt Sideline Dam and Tuchen)?
I’ve complimented those who crafted editorials and comments I’ve read recently and ask them not to give up. To tell my friends who said to me, it is time to put on your battle gear, that we must avoid that state of affairs.
Let these thoughts and others help us to live together in peace and as we look around the world, President Ali and his Advisors must take this wise counsel that “When cow a go slaughterhouse, he nah care wah he do.”
So you give some folks one million dollars for one day’s dholl puri at Mon Repos who are operating on the roadside but at Mocha there was no such kind consideration for this demonstration of brutishness.
Law abiding citizens must demand an apology for this demonstration of brutishness. Shakespeare’s line from Julius Caesar is appropriate “Men have lost their reason and fled to brutish beasts.”