Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General (AG), Anil Nandlall has taken umbrage to comments made by Alliance for Change (AFC) Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan on the reopening of sugar estates in Guyana.

Ramjattan, earlier his week condemned the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) plan to have several facilities reopened after the former Government, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) shuttered the Enmore, Rose Hall, Skeldon and Wales estates.

“[T]he significant move to reopen the closed sugar factories in the face of cogent and compelling evidence that this will result in a massive misspending of the country’s monies just to create jobs for its East Indian base of support is stupendously ill-advised economics. So, the underlying reason is but a sectarian spending…giving red meat to its Indo-Guyanese base,” Ramjattan said. He added that the government is buying Indian votes by pumping monies into the sugar industry.

But Nandlall, during his live Facebook programme “Issues in the News”, last evening, said that Ramjattan’s utterance was insensitive.

“Can you believe this guy? The decision to reopen the sugar estates and to provide jobs for tens of thousands of persons – that decision, Ramjattan says, was a racist one. Now, if the decision to reopen the estates was a racist one, following that logic, one can argue that the decision to close was a racist one,” the AG argued.

Nandlall said that while a large percentage of the people who stand to benefit are from one ethnicity, that does not mean that reopening the estates is a “racist” move. He spoke about Linden, Region 10 – a stronghold of the APNU+AFC – benefitting from cheaper electricity for over three decades.

“Nearly $2B a year, the government is subsidizing GPL to provide Region 10 with cheap electricity – government is paying that. Is that a racist decision?” Nandlall queried.

He said that Indigenous Peoples in the hinterland have also been benefitting from government subsidies through the Amerindian Development Fund and village economy programmes.

“We have a whole host of programmes that are peculiarly and uniquely beneficial to the Amerindians; they are designed for the Amerindians; directed to the Amerindians…Are those racist programmes because they are directed to one set of people in our country? That’s how you look at the programme? You don’t look at their economic circumstance? You don’t look at the fact that they are Guyanese? You don’t look at anything else? No other factor? You just look at their race?”

Nandlall said that in any other country, such a statement coming from a politician would be the last public statement he/she ever makes.

“So, that is how Ramjattan views five or six thousand people getting back their jobs. It’s racist and he takes credit for shutting down the industry, but when he did it – his government did it – it was not a racist one,” he argued.


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