THE People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration (PPP/C) has done more than the previous administration to empower African communities through their deliberate policy that targets housing, land, jobs, health, and economic prosperity under the “One Guyana” platform.
So, the government does not discriminate against Afro-Guyanese since the PPP/C believes that every person in Guyana must have equal access to the development patrimony of the nation.
This is the position being articulated by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall S.C., as he poured cold water on the current wave of accusations that the PPP/C government is discriminating against the Afro-Guyanese community.
Nandlall, during his weekly programme ‘Issues in the News,’ was very adamant that successive PPP/C governments have a long track record of ensuring that they carry the development, goods and services to all Guyanese including Afro-Guyanese.
He compared the track record of PPP/C governments to that of PNC/APNU/AFC successive governments, concluding that the PPP governments have done significantly more for Afro-Guyanese.
Minister Nandlall made it clear that in two years, the PPP/C has distributed more house-lots, and scholarships to Afro-Guyanese than the last five years of the PNC/APNU+AFC’s term in office, proving there is no discrimination.
Acknowledging that education is key to empowerment, the Attorney-General outlined the statistics of how many Afro-Guyanese benefitted from the scholarships under successive PPP/C governments, as opposed to the PNC-led APNU+AFC government.
He related that there is also no discrimination in the administration’s Cuban scholarships programme.
The Ethnic Relations Commission had conducted widespread investigations into the claims of ethnic discrimination and found nothing of substance against the PPP on the issues related specifically to the Cuban scholarships.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General said the opposition politicians continue to spread their lies about discrimination in education, denying many young and talented persons a chance to use the vehicle that the government has provided to them for empowerment, and a way out of poverty.
The Legal Affairs Minister, speaking about the government’s GOAL project, noted that last year the PPP government had delivered above its target, providing Guyanese students with 5,000 or more free scholarships.
This year, he said, over 7,000 scholarships have been allotted to Guyanese students, thousands of whom are Afro-Guyanese.
“We don’t have to go into communities to advertise and speak about a programme like that. We can put an advertisement in the newspaper inviting persons to apply. You know what we did? We went into every single village in this country.
“On the East Coast of Demerara, we went into every single community, Buxton, “Melanie,” Golden Grove, Nabaclis, Mahaica, Plaisance…every single African community and spoke to them, encouraging them to go and apply for this scholarship,” the Attorney-General said.
He went on to say: “They were on the ground telling the people, don’t turn up to the meetings. Don’t take the scholarships. I confronted that on the ground in the communities. They are telling their supporters, don’t be educated. They are denying their supporters’ children an education. And they want to see that the PPP is discriminating. And that is the mantra. But they don’t they can’t come with facts to support that baseless allegation.”
This is in sharp contrast to what obtained under the previous administration. Nandlall related that few persons got scholarships under the APNU+AFC administration. He said that they had other political motives which were seen when their own ministers, ministers’ children and close associates were chosen.
He provided the evidence of the APNU+AFC’s double standards and misinformation on the subject of discrimination.
Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Darren Wade, Nicolette Henry, and Annette Ferguson among others, he noted, benefitted from scholarships, not the ordinary Afro-Guyanese children.
STATE LANDS/LEASE LANDS
Moving to the issue of state lands and leased lands, the Attorney-General said the PPP/C has given more to Afro-Guyanese when compared to APNU.
“When we were in government, we gave out state lands to West Coast Berbice Afro-Guyanese…Rice lands…the Ramotar administration did that. When Granger come into government, he took away the lands from 50 Guyanese families.
“While in opposition, on behalf of the PPP, I went to court and won those lands back for those families. They defended the cases through their Attorney-General and lost. Then they filed [an] appeal. I withdrew those appeals when I became Attorney-General. So, in and out of government, we have done more for Afro-Guyanese than APNU+AFC did for them,” the Attorney-General said.
He noted that he is only interested in making factual arguments, and related that the evidence is there in every sector for the world to see or verify.
Nandlall related that he listened keenly and could not believe that the opposition politicians know that they are telling the public half-truths or being strangers to the truth.
“…But they go into the African communities on Emancipation Day…to mislead and spew a narrative of discord and discrimination,” the Attorney-General said.
The Legal Affairs Minister said: “Linden is their favourite hunting ground to play the game of discrimination.”
He said there is no policy of discrimination that the PPP/C governments have against the mining town.
The Attorney-General said that the town in 2021 got more resources when compared to what was given in any year during the entire five-year period of the last regime.
“But they will go to Linden and say that the people of Linden are being discriminated against…Let me remind you of another statistic. Up to now, the people of Guyana and the PPP government are paying the bill for Region 10, billions of dollars…But if you give this sugar workers some money, it’s racism and is discrimination. These are facts. But they don’t want to talk facts. They spew a jaundiced narrative and that is why we have to constantly put the facts out there”, Nandlall said.
“In 2006 to 2011, the PPP/C government gave land to hundreds of small and medium-scale loggers.
“Up to the time of 2015, when the previous administration took office, they chased away Bai-Shan Lin out of the country, bankrupting dozens of families in Linden.
“Those families borrowed money to buy equipment to supply logs that company. That company owed those people millions of dollars for logs already supplied. More importantly, it was the only market that people had for their logs.
“We don’t speak loose propaganda,” Minister Nandlall said, noting that the so-called Afro-Guyanese have not done anything for their communities or supporters.
He made no apologies for opining that “this so- called African leadership talk much but deliver very little …the truth must be confronted.”
Nandlall made it clear that the PPP/C government will continue to adumbrate their policies of inclusivity and equality throughout Guyana, regardless of the propaganda and misinformation that is spread.
He was confident in declaring that the current government would always rebut and rebuff the allegations made because no one administration should ever be allowed to discriminate purposely against the six peoples of Guyana. (DPI)