Patrimony via patronage is remnant act of old Guyana hustle

first_imgDear Editor,I have noted with distaste the application for oil blocks by the African Business Roundtable (ABR). The ABR is also known as the African Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC), a group founded by the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) in 2016 “to create business opportunities for people of African descent, facilitate access to markets, openings to financing and stimulate opportunities for self-development and the transformation of villages into viable economic centres” Stabroek News (19.11.2016). Interestingly, the persons listed as beneficial owners of ABR are Eric Phillips, Charles Ceres, Violet Smith, and Osafo George. It would seem this is a very small table and aimed at ‘opportunities for self-development’ of a few politically favoured elitists.The policy of the Granger Administration to fund and facilitate the creation of organisations for the advancement of ‘Afro-Guyanese’ to the exclusion of other races was ill-conceived and the result has been the funnelling of hundreds of millions in State funds to a select few to the exclusion of people of any descent, Afro or otherwise. There are no barriers to the advancement of persons of any ethnicity in Guyana, the two largest business organisations – Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the Berbice Chamber – do not have ethnic requirements, there was no obvious gap filled by the ABR/ABCC. Similarly, the other Granger cash cow International Decade for People of African Descent-Guyana has done nothing but provide events where persons were offered access to Government services such as house lot application and birth certificate registration, services which are available five days a week (for free) at Government offices.Eric Phillips is President of African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA), in this capacity he is well equipped to advance the cause of people of African descent. It is sad to see he has instead used his position and influence to acquire large tracts of land and oil blocks.Head of the Project Management Office of the Ministry of the Presidency, Marlon Bristol would have us believe that land allocation is done in a manner of “pin the tail on the donkey” as he said that he never had any insider information and it is for the GL&SC to say why they gave him lands suitable for a deep water harbour. Marlon Bristol offers no details on the stated purpose of his application and his silence speaks volumes.Guyana does not need ethnocentricity at this point in our history, we need selfless leaders who are willing to serve the country for the betterment of all Guyanese; Leaders who understand Guyana is a multi-racial state. Guyanese are struggling to throw off a socialist past and embrace a capitalist future. Empowerment begins with education; with investing capital in each other’s plans, projects and businesses. Our past is a story of survival and hustle, the future must bring a change to order and adherence to the rule of law. Eric Phillips and his cohorts’ attempt to secure our patrimony via patronage are remnant acts of the old Guyana hustle, we must condemn them to our opaque past and move to a transparent future; anything less is unacceptable.Respectfully,Robin Singhlast_img

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