I begin this letter by stating that the Rupununi Region should punish the PPP/C by not voting for them. The PPP/C is only interested in our votes and not about the people. Every five years they strut around the Rupununi, bearing gifts like in the days of the early Europeans, only to leave us grappling with our many burdens for the next five.
Everyone knows that the life-line of the Rupununi is the road link from Linden. During the rains of last year, that road was churned into a pulp by the many vehicles that traversed it daily. The government rushed to effect emergency repairs, and Minister Benn personally was present. I don’t know what transpired out there, but there was talk of the contractor and the Minister being at odds over the material to be used. Needless to say, the road was not fixed to the satisfaction of most residents. It would be interesting to know the amount those emergency works cost the taxpayers.
While traversing the road on a regular basis between August last year and March of this year, I noticed a team camped out on the Hunt Oil stretch of road for that period. They had all the machinery to carry out effective repairs, at least to the troublesome Hunt Oil Road. What was amazing was that for that period absolutely nothing was done to the road by this crew. Instead these guys were seen catching fish or birds. It was one big, long picnic.
One day in March I stopped and asked the supervisor when they are hoping to start the repairs. The guy boldly told me that they were waiting on the Brazilians and that they were instructed to move camp to Mertezeiro to fix the Karasabai road. On my return three days later, the camp was moved and the guys continued their picnic in the vicinity of Good Hope, out of sight of passers-by. The Karasabai road is still to be fixed. I wonder how much that picnic cost the taxpayers.
Lo and behold, the rains came again this year, and we heard again, that a team is being dispatched to do emergency works. Is Mr Benn serious? Or is he taking the Rupununi people for granted? Well I am calling on all patriotic and intelligent Rupununians to reject this crass assault on our intelligence and livelihood. They have seen how the ineptitude of the government in relation to this important corridor, has caused the cost of living to sky-rocket, while the standard of living for the ordinary folk has plummeted.
As I am writing, there are approximately three large trucks stuck just 45 miles from Lethem with food and other supplies for residents. The owners have to use smaller vehicles to shuttle in food, which is giving rise to the increased costs.
Then we have the electricity situation. It is no high science to determine that every year, at a particular time, the rains would come and cause some hardships to the people. The floods have receded a long time ago and the community is still subject to rationed electricity. The cause? Shortage of fuel. The little Caesars at the powerhouse certainly did not do their homework. One would have thought that as the rainy season approached, the management at the power house would have stockpiled adequate fuel to last them during our ‘winter.’ That exercise would have called for some science. Is it therefore that these cabals are incapable of conducting such an exercise, Editor? If that is the case then they should all pack up and go home. The citizenry is just fed up with the mediocrity that has categorized the services rendered in this part of the country.
The situation has one second- guessing the electricity supply. I did a log for this past week, and there is no uniformity in the change-over from one plant to the next. People have expensive appliances that can be damaged when the power cuts off suddenly and just as suddenly is returned. There has been no notification of these power cuts due to the change-over of engines. In fact it is a privilege when the power company does any notifications. I can hardly wait for the passing of the Access to Information Act, or whatever it is called.
Recently, tractors were issued to every village. These machines are expected to be used for transportation purposes. People will be able to be transported to various venues where the PPP/C has their meetings and rallies, like the congress they had around the Easter weekend. But don’t the people deserve more? Can you imagine travelling in a trailer, pulled by a tractor, on the kinds of roads we have? The doctors will be very busy. One would have thought that given the tractors, ploughs would have accompanied them since a tractor is an agricultural tool. But it does not seem to be in the interest of the PPP/C to have the people farm the land.
Then there are the land issues. There are three cases in point here in the Rupununi:
1. A few families were occupying a plot of land at San Jose, for quite a long time. They were shocked when they were issued with eviction notices by a party person who was granted a lease for a large acreage, which took in the plot that the families were accustomed to calling home.
2. Another party comrade was given title to lands that included a creek that Amerindians would, from time immemorial, use as fishing grounds. A group of men were unceremoniously chased off the creek and warned not to return.
3. A former senior official went in to Katunarib, in the South Central Rupununi, and promised the people that he would give them a herd of goats should they sign the village title. When the title was presented, a large piece of their traditional lands was missing. Rightfully, the people refused to sign, and the goats were never presented.
Then there is the much published case of Chinese Landing Amerindian Village in the north-west of Guyana. A significant portion of their lands were allocated to a miner who, since 1995, has harassed, victimized and robbed villagers of their fair share of the proceeds.
To vote, therefore, for the PPP/C makes no sense, and by so doing residents will be joining the pack. Let us see who we are.