Home Letters Since when did Guyana’s land belong to Benn to allocate as he...
The revelations by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo — about the allocation of land to certain Government functionaries — are startling, and the responses are alarming!
Jagdeo alleges that, after the passage of the Motion of No Confidence (MCN) in Government, people with access to sensitive Government plans to develop certain oil-related infrastructure secured land that can be flipped for fortunes. The implication is that these applications were fast-tracked, without the requisite business plans or demonstrated access to capital to develop the lands.
For starters, every Guyanese — regardless of race, creed, class, political affiliation, or resident status — should be entitled to obtain land, as long as they can show that they can put the land to productive use. The land is Guyana’s patrimony, belonging to ALL Guyanese. If someone wants to get a piece of land to build a house or a palace; fine, have it. This cannot include the holding of land for speculative purposes, especially if the speculation is based on “insider” information. Acquiring land on the basis of such information is corruption, and should be treated as such.
All leases granted after the passage of the MCN should be subject to review. And, further — bad news for the lessees — all land acquired as part of corrupt deals should fall under the ambit of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, and the OECD Convention on Preventing the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in Internationals Business Transactions.
So, folks, you have entered into bad deals! You will not be saved by SOCU or SARA or ‘Jane’. Uncle Sam will look at the transactions, and no American company will purchase or lease from you land corruptly acquired. Please check www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa for further information. They have already been alerted to look out for these transactions.
The most alarming of all is the land allocation to GECOM CEO, Keith Lowenfield. Keith Lowenfield got 216 acres at Millie’s Hideout (not a hideout again) and two acres at Mocha subsequent to the passage of the MCN?
Now, Keith, as a big man, you ought to know that, in the upcoming election, you don’t just have to be clean, but like Caesar’s wife, Pompeia, you have to be above suspicion. Give back the people their land, and resign immediately. Don’t wait for the new GECOM board to fire you. You will fight it all the way to the CCJ and you will lose. And you cannot delay the election, because GECOM could suspend you with pay while you exhaust your legal remedies. You get the drift?
The most fascinating part of all this is that Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Trevor Benn, has threatened to sic the Police on Jagdeo and his employees for stealing his clients’ confidential information. His clients’ confidential information? Since when did the land of Guyana belong to Benn to allocate as he sees fit? Does not the Opposition Leader have a right to bring to the Public’s attention suspicious transactions?