Money for lounge but not for work­ers

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL & WORLD NEWS -

Dear Ed­i­tor, Noth­ing this gov­ern­ment does sur­prises me any­more. They bor­rowed $30 bil­lion from Repub­lic Bank to al­legedly spend on re­fur­bish­ing the closed es­tates so as to ready them for sale. This is, per­haps, the largest sin­gle do­mes­tic bor­row­ing in the his­tory of this coun­try. This de­ci­sion by it­self is quite dis­con­cert­ing.

Why spend scarce fi­nan­cial re­sources to re­fur­bish as­sets that you in­tend to sell as only the pur­chaser will ben­e­fit from the im­prove­ments? In any event, no sen­si­ble de­tails were made pub­lic in re­la­tion to what ex­actly will be re­fur­bished.

More­over, $17 bil­lion of this $30 bil­lion dol­lars was dis­bursed over two months ago and is ly­ing idle in a NICIL bank ac­count at­tract­ing in­ter­est at a rate of mil­lions of dol­lars per month. As far as we are aware, not a cent has been ex­pended for the pur­pose for which it was bor­rowed. Repub­lic Bank, the lender, had cause to pub­licly com­plain that the monies are be­ing used to liq­ui­date ex­ist­ing li­a­bil­i­ties with other com­mer­cial banks and not for the pur­pose for which it was bor­rowed.

Then, the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, un­der whose re­spon­si­bil­ity GuySuCo falls, in an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic out­burst to the press pleaded his gen­uine ig­no­rance about why this $30 bil­lion was bor­rowed in the first place and claims that he knows noth­ing about where it is and for what use it will be put!

As if this is not bizarre enough, we now learn that mil­lions of dol­lars have been spent in the con­struc­tion of a mod­ern re­lax­ation and re­cre­ation fa­cil­ity at LBI Es­tate Com­pound, known as ‘The Es­tate Lounge’.

So money can be found to build a well-ap­pointed, air-con­di­tioned rum shop for the elit­ists to wine and dine, but monies can­not be found to pay the 7,000 work­ers, whose fam­i­lies have been placed on the bread­line, their sev­er­ance pay to which they are law­fully en­ti­tled. And this recre­ational joint is built in the Es­tate’s com­pound within the clear sight of the work­ers and their suf­fer­ing fam­i­lies who won­der daily from where the next meal will come!

This must be one of the most in­con­sid­er­ate, in­sen­si­tive and cal­lous gov­ern­ments ever! Yours faith­fully, Mo­habir Anil Nand­lall, MP Dear Ed­i­tor, Work­ers’ right to sev­er­ance was re­cently de­scribed in deroga­tory terms. Mil­lions can be found to fund and fur­nish a sports bar while work­ers have to wait on their due. Could this ever be right? Yours faith­fully, Shamshun Mo­hamed

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