President responds to “free land” offer

first_imgLess than one week after being strongly criticised by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Anil Nandlall for his offering of land as a “gift” to Caribbean victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, President David Granger rebuffed his critics over the weekend, suggesting that there ought to be more “compassion” for the plight of Caribbean people.Moments before he made his presentation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA in late September, President Granger told the international press that his country has a vast land mass which can be used as a “gift” for the affected Caribbean people to rebuild their lives.President David GrangerHowever, this did not sit well with some observers, and Nandlall has led calls for the President to first consult and seek approval of the citizens of Guyana, whom he reminded are the country’s “real land owners”. Nandlall has said that while he empathises with the Caribbean people and supports Government’s efforts to provide them assistance, the President could not take it upon himself to offer mass land to foreigners without consulting the locals.“(Neither) the Leader of the Opposition nor anyone else was informed or consulted in any manner whatsoever. Are we unimportant in the President’s mind? From whence has President Granger derived the authority to offer our patrimony and sovereign territory to foreigners?” Nandlall pointedly queried.In an address to Lindeners on Sunday, ahead of this week’s National Tree Planting Day, the Head of State, citing the impact of climate change, offered his own queries, pondering why his critics would question his move to offer help.“We are seeing frequent and fierce storms largely because of global warming, and our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean are in jeopardy, and some people are criticizing me (for) offering help. You tell me something: if your neighbour’s house burns down; he has no food, water or shelter; nothing to eat, children left exposed, wouldn’t you say, ‘Come in temporarily, let me help you get on your feet’?” the President expressed earlier this week. “People have no compassion in this world.” the Head of State further stated.He also suggested that changes must be made in altering our current practices, so as to reduce the environmental impact associated with the climate change phenomenon.“These difficulties will go on, unless we change the way we treat the environment; because climate change and global warming are the contributors to the damage to structures and deaths that are being caused,” Granger later observed.Local land issuesThere has been much controversy surrounding land-related matters in Guyana. Government earlier this year ordered a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) over the issues surrounding African ancestral lands and Amerindian land titling. The Amerindian titling aspect of the CoI was deferred.However, the Opposition has strongly condemned the land CoI, calling for it to be scrapped. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has claimed that the land CoI could create a wedge between the racial groups, setting back race relations “for many years to come”.last_img