— says Attorney-General, affirms gov’t has never been discriminatory in matters of State lands
ATTORNEY-GENERAL (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall said that the government has not been discriminatory when it comes to matters regarding State lands.
AG Nandlall made these remarks on Tuesday during his weekly Facebook programme, Issues in the News, where he responded to claims made by Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton, who alleged that the government has been discriminatory in revoking ownership of State lands.
The Opposition Leader made the statement during his press conference earlier this week, where he said that the government’s attempt to take away lands from an Afro-Guyanese woman and other African Guyanese is an indication that the administration is seeking to “impoverish African Guyanese”.
However, in response to this, the Attorney-General brought the relevant documents and transactions as he spoke on his show on Tuesday evening.
He revealed that the lands which the opposition claims have been taken back in an attempt to discriminate against the woman happen to be three acres of commercial land located at providence.
This land, he said was leased to the woman in 2017 for some 20 years and she was expected to pay US$1,950 along with VAT as a deposit and the same amount per year but never did.
“US$2,000 a year and never paid a cent from 2017 to September 2020… not even the deposit to sign the lease… not even the first month’s rent. NICIL, the landlord took back the land because there was no consideration in the contract. The contract is null and void,” Nandlall said.
He added that for Norton to say that the land was taken back because of the woman’s ethnicity shows the type of dangerous racism that is being spewed by the opposition.
While Nandlall indicated that the opposition mentioned that the government is taking legal action to get back lands, he posited that the opposition should say what process was embarked upon for those persons to receive the lands.
Many of the persons who acquired State lands under the previous administration he said are giving up the properties as they recognise the illegality of the transactions that took place.
The opposition also compared the intended regularisation of Pigeon Island to the removal of squatters in Mocha, East Bank Demerara.
At Pigeon Island, which is a squatter settlement that is more than 50 years old, most of the persons there have transport for their properties, the Attorney-General said.
He noted that as the government is working on the regularisation of persons from this area, they are also working on regularising persons in villages like No. 4 and No. 5 on the West Coast Berbice which are predominantly Afro-Guyanese villages.
“We don’t look at it on the basis of race,” he said, while adding that the government will continue to foster development for all Guyanese.