Land deals and the allegation of discrimination

“PROPERTY is a general term for rules governing access to and control of land and other material resources. ‘Private property’ refers to a kind of system that allocates particular objects like pieces of land to particular individuals to use and manage as they please, to the exclusion of others (even others who have a greater need for the resources) and to the exclusion also of any detailed control by society.

“Though these exclusions make the idea of private property seem problematic, philosophers have often argued that it is necessary for the ethical development of the individual or for the creation of a social environment in which people can prosper as free and responsible agents”. That is an excerpt from the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy which was First published Mon. Sep 6, 2004 and the substantive revision Sat. Mar 21, 2020.
Today, this very principle is enforced in Guyana’s Land Allocation and the Distribution policies because of its value and scope.

Therefore, any Guyanese must obtain the land in a fair, legal and non-discriminatory manner that can withstand the test of scrutiny and transparency. It is expected that persons would not use their office to grant the limited resource unto themselves or their friends or even the party which they support.

This appears to be the case for Trevor Benn and the APNU+AFC Government while they were at the helm of political power and in the Executive in Government. He (Benn) is alleged to be involved in several political shady and questionable deals that run against the rules and regulation governing the land allocation process.

And when the new Irfaan Ali Government sought to regain the lands that were distributed illegally, and charge Benn, you hear talk that the Government is witch hunting professionals and discriminating against persons within a political-ethnic grouping.

But the facts will prove the steps taken by this administration are to protect the interest of all Guyanese. It was evil and sinister to hear that lands were just allegedly doled out and given to a few cronies and supporters of APNU+AFC for next to nothing or chicken feed as it is known. These are lands worth millions of dollars and are vast amounts when it comes to acreage and positions.

Afterall, Trevor Benn is alleged to have arrogated a power onto himself that former President David Granger never gave him. The President has sole legal authority to deal with State lands. The President delegated a power for Benn to rent and lease State lands.

The deals that are linked to the lands at Ogle are questionable as are the plots of land that purportedly belonged to the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Ltd (NICIL). There are many more of these scandalous land transactions of this type that the Guyana Police Force is investigating. The Constitution provides for the Guyana Police Force to hold a suspect for 72 hours.

Those who are screaming racism, let them point to how many ordinary Afro Guyanese in South Georgetown and in the villages throughout this country that Benn gave lands to? He never did. He only gave to friends and cronies of APNU+AFC.
Those who are crying race, they are only fanning the fire of racism.

That is only some of the things done in office to enrich and fatten themselves. It is wrong from any standpoint you are looking at it, but the courts will be the final judge of that. Every single Guyanese ought to be concerned about the brazen land-giveaway of the APNU+AFC when it was in Government. It’s not carelessness or discrimination. It is a sell-out of Guyana’s patrimony and resources. It should be condemned so it will never happen again.

No amount of money can account for this massive breach which took place in our lands allocation system under the watchful eyes of the APNU+AFC regime when it was in office. If this is not sanctioned, some will have an unfair advantage because of their politics. The haves will be richer and more powerful while the have-nots will sink deeper into the hole of poverty and despair.

In a country like Guyana that has a rich multi-ethnic blend and culture, the colour of one’s skin does not matter. What must matter is the strength and fairness of the decision-making and policy-apparatus of the State regime. Was it fair? Was it illegal? Was it ethical? Could it be distributed in a way that leads to the development of everyone?

The answers to those questions are best suited for a Court of Law.

Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.