Your editorial of October 10, 2011 seeks to paint Mr. Mortimer Mingo, Regional Chairman Region #10 and the PNCR as people and an organisation unable to work above the fray in governance with impeccable integrity.
As I read it, Mr. Mingo’s sin is that he allowed himself to be ‘roped in’ to an arrangement by the government which has all the ingredients of secrecy, clandestine intent, bold and brazen contempt and outright partiality. The PNCR’s sin is that it has spewed fire from its ‘mouth and nostrils’ akin to the mythical dragon on the deal but simultaneously has large, colossal skeletons in its closet –a la duplicity.
I deign to disagree with the conceptualization therein and propose another version which is more accurate than the speculative as we all have a penchant for sensational spin and spouting piety as if some are above ordinary mortals.
Firstly, Mr. Mortimer Mingo is a businessman involved in the real estate arena. I would not dare state his business but amongst many properties bought he has sold to persons appearing with one name but underneath are persons known and characterized as kings in the underground world in Guyana. In those circumstances of trade, are we to understand that you buy and sell on the basis of names and faces or on the maxim of business-profitability?
So then if a piece of real estate is offered to Mr. Mingo in the context of a friend in high office providing him with up to date information should he refuse the offer because they are of different political camps? Moreover, if the high official says that the offer is limited to size and space, and therefore government officials are favourably considered, should he question the official and report to his party, his private business? Where does his private business begin and end in the context of his revelations to his party?
Now that Mr. Mingo found out that in reality the offers were not as universal as he thought initially and by then the real estate began attracting disdain, moved to void himself of the transaction, he is still deemed as incredible. He revealed that he acknowledged the offer but did not state initially how that was done. We have been told by Minister Ali that Mr. Mingo acknowledged the offer with a cheque which was dishonoured. I do not know the raison d’étre for the Minister’s revelation and press conference, if it was to justify the Government’s management of the issue and in the process brand Mingo as a “two-toned’ politician, running with hares and hunting with wolves.
Whatever its intent, the voided cheque made the whole scenario clearer and revealed the whole general nature of these dealings and transactions.
(1) The land was made available through the means described by the politicians and a decision was taken to give to the boys. I theorized that Dr. Luncheon being cognizant of the need for a more equitable distribution called on someone he knew to obtain a piece of the plot.
(2) Mr. Mortimer Mingo being described as a neighbour and friend who would fit the description of a senior government functionary, black as he is with some status was given the offer.
(3) Mr. Mingo acknowledged the offer and was called by Minister Irfaan Ali to send a cheque for $1.5M for the plot which he duly did.
(4) He did his own checks and observed in the press that the process was not transparent and took steps to halt the transaction. I am quaking at the prospects of the cheque not being voided and the transaction going through what would have been the level of assailment at this time.
(5) He was informed that the cheque was dishonoured and asked that it be returned. It was never returned. Why not return the cheque to get another one so that the transaction can be settled? Was there intent in the first place to give any one from the PNC hierarchy any of this land knowing that there would be critical and very caustic reactions about the process? Did
Dr. Luncheon go out on a limb to make it inclusive but the general feeling from within was otherwise? Can the inclusion of Luncheon, Mingo, Best and Bourne out of more than twenty persons make it a proper, inclusive spread?
The whole scenario from the above hinges on the fact that the boys parcelled up the land for themselves and by a token gesture threw in a few others to make it look mosaic (my word for multiethnic). In fact Mingo is the only one who can be deemed as opposition to the boys.
The editorial’s point about Mingo buying land in Region#4 and living in Region#10 is a non- issue. I would not spend time discussing but to say that as a Guyanese businessman in real estate, you buy property whenever and wherever it is proving profitable.
Maybe Mingo, would not like me mentioning this; he told me a few years ago, he and his business partner sold land to a man of Chinese extract, only to find out later that the land was really for a most powerful underworld figure. In this case would the press have moved to have him sanctioned for this?
The issue of credibility is also a non-issue in the context of what transpired. Should he dispel all the information that comes from the central government functionaries because he is opposition and must not trust them? He is a paid servant of the state and is required to function accordingly.
If we stretch our imagination and even get a bit ridiculous, shouldn’t the opposition parliamentarians refuse to accept their wages, pension, duty-free concessions among other perquisites appertaining to their offices because they are frustrated, disgusted and left out of the national decision making process which would include the Pradovilles and other special land and property deals.
Let us be careful that we are not shifting the goal post by the minute in order to score goals since inevitably the matches will not be worth the effort in winning.
I have been reliably informed that titles/transports have been done for persons at Pradoville. Therefore it would not surprise me if Mingo has a transport or title for the land he never bought, never signed an agreement of sale for and has never seen.
That is the way things are done but we are seeking sanction for Mingo for being a businessman who got ensnared in a land deal with a questionable process.
With this information I hope the good journalists can investigate fully. The PNCR is right to deal with the matter internally. When the Minister refused to answer any question on the matter there was nothing you could do but complain.
The PNCR is now held to a higher level of accountability and while nothing is wrong with that how does that change the political landscape. None is my answer.