“Jagdeo, your ranting and raving is affirmation of your racism and racist mentality. I suspect you are intent on validating Cheddi Jagan statement that “black people are at the bottom of the ladder”. I assure you and others in the PPP that me and my descendants respect the memories of our enslaved ancestors and will never fit the PPP mold and definition of African Guyanese and Africans in general.” — Charles Ceres
Yesterday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo accused the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) of, over an 18-month period, engaging in rampant land grabbing. According to Jagdeo, GLSC distributed almost 20,000 acres of land to a few persons between last year and now. Among the many persons he named was Geotechnical Engineer & Groundwater Hydrologist Charles Ceres. Today, Ceres released a statement completely rubbishing Jagdeo’s claims. He said that not only did he legally lease lands at much higher rates than what other PPP associated persons and businesses paid, but he said he believes he has become a target because of his ethnicity.
Ceres also indicated that he will be proceeding with legal action against Jagdeo, Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, and media entities.
The full statement from Mr Ceres follows:
Two leases were granted to me, one as Charles Ceres et. al. for 1297 acres of land in the Canje Creek area. It was granted by the PPP government at a time when Bharrat Jagdeo was President. The second was granted to GSEC, a company owned by me and my children, for 4.5 acres of land in 2017. Several others were granted land in Liliendaal including Ed Boyer for the Demerara Estates Development & an Indian University located east of GSEC location. GSEC paid approximately $4,000,000.00/acre with a yearly leasing fee of $900,000.00 for the land in Liliendaal. I, Charles Ceres was never granted lease(s) for any other lands.
Copies of both the allocation letter for the land in the Canje Creek and the lease for the land in Liliendaal are attached hereto. Charles Ceres et. al relinquished the lease to the 1297 acres of land in the Canje since several partners were unable to afford the development costs, and I was unwilling to absorb those costs while others benefited. Failure to develop the land is a contravention of the terms of the lease and the land was relinquished.
The PPP, under Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar granted land to China Paper for $50.00 per acre per year. I paid $1000.00/acre per year for the land in Canje Creek up to the time of relinquishment. I continue to pay $200,000 per acre/per year for the land in Liliendaal, which is being beneficially utilized as dictated by the terms of the lease.
The lease I have presented to you for the Liliendaal land is a matter of public record. On my way here I dropped a copy off at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. This voids his wait for the details to be provided to him. I paid more for per acre for land, in Liliendaal, which was reclaimed from the swamp than Jagdeo & his cabal paid for lands developed at the expense of taxpayers for their lands in Pradoville 1 and 2. If I recall correctly Jagdeo sold his land and house in Pradoville 1 to Ernie Ross, the Guyana Consul to Trinidad for $120,000,000.00.
I have converted the swamp in Liliendaal into a modern engineering office and continue to pay the yearly lease agreed to with GLSC. Jagdeo & his cabal have, however contravened their agreement with the CHPA and have sold the land developed at the expense of the Guyanese taxpayers for healthy profits. I have released all details related to my transactions with the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission for public scrutiny. I challenge Jagdeo and his cabal including Ed Boyer and the Indian University to make public the agreements for the lands acquired by them in Liliendaal. Further, I challenge Jagdeo to release the agreements he had with BK International/BaiShan Lin, China Paper and others to the public. He must also identify which member of his cabal was granted gold lands which were subsequently sold to Sun and Sand of India for US $10,000.00. Jagdeo silence on the offshore oil blocks granted to members of his cabal is deafening. His comfort with those allocations, none to African Guyanese, is affirmation of his belief that African Guyanese have no rights to anything in Guyana.
The land at Liliendaal is beneficially occupied and its development commenced one day after the lease was granted to GSEC a company owned by me and my children. GSEC currently provides employment for 40 young Guyanese including 9 young people who are provided with allowances of US $110,000/month to attend the University of Guyana. I am not aware that any of the individuals to whom Jagdeo and his cabal, including of course Jagdeo & his Presidential Candidate, provided land and other resources providing similar opportunities for anyone. Most of the lands provided by them is not beneficially occupied in accordance with the terms of the lease.
I returned to Guyana as a young man since I owe everything I have to Guyana. My dedication to Guyana and to its development is evidenced by free services I provided to the Jagdeo led government during the great flood of 2005. He can contradict this claim by providing evidence of any payment made to me for the services provided. I continued to provide services to the Granger administration similarly, free of cost. The reason the Granger government was unable to provide a salary in response to a question asked by Gail Texeira about payments to Ministeral Adviser, Charles Ceres since I requested no payment for my services.
I will provide to the Guyanese public evidence of every cent I have earned and spent in Guyana since January 2000, the year Jagdeo entered office, provided that Jagdeo performs a similar feat. I will also authorize my bank, if requested by you, to provide validation of all my financial transactions if the costs to generate those statements are paid by the person(s) requesting the information. Jagdeo, I am contented and well educated, I do not need to steal to acquire wealth. I can be successful anywhere in the world because of the education provided to me by the people of Guyana. I challenge you Jagdeo to prove that you are equal to me by demonstrating equivalent levels of absence of corruption and ability to succeed without access to the taxpayers’ resources. The new Mercedes Benzes driven by me and wife were bought with my money, the evidence in there in the accounts I will make public when you make your public. The Land Rover and BMW driven by me and wife were paid for with my money. All duties and taxes, except that for the Mercedes Benz driven by my wife were paid by me. My wife exercised her right as a lowly paid employee of the people of Guyana to accept the duty free concession. Remember, Anil Nandlall, claims being lowly paid was his reason for “being given” books bought with taxpayer’s money.
I am flattered that Jagdeo consider me worthy of his attention. However, if he considers me important enough to warrant his attention, he should explain to the Guyanese public the reasons why GSEC, the company I own has never been qualified enough to work for his and/or the Ramotar administration while we have provided quality engineering services to practically all international private sector companies working in and out of Guyana. While at that task, I challenge him to identify one of the companies, his and Ramotar led administration have natured, which has the wide ranging project portfolio of GSEC.
I need to interject my personal perspective here. Jagdeo sees no difficulties awarding land at peppercorn rates (Manzoor Nadir’s term) to people who are neither Guyanese such as China Paper and BaiShanLin of China and Sun and Sand and a non-functional University of India. He has no difficulty awarding land to BK International and the Ogle Airport Owners Group since none of them are African Guyanese. Mr. Jagdeo, Guyana is my birthright. It was developed by my enslaved fore-parents. My African fore-parents were chained, whipped, tarred and feathered to develop the Guyana which you are intent on ensuring provides no access to African Guyanese. Your home in Pradoville 2 is protected by sea defences initially built by my African fore-parents who were chained, whipped, tarred and feathered.
Jagdeo, your ranting and raving is affirmation of your racism and racist mentality. I suspect you are intent on validating Cheddi Jagan statement that “black people are at the bottom of the ladder”. I assure you and others in the PPP that me and my descendants respect the memories of our enslaved ancestors and will never fit the PPP mold and definition of African Guyanese and Africans in general.
I hope you do not be bequeath the PPP racist mentality to the young people of Guyana. Please take an example from the path my company has blazed and use your vast resources to provide education opportunities for the less privileged Guyanese young people. I need not defend your false accusations. The evidence is in the records I have provided.
It will be remiss of me if I fail to address Anil Nandlall facebook post. I intend to file a complaint with the Police Force, in the same manner as the Balwant Singh Hospital, since his assertions are false. I was granted land by the PPP in Canje not Trevor Benn. I was never granted land in Bohemia. I will however answer the question he has posed. Anyone and I mean anyone who steals taxpayers’ money or property must be imprisoned if the corruption which plagues Guyana, institutionalized by several PPP regimes is to come to an end. If you are proven to have stolen the law books you should be imprisoned. I have no such fear since as I have indicated before I will make my finances and assets available for public scrutiny provided Jagdeo does so.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as an engineer I am trained to be logical, Jagdeo’s ranting are illogical and lack substance. I pay very little attention to Jagdeo and all political people and parties in Guyana. They all lack vision and are focused on being rulers not leaders.
I share a saying with the young people on my staff. It is “Young people have ideas, Old people have memories”. In all his rantings, he like all other politicians in Guyana, has never identified a vision for Guyana since vision is fueled by ideas. He is singularly focused on the marginalization of African Guyanese to the extent that his memory has failed him. He fails to remember that Charles Ceres et. al was granted land in Canje by a government led by him. He fails to fit any of the categories above since he is void of ideas and his memories have failed him. He is worse that old. His ranting and raving coupled with his failed memory confirms he is an angry man. Jagdeo remember “whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad”.
Anil Nandlall be careful who you parrot. As an engineer, I am not qualified to judge your ability as an attorney-at-law. I considered you learned based on your utterances. It may not matter to you, however, I saw you as one of several young people representing the optimism of Guyana’s future. I considered your past missteps including your recorded conversation with the Kaieteur News as the exuberance of youth. My perspective of you has been radically altered and is shaped now entirely by your willingness to parrot Jagdeo. Please develop some ideas and help Jagdeo come to the realization that he represents the past. You and others like you, including my wife are the future of Guyana. I can now no longer defend you when people say you are a light-weight attorney-at-law.
Charles P Ceres, PE
Geotechnical Engineer & Groundwater Hydrologist