Huge commercial buildings are going up all over Georgetown. Surely, all Guyanese must welcome them once there is no sordidness to their financial origins. However the role of the state is to ensure the equal distribution of wealth. Anyone who studies the economy of Europe would see the graphic difference it has with the US.
Capitalism does exist in Europe but there are vast areas of state involvement all over Europe that resemble socialism. Even in the largest capitalist country in Europe, Germany, the welfare state and free university education are manifestly pronounced. Europe accepts that there is a valued role for the state.
I welcome the five-story commercial business place that opened up at Albert and Lamaha Streets. But I noticed that the public embankment that lies next to the trench on Lamaha Street has been turned into a road for parking. It would appear that the business owner paid for this. Guyanese would know that the embankment was emptied by force three years ago when the government ordered the squatters off the land to run high-power electrical lines
My question is whether the business place is paying a rent or has the land been made available to it freely by the state. If it is a free facility then this policy has tremendous implications for the equal treatment of citizens. I would like the owner of the business place to know that I am not offering a criticism of his operation. All I am trying to do is to situate the state within the context of the distribution of wealth in a country. My point is that if a huge part of public land could be made available for parking for this owner then the state is facilitating him. The state then has to do the same for others.
For example, on Vlissengen Road, vendors on the large parapet, especially on Irving Street and by St Joseph High School and Camp Ayanganna are constantly moved by the Ministry of Works. I would like to appeal to Messrs Granger and Ramjattan to ask Minister Benn what the status of this large parking facility at Lamaha and Albert Streets is. If the dwellers were told that it was unsafe because of the high tension wires, aren’t drivers at risk too when they park there? Let me conclude by welcoming this gigantic business place but I repeat, the state’s role is to ensure citizens are treated equally. As long as two thousand years ago, Plato’s Republic acknowledged that the state must not appear to be a discriminatory agent in the eyes of the lower classes.