Creative solutions must be found

Stabroek News
August 16, 2001

Dear Editor,

The attempt to appropriate Toolsie Persaud's land in Water street has nothing to do with solving the vending problem. It is an exercise in unadulterated race politics.

Putting some vendors on this land will have little impact on the problem of street vending.

The government must begin to understand that imagination and creativity are hallmarks of good governance. The corollary is obvious. In my view, the acquisition of land or property without market value compensation amounts to confiscation.

The government is the biggest owner of real estate and they should not be acquiring property except for public use e.g roads, schools, hospitals and parks. The removal of a businessman from his land to install small business people is hardly a public use. It is a demonstration of an ill - advised government's instinct for abusing state machinery.

We have a situation where the fire service station is in a congested location making egress difficult. This entity should be relocated to Durban Park or where Alberttown station is situated. Nearby is a City Constabulary outpost. There can be no justification for maintaining the Ministry of Human Services in the present location. The nearby GNCB is being prepared for divestment. These sites coupled with Donkey City should be converted into double-decker markets to accommodate five thousand vendors. This should be followed by upgrading the municipal markets to accommodate another five thousand vendors. GNCB should be relocated to where GNCB Trust is in preparation for their being given away.

The government is approaching this problem like a bull in a China shop. In doing so it flaunts its disdain for ownership by those not beholden to Freedom House.

This government came to power in 1992 with the mendicant mentality. Mendicancy is an unbecoming behavioural trait. It instills the most negative instincts in our people and we should not be surprised that we must nurture a nation of mendicants and opportunists. We seem to be advancing our frontiers from mendacancy to confiscation and theft. This silence of the business community and professionals is an indication of the depths of our depravity. It is a most disturbing spectacle.

Every right thinking Guyanese should express condemnation at the PPP's recidivist tendencies to what took place between 1964 to 1992.

Toolsie Persaud should mount a challenge to this outrage. Of course with poor governance the citizenry will be further burdened with the exorbitant six and seven figure fees handed out to post 1992 legal luminaries.

Yours faithfully,
Walter Ramsahoye