The revelations by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo — about the allocation of land to certain Government functionaries — are startling, and the responses are alarming!
Jagdeo alleges that, after the passage of the NCM in Government, people with access to sensitive Government plans to develop certain oil-related infrastructure secured land that can be flipped for fortunes. The implication is that these applications were fast-tracked, without the requisite business plans or demonstrated access to capital to develop the lands.
For starters, every Guyanese — regardless of race, creed, class, political affiliation, or resident status — should be entitled to obtain land, as long as they can show that they can put the land to productive use. The land is Guyana’s patrimony, belonging to ALL Guyanese. If someone wants to get a piece of land to build a house or a palace; fine, have it. This cannot include the holding of land for speculative purposes, especially if the speculation is based on “insider” information. Acquiring land on the basis of such information is corruption, and should be treated as such.
All leases granted after the passage of the NCM should be subject to review. And, further — bad news for the lessees — all land acquired as part of corrupt deals should fall under the ambit of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, and the OECD Convention on Preventing the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in Internationals Business Transactions.
So, folks, you have entered into bad deals! You will not be saved by SOCU or SARA or ‘Jane’. Uncle Sam will look at the transactions, and no American company will purchase or lease from you land corruptly acquired. Please check www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa for further information. They have already been alerted to look out for these transactions.