I REFER to headlined story, with caption: “After 10 years and two govts…Riverview squatters still to be relocated …As inhumane conditions worsens”, is prominently displayed as a lead story, Kaieteur News, December 22, 2019.
Any fair-minded reader will agree that it is the media’s right, as public watchdog, to highlight the social conditions of citizens, particularly those that impact very negatively on their quality of daily living, as evidenced by the pictorials that appear to support the story.
But there is no doubt that this is another story, conveniently highlighted to embarrass the coalition government.
Firstly, one would have noticed the conveniently reported length of time, given, of the squatters living in such conditions – cleverly divided, and equivalent to two terms, occupied by the former PPP/C regime, and the coalition, the current half of the ten years stated. There can be no strange co-incidence here, since what the publisher intended is to accuse the present government of not doing anything about the plight of the Riverview residents, although referring to the government’s stated intention of bringing squatting to an end; and their initiatives in bringing relief to citizens in a similar situation in Broad and Lombard Streets, and Sophia.
And here, one must ask, whether it was not shameful for the coalition administration to have inherited the equally scandalous situation and plight, of those Broad Street residents who would have lived through the entire 23 years of a PPP/C regime, similarly in time duration to the situation at Riverview, which one believes would have had its genesis and gradual growth.
But this stark fact must further beg the question – how could this criminal neglect of really distressed citizens, be ignored and missed the attention of the then PPP/C regime? Editor, the answer is simple: because the latter had been busy dispensing large acreage plots to its cronies and friends, to become home builders so as to sell the latter to the rich. This happening, while applications, numbering in the thousands, kept piling up, because of no available lands for house lots. We all have, since 2015, been made aware of the inheritance of this backlog, by the present government which has had to find solutions. The fact that housing was the major area of complaint from citizens during their interfacing with government throughout the regions at its innovative “Taking Government to the People” exercise is an indictment of the reckless neglect of that segment of the nation’s citizens, who are most vulnerable in this critical area of socio-living.
One does not seek to absolve any government from its responsibilities, once it takes office, even with regards issues that it has had to inherit. In fact, one stands corrected by referring to President Granger’s recent statement as to the kind of “hand” which his government has been given when it assumed the reins of office. He is absolutely correct, with regard a botched up country which his administration has been gradually restoring to acceptable socio-economic levels and which is quite clear, even to the dishonest sections of the media such as the Kaieteur News. But, be it as it is, the latter has no right to be so ridiculous in stooping to another low level of reporting dishonesty in attempting to highlight a problem, and similar ones which loomed large and festered like a chronic sore during the PPP/C’s tenure of office.
It must cease to spread blame to a succeeding administration, for problems which had existed prior, and could have been remedied, rather than attempt joint responsibility, as inferred by the referred to headline. This has continued to be a significant reporting deception, on many of the nation’s seminal problems, such as race, which continues to raise its ugly and distorted head. Kaieteur News’s headline is just another distorted example that subverts truth which stands as an indictment of the former PPP/C housing policy.