EYEWITNESS: Development…


…and land conundrum

Your Eyewitness is still trying to wrap his head around these charges the PNC-led Government – via their proxy, SOCU – has brought (and will bring, according to their Chronic) against ex-Finance Minister Singh and ex-NICIL head Brassington. Now, after all the accusations that were hurled against them, and the rest of the PPP officials when in office — about “billions and billions siphoned off” from the Government’s coffers — he’s trying to figure how exactly the “siphoning off” occurred in the land transactions cited.

So your Eyewitness will state, as clearly as he can, his understanding of what the Govt/SOCU might be claiming to get this CRIMINAL charge of “misconduct in public officials” to stick. The lands were either valued by an appraiser much higher than the selling price – or else there was no valuation done to provide a baseline. But are they also saying the difference between the two sets of FIGURES was “siphoned off” into the pockets of the two ex-officials??

In a word, were there some under-the-table payoffs made by the purchasers of the lands to the accused? That’s what partisans of the Government believe, going by their comments on blogs and social media – not to mention columns in the Muckraker. But if that’s the case, how come the transactions to MovieTown and Deripaska are cited and not the ones to Giftland and GBTI for their HQ??
The latter were sold for just as much less than their valuations as the former.

By their differential treatment of the two identical sets of transactions, are they signalling no “siphoning off” occurred in the latter?? This would then suggest that the Govt/SOCU have a paper trail (electronic or otherwise) on the “siphoned funds” into the pockets of the two ex-officials. But the Govt/SOCU haven’t even SUGGESTED such a trail to Singh and Brassington. And believe your Eyewitness – they would’ve been screaming from the rooftops if they even had a hint!

If no “smoking bank deposits” exist, then the charges can only be justified by claiming the “opportunity costs” of the difference between the valuations and the selling prices lost to the Government were done in such an egregious manner that would lead to CRIMINAL culpability of the two individuals now in the docks!! But if that’s the case, then all of the “undervalued” land sold by the previous Government — and THIS PNC ONE — should lead to criminal charges of “misconduct in public officials”!!

Weren’t all of the land sold for the industrial estates, housing drives, and to attract FGI sold at below their “market values” – even going by infrastructural costs expended?

But it’s all about spite and bile, isn’t it?

…or underdevelopment of rice??

The Chronic’s bigging up PM Nagamootoo for the Mexican paddy market opened up after he happened to be attending a meeting in that country when his Government lost the Venezuelan market. Now, nothing is wrong with this playing to the political gallery. Nagamootoo, after all, is fighting desperately for political relevance post-2020!!

But what’s criminal (misconduct?) is the point sought to be made: that the rice industry’s doing better than ever! They would want us to forget that RICE production passed 600,000 tonnes way back in 2014, and no matter how they slice it, dice it, or puree it, the prices then – buoyed by Venezuela absorbing more than one-third of that – were almost DOUBLE the present prices.

This present boasting isn’t only unfair to the poor paddy farmers and the rest of the RICE industry, but destructive to future prospects for the viability of the industry. Most farmers still eke out a living on five acres or less, and if prices aren’t improved, they’ll be doomed.

Like their cohorts in sugar. Is that the plan?

…and EU?

President Granger missed the opportunity to remind the EU Ambassador that unilateral scrapping of the Sugar Protocol doesn’t augur well for the ACP negotiations in 2010.

But then he’s also a unilateralist!!



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