The Sleepin Saga: The government has fallen to a new low
ing sports and health tourism (that was why we were also building a specialty hospital to serve the Guyana people firstly, but also to attract foreigners to use the facilities). The position included making Guyana a destination for conferences and also for education tourism.
This is why the PPP/C government worked closely with all hotel owners and persons with tourist businesses; most if not all benefited from concessions by the administration.
In the case of the Sleepin Hotel, the government committed to grant a casino license if the owner built a hotel comprising one hundred and fifty rooms.
It was on that commitment that the owner of Sleepin put in his own resources and also sought an international partner to finance this project.
This project will create jobs for more than three hundred persons. It will expand our country‘s accommodation facilities and offer a world class service to its clientele.
It is a bold initiative and an has proven to be an excellent tourism lure for our country as a whole.
Entrepreneurs like Mr. Bacchus would be highly valued in most countries of the world.
Why then has the regime become so vicious to this initiative, which is certainly good for our country?
The first reason is because Mr. Clifton Bacchus and I are good friends. The pattern of this regime is to try to punish persons because of their association / friendship with opposition politicians.
Recall that some three dozen landless Afro – Guyanese farmers from Seafield and No. 40 Village West Coast Berbice were granted fifty years leases to farm in the MMA area by the PPP/C government.
When this regime came to power, it seized the people’s lands. Moreover, it attempted to have PNC activists in the area reap the farmers’ crops. That was prevented by court action. The court recently ruled that the act of taking back the land was unconstitutional.
The regime attempted to repossess the land because it was granted by the PPP/C government. That did not fit with their racist propaganda and they branded those beneficiaries ‘PPP/C supporters’, thus the hostility.
We must not forget also that the tactic of saying Mr. Bacchus and his associates were being investigated by SOCU is the same means that was used to remove IndoGuyanese professionals from their jobs in government.
It was the same method that was applied in an attempt to embarrass senior personnel of the PPP/C administration. SOCU had publicly arrested many former officials, who were taken to their office for questioning based on the allegation that they were investigating one thing or the other.
No investigation appears to be going on. Their actions were clearly driven by the PNC /APNU for political purposes.
SOCU is rapidly degenerating into a political tool for the PNC/APNU.
Another of Mr. Bacchus “sins” is the fact that he rented his premises to the PPP/C for public meetings, discussions and other activities. That is why they are trying to discredit him.
Compare that to when the APNU was in the opposition and were taking “New Nation” to be distributed at Sleepin. No one in the PPP/C administration ever said anything to its owner about this.
The main reason for this attack on Sleepin appears to be that they want to give the casino license to someone who they can get major kickbacks from. These persons are some of their financers. However, these persons still have not reached the requirements. They have not invested in hotel accommodation.
We see that pattern in many areas of government activities these days. Whenever they want to do some unusual transactions with their friends, like giving them contracts, they first attack the traditional stakeholders in that field. For instance, contracts for drugs are being given to friends of the regime disregarding the procurement laws. Even a bottom house is rented to store drugs at some $ 14M per month. Hardly any drugs are stored there because of the unsuitability of the place.
It is hard not to conclude that many kickbacks and other forms of corruption are taking place throughout the regime.
These persons in this regime seem not to care who they damage in their lies and slander. Their vindictiveness is very pronounced. They don’t care about providing evidence or anything like that, they are just out to throw mud and destroy.
It is behaviour like this that made us one of the poorest countries in the world under an earlier PNC regime. It is this kind of action that will erode the substantial gains we made in the recent past and condemn us to perpetual underdevelopment.
Bribery and corruption are already enveloping our country.
Finally the attack on Sleepin violates the oath they took on assuming power. They swore to govern without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
Many of their actions are designed to generate fear in people’s minds. This act is certainly full of ill will. It is anti-employment, anti-progress and immoral, to say the least. It is also anti-national.
Using the state apparatus, the Guyana Chronicle, to libel persons they don’t like is possibly the fulfillment of their promise to follow the path blazed by Burnham.
The outcome would be no different - poverty, shortages, blackouts, pothole roads etc.
It is not too late to change course.