Coalition Member of Parliament (MP), Sherod Duncan contends that there is inconsistency in the treatment of Success, East Coast Demerara and Conservancy Dam, West Bank Demerara residents illegally occupying state lands.
“When we compare the Success issue with squatters on the shoulders of the Conservancy Dam, Canal No. 1, for instance, we see a policy in effect: different strokes for different folks,” Duncan said.
His comment comes on the heels of an announcement made by Minister of Housing and Water, Colin Croal that the presence of squatters at Conservancy Dam was not affecting development. He said that those inhabitants will not be removed. Meanwhile, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has been up in arms over the presence of squatters at Success. Those squatters, the corporation contends, are occupying lands that are needed for the resumption of sugar operations along the East Coast of Demerara. The coalition has objected to the treatment of Success squatters following the deliberate flooding of the lands, and the tactics used by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) including the use of rubber pellets. The Coalition has been advocating for the lands to be regularized. Minister Croal recently stated that a plan will be put in place to cater for those residents, but the structure and nature of that strategy is yet unknown.
Duncan said that Guyana needs a “coherent land management policy”. He is of the opinion that such a policy will weed out any “ad hoc distribution of land”.
“What the nation is yet to hear articulated is the heart of the administration’s land management plan, instead of plasters being applied to sores. The squatters at Success will continue to look at those at Conservancy Dam jealously, for sure, wondering whether this new year means more deliberate flooding of the lands they occupy, more pellets from the police or more tear gas because if it is one thing, they know of the PPP regime, while all men are created equal, some are more equal than others,” Duncan said.