The Sleepin Saga: The govern­ment has fallen to a new low

Weekend Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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