Discrimination, negligence widespread at Orealla/ Siparuta -AFC

The AFC says that a team of party officials who recently visited the community of Orealla/Siparuta, in the Corentyne River, were told by community leaders that they know “very little” of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

This was one of several issues which were raised during a visit by party members, including its Prime Ministerial Candidate Sheila Holder and Hinterland Coordinator Martin Cheong, during the visit on June 25 and June 26.

The purpose of the visit was to interact with residents with regard to issues and grievances affecting them.

According to the AFC, of foremost concern of residents of Orealla was the partisan position taken by a senior member the Village Council known to be a prominent PPP activist. The AFC said that it has discovered that while PPP supporters are treated favourably, persons with no connection to the ruling party are discriminated against.

In a statement, the party said that residents have made complaints that the PPP supporters in the community have easy access to farmlands while others do not. The party stated that, “It is clear that the partisan approach as well as ineptitude of the PPP apparatus in Orealla has divided the community. The AFC unequivocally condemns this form of political favouritism which is clearly abrasive to the norms and practices of democratic rule.”

Another issue which was raised by residents was the treatment meted out to residents by police officers stationed in the area. The AFC noted that residents have expressed concern that the police officers “frivolously” lock up persons and subsequently demand substantial bail to release them. The AFC said that it will investigate the matter further.

In addition, the party stated its team was surprised to discover that all cellular phones being used by Orealla and Siparuta residents are from Suriname while the only communication contact villagers have is with Suriname radio. The GT&T public phone in Orealla has been down for some time, the party noted.

The AFC noted too that its team discovered that a villager was able to get legal instruments for 15 acre of land on the Suriname border in the Corentyne River from the Suriname government, with which he was able to secure bank loans in Guyana. The party said that the understanding residents have with Suriname’s Hinterland Minister is that once they farm on the land, full free hold title will be given to them individually.

“It is very evident that the PPP administration has no plan to integrate such communities into the mainstream of development. The development of such communities cannot be planned in Georgetown but must have a strong input from the community itself,” the party stated.

It noted that an AFC administration “would be cognizant of such and would vigorously pursue a life of betterment for the residents of these outlying communities based on its programme for Guyana’s and more particularly, hinterland development.”

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