Recent allegations made by members of the Parliamentary Opposition do not seem to be sitting well with Prime Minister (PM) Moses Nagamootoo. In fact, the opposition’s claim that the government is facilitating a people-smuggling ring and, more recently, “carpetbaggers”, has been dismissed as “scarecrow” politics by the PM.
In his column, “My Turn”, Nagamootoo said that “elements” in the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) camp are resorting to what he describes as seditious and scarecrow politics.
“Apart from wrongly dubbing the Coalition Government illegal, the Opposition engineered the racist ‘Haitian Takeover’ to frighten its claimed Indian base and now it is driving a new hysteria over ‘Trini Carpetbaggers’.”
Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, at a media conference last week, accused the government of facilitating persons, including Trinidadians, who are coming to Guyana under “opaque” circumstances just to get a piece of the budding oil and gas industry. Jagdeo described these individuals as “carpetbaggers”. The politician, however, immediately after his utterance, sought to clarify that while he is not averse to Trinidadian investors coming to Guyana, they must come with good intentions.
Jagdeo talked about land being given to these investors without public auction or tender and accused government officials of being in bed with foreigners who come to Guyana supposedly under the guise as investors but who instead have intentions of coin-grabbing.
The PM in his column said that as an attendee at an Investors Outreach in Trinidad, he can testify to the “genuine” interest shown to Guyana by investors there.
“While we are open for business…Jagdeo sees the Trini ‘carpetbaggers’ giving bribes to get their sleazy hands on Guyana’s lands. Again, like Jim Crowism, Jagdeo has imputed an American pejorative term, carpetbaggers or scalawags, once used by southerners to label and libel northerners, to describe Trinidadian investors,” The PM penned.
Nagamootoo, a former member of the PPP/C, said that no one should anymore be in doubt as to why Guyana has become the preferred destination for investors and visitors alike.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a carpetbagger is an informal and derogatory term to refer to a political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections. The word has its origin in the mid 19th century and originally applied to people from the northern states of the US who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from the Reconstruction. Today, the phrase refers to someone who moves to a new location for opportunistic reasons.