…in “ancestral” lands
Well, your Eyewitness is happy the CoI into African “ancestral lands” has finally started its work. For the longest while, there was the dispute as to whether Amerindian land ownership was also going to fall under the CoI’s auspices; but, thankfully, the Government has decided to drop that — hopefully permanently. No percentage in stirring up THAT ants’ nest!!
Your Eyewitness’s happiness was precipitated by his hope that, at long last, he’ll be able to get some clarity as to exactly what is “African ancestral land”. He knew that after the abolition of slavery, against all odds, the newly freed slaves bought estates that were being abandoned right, left and centre. Was this the “ancestral land” that needed a CoI? But if it was bought, wouldn’t the title have been conveyed, and so we would all know exactly who owned the lands?
But it isn’t that simple. Your Eyewitness knew also that, after the abolition of slavery, the planters wanted to have their (sugar) cake and eat it too! They received their compensation from Britain for slaves that up to then had been “property”, but still wanted to keep the freed men and women bound on the plantations. Selling plantation lands to the latter would make them independent of the planters, and this they fought tooth and nail to stop.
They persuaded the government of the day — which was, in any case, there to look after their interests — to pass laws that mandated land could only be sold in blocks of a minimum of 100 acres! This they felt would be beyond the capabilities of the slaves, even though they’d been working for wages during the “Apprenticeship Period”, between 1834 and 1838; or had saved up from sales to each other of produce from their provision grounds.
But the freed Africans outfoxed the machinations of the planters and POOLED their money, and bought the plantations jointly!! Now, your Eyewitness knows this can present a problem in the present, since the descendants of the original owners would all have some claim to the land that was owned jointly. So, while he understood the allocation of these “ancestral lands” would not be simple, he had all confidence it could be resolved without having Solomon necessarily reincarnated. Just advertise that all who had claims present them within a given time frame!
What confused your Eyewitness was when some folks started writing letters in the press about lands that weren’t in the original deeds and are now occupied by other race groups being “ancestral” — and therefore would have to be seized. This would be a retrograde step.
Could the COI therefore define “African ancestral lands” ASAP?
…in procuring pharma
When will the rape of the Treasury via pharma-contracts be brought under control? Not stopped completely; we know that’ll never happen in this or any other government, man being man and all that. But at least not be done so blatantly that it’s like the Rape of the Sabine Women! Your Eyewitness firmly believes that, because there wasn’t even the perfunctory CoI into the warehouse scam and the ANSA outrage, the latest rape took place, and more’s in the offing.
Imagine: a particular company had been nabbed selling almost expired drugs to this Govt, but kept getting contracts. Imagine: the company was caught conspiring with a Govt employee to have inside knowledge of bids, but still kept getting contracts. Imagine: the company being blacklisted by the IDB for shady practices, but was still able to be awarded a M contract!!
And to rub salt into the wound, the company’s Trinidadian — a country where no Guyanese company is allowed to bid on pharma contracts!
Think something na regulah?
Pressie will now have a new 1823 Monument built at Parade Ground, where the slaves were executed.
Shouldn’t we pull down the one those dastardly PPP people placed at the start of East Coast, where the rebellion occurred?