THERE has been a lot of talk on squatting, especially in recent times as it relates to the Success squatters. It is not surprising that those who have lost politically are attempting to use this incident, as with every other situation, to send out their scouts of evil to excite people to misbehave and cause pandemonium. One can clearly see how obvious their aim is to poison the minds of citizens, so as to harbour hate for the government of the day.
However, little do these evil scouts and supporters know that their targets may very well have a change of heart and, in the long run, the brilliance of the government, especially in the manner in which I see them working, will easily win these people over. With this, I wish to highlight the fact that the government is doing everything they can to pacify the squatters, and at the same time to save billions of dollars in experimental sugar cane, having already lost more than two billion dollars.
People must realise that there is something called law. The law cannot be modified just because a person thinks that they want a piece of land or that they are in a state of poverty, therefore they can violate the law. This writer is of the view that we need to create strategies and put things in place to try to uphold law and order. Because of this, I was initially of the opinion that charges should have been brought against these people who started squatting, simply because they ruined more than two billion dollars of investment in experimental sugar cane. However, the government, with love for its citizens, seems to have sidelined what I thought would have been done. I admire them for this, as I know, some other government might have prosecuted these people.
Further, the government began to put things in order with the intervention of His Excellency the President himself. Our President is a man who, along with human development, understands housing, property, and distribution as it relates to human needs, and he works most assiduously to bring relief. However, Guyanese must realise that the government and the President are not magicians. They cannot wave a wand or point a finger, and, like God, bring instant happiness to everyone who wants immediate satisfaction and gratification. The President and his government are moving wisely, and we can see that Guyana will be on the high road for continued growth and progress in a few years.
Additionally, the Honourable Prime Minister went up with his team to speak to the people about temporary shelter in the school. How brilliant, sir! How really caring! The idea to provide some temporary housing instead of the lopsided squatter settlements they were trying to build was totally applaudable. He explained to them that they should apply and the government will try to fast track their applications. The Honourable Minister of Housing and Water, Mr. Collin Croal, and the Honourable Minister within the Ministry, Susan Rodrigues, all visited and tried to make people go through the normal process.
What is unfortunate is that some people just want to be given things just like that. They do not want to go through the process. They need to realise that streets, water, electricity, etc. are all needed. We do not want to build small pieces of ugly shanty towns without garbage collection, village management or NDC control. The Honourable Prime Minister Mark Phillips must be given kudos for encouraging the idea of using temporary shelter when the government is trying to rapidly fast track these squatters. However, it is my opinion that the government made a mistake by announcing they were going to give these people cash. I assume that this would attract a lot of people, many of whom already have houses and families in which they live. This I believe, will make some people behave as though they do not already own these things, just so as to get some extra cash and maybe a piece of land.
As far as lands and properties are concerned, I remember the days of Bookers when workers were given a piece of land and a loan to help them build their houses. It was a glorious thing. GuySuCo followed suit but was unable to help fund the building of houses. Then came the false notion that people could just walk in and take over the property of a company, assuming that political desperados would defend them and that they would be able to get their way.
All in all, I believe that these people who are in need must be able to support themselves. I am also of the belief that if one wants a house and land, they must sacrifice as is done in America and around the world, where people pursue double shifts just so they can live. This is how most of us who have homes do it; by not just expecting the government to just give us everything all the time. We work a double shift, a triple shift, we use our sense to buy and sell and try to grow our own food to make ends meet. That is how most people in this country own a piece of property. Not just by going out and harassing and trying to take advantage of the situation. As the Holy Quran teaches us: “Laisa lil insana illa ma sa’a,” meaning “there is nothing for man except what he strives for” (Quran 53:39). This verse is the secret to human achievement. No one will achieve success without struggle and hard work. It instills in us that sitting idle will not reap any rewards.
Lastly, as I said above, our President and government do not have magic wands nor are they Gods. People need to learn to trust the process and with time, the government will surely win the hearts and minds of their naysayers.
Hajji Dr. Roshan Khan Sn