The Peoples Progressive Party Civic Administration (PPP/C) has done more than the previous APNU/AFC Administration to empower African Communities through its deliberate policy that targets housing, land, jobs, health, and economic prosperity under the ‘One Guyana’ Platform.
So, Government does not discriminate against Afro-Guyanese since the PPP/C believes that every person in Guyana must have equal access to the development patrimony of the nation.
This is the position being articulated by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall S.C. as he poured cold water on the current wave of accusations that the PPP/C government is discriminating against the Afro-Guyanese Community.
Nandlall, speaking Tuesday on his weekly programme ‘Issues in the News’, was very adamant that the successive PPP/C governments have a long track record of ensuring that they carry the development goods and services to all Guyanese including the Afro-Guyanese.
He compared the track record of PPP governments against that of PNC/APNU/AFC Successive governments, concluding that the PPP’s governments have done significantly more for Afro-Guyanese.
Minister Nandlall made it clear that in two years, the PPP/C has distributed more house-lots, and scholarships to Afro-Guyanese than last five years of the PNC/APNU+AFC term in office, proving there is no discrimination.
Recognizing that education is key to empowerment, he examined the statistics of how many Afro-Guyanese benefitted from the scholarships under the successive PPP/C Governments as opposed to the PNC-led APNU+AFC government.
The learned Attorney General said further that there is no discrimination either in the administration’s Cuban scholarships Programme.
The Ethnic Relations Commission had conducted a wide spread investigation into the claims of ethnic discrimination and found nothing of substance against the PPP on the issues related specifically to Cuban Scholarship.
Meanwhile, the AG said the opposition politicians continue to spread their lies about discrimination in education, denying many young and talented persons a chance to use the vehicle that the government has provided to them for empowerment, and a way out of poverty.
The Legal Affairs Minister speaking about the government GOAL project noted last year, PPP Government had delivered surpassed its target, providing Guyanese students with 5000 or more free scholarships. This year, he said, over 7000 scholarships have been allotted to Guyanese students thousands of them being Afro-Guyanese.
“We don’t have to go into communities to advertise and speak about a program like that. We can put an advertisement in the newspaper inviting persons to apply. You know what we did? We went into every single village in this country. On the East Coast of Demerara, we went into to every single community, Buxton, Melanie, Golden Grove, Nabaclis, Mahaica, Plaisance…every single African community and spoke to them, encouraging them to go and apply for this scholarship”, the Attorney General said.
He went on to say, “they were on the ground telling the people, don’t turn up to the meetings. Don’t take the Scholarships. I confronted that on the ground in the communities. They are telling their supporters, don’t be educated. They are denying their supporters’ children an education. And they want to see that the PPP is discriminating. And that is the mantra. But they don’t they can’t come with facts to support that baseless allegation.”
This is in sharp contrast to what was obtained under the previous Administration.
He declared that the few persons that got the scholarships under the APNU+AFC Administration. He said that they had other political motives which was seen when their own Ministers, minister’s children and close associates were chosen.
He provided the evidence which says is the proof of the APNU+AFC double standards and misinformation on the subject of discrimination.
Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Darren Wade, Nicolette Henry, and Annette Ferguson among others, he noted, benefitted from scholarships not the ordinary Afro-Guyanese children.
State Lands/Lease Lands
Moving to the issue of state lands and lease lands, the AG said the PPP has given more for Afro-Guyanese when compared to APNU.
“When we were in Government, we gave out state lands to West Coast Berbice Afro-Guyanese…Rice lands…the Ramotar administration did that. When Granger come into Government, he took away the lands from 50 Guyanese families…. While in opposition, on behalf of the PPP, I went to Court and won those lands back for those families. They defended the cases through their Attorney-General and lost. Then they filed appeal. I withdrew those appeals when I became Attorney General. So, in and out of Government, we have done more for Afro-Guyanese than APNU/AFC did for them”, the Attorney General reported.
The AG noted that he is only interested in making factual arguments and stating the evidence that is there in every sector for the world to see or verify.
He said he listened keenly and could not believe that the opposition politicians know that they are telling the public half-truth or being a stranger to the truth.
“…But they go into the African Communities on Emancipation Day…to mislead and spew a narrative of discord and discrimination,” the AG said.
The legal affairs minister said “Linden is their favourite hunting ground to play the game of discrimination”.
He said there is no policy of discrimination that the PPP/C Governments have against the mining town.
The AG said that the town in 2021 got more resources when compared to what was given in any year during the entire five-year period of the last regime.
“But they will go to Linden and say that the people of Linden are being discriminated against…Let me remind you of another statistic. Up to now, the people of Guyana and the PPP Government is paying the bill for region Ten, billions of dollars…But if you give this sugar workers some money, it’s racism and is discrimination. These are facts. But they don’t want to talk facts. They spew a jaundiced narrative and that is why we have to constantly put the facts out there”, he said.
From 2006 to 2011, the PPP/C Government gave land to hundreds of small and medium scale loggers.
Up to the time of 2015, when the previous administration took office, they chased away Bai-Shan Lin out of the country, bankrupting dozens of families in Linden. These families burrowed money to buy equipment to supply logs that company. That company owed those people millions of dollars for logs already supplied. More importantly, it was the only market that people had for their logs.
“We don’t speak loose propaganda”, Minister Nandlall said before he noted that the so-called Afro-Guyanese have not done anything for their communities or supporters.
He made no apologies for opining that “this so- called African leadership talk much but deliver very little …the truth must be confronted”.
Nandlall made it clear that the PPP Government will continue to adumbrate their policies of inclusivity and equality throughout Guyana regardless of the propaganda and misinformation that is spread. He was confident in declaring that the current government would always rebut and rebuff the allegations made because no one administration should ever be allowed to discrimination purposely against the six people of Guyana. (Department of Public Information)