…“victimisation” by Govt for column, claims Ryhaan Shah
The management of Alim Shah Stores, Regent Street and Corentyne, notes that their stores have been dropped from Government’s School Uniform Voucher programme for the first time since the programme began under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.
From the list issued by the Education Ministry in its full page advertisement it appears that Alim Shah is the only business that has been singled out for omission this year. The management feels that this is a direct result of Alim Shah’s daughter, Ryhaan Shah, a columnist of Guyana Times, being critical of the Granger Administration.
According to Ryhaan Shah, “as an Indian rights activist” she was also very critical of the PPP/C Government but her father’s business was never singled out for victimisation under that government. She feels Guyana is moving once again into dangerous territory where “criticism of the Government is being stifled and any critics will be aware that they will pay a heavy price.”
Since the Alim Shah stores provide competitively priced school uniforms, the management feels that while government’s decision to drop the stores might affect business, the shops will continue to do back-to-school business. “It will also affect the local manufacturers who employ people to sew the uniforms for us, but we’ll all manage,” Alim Shah said.
Alim Shah has been in business since 1947 and noted that the business survived the worst of the Burnham era: “Being dropped is a setback but we’ll continue to do business. Our good prices and product will continue to attract customers. I’m very disappointed with the Granger Government’s decision but I’ve lived through it all and this will not break us.”
Ryhaan Shah says she is very troubled that government has taken this decision to “victimise her father and her father’s business. He’s 90 years old and has never hurt anyone. This is plain cowardice. Why not come after me?” she said.