Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, has said that he is not worried about statements made by structural engineer Charles Ceres, and Commissioner at the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) that they will take action, in the wake of Jagdeo’s claims of a massive land giveaway to persons affiliated to President David Granger.
Ceres told reporters on Friday that he intends to file a lawsuit against Jagdeo to force a retraction of his statements.
Commissioner Benn said that he will inform the police of the acquisition of the agency’s documents so that they can determine how they were obtained by Jagdeo.
During a press conference last Thursday, the Opposition Leader attempted to link Ceres to the President by reporting that Ceres’s wife, Ndibi Schwiers, works at Department of Environment under the Ministry of the Presidency.
Jagdeo had stated that Ceres got 1,297.1 acres in the Canje Creek, Region Six, and 112 acres in Bohemia, Region Six. He said that Ceres got a further 5,000 acres, but did not say where that lease is located, and another plot of land at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, for which no further details were provided.
While Jagdeo claimed four separate allocations were made to Ceres, the structural engineer categorically refuted that, providing that he was only allocated two plots of land.
The first tract was 1,297.12 acres in the Canje Creek Area, and approved by then President Jagdeo in 2004.
Jagdeo had presented the land allocations as having been doled out after the No Confidence Vote last December. When presented with the fact that he approved the issuance of the land as President, Jagdeo said that that’s public record now.
But what is even more telling, the Opposition Leader said, is that it proves that Ceres consistently lied about the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
“He says black people don’t get land under the PPP. And he got under Jagdeo –1297 acres of land.”
Ceres said this is a distraction from the fact that the very Jagdeo who made the allocation claimed that it was made after the no-confidence vote.
The second tract Ceres was allocated is of 4.5 acres of land, which was granted to Ground Structures Engineering Consultants Incorporated (GSEC), a company owned by Ceres and his children. The Liliendaal tract was approved in 2017.
He was particular in saying that he received no land in Bohemia, Region six.
To this, the Opposition Leader said that a document in his possession shows the plot of land he claims Ceres has, next to another plot of land he claimed Head of the Ministry of the Presidency’s Project Management office, Marlon Bristol, was allocated.
Ceres had also brought up several longstanding contentions about the previous PPP government’s business with Bai Shan Lin and several others.
Jagdeo said that Ceres brought those issues up to shift attention away from the one at hand.
Ceres also called Jagdeo and the PPP racist.
In response, the Opposition Leader said that his claims had nothing to do with race.
“It has to do with the President answering to some people who are linked to his office, giving out large tracts of land.”
He said that there are 57,000 house lot applications on process.
To the statements made by Ceres and Benn, Jagdeo said “[Benn] wants to call in the police. I’m happy if he calls in the police because that will be an entry and possibility of going into the whole archive, and what’s going on there. I welcome the lawsuit from Charles Ceres, too, because that would allow us to get into all the information that’s still not disclosed. This is the tip of the iceberg.”
He added that Commissioner Benn probably thinks he knows that members of the PPP or Indo-Guyanese people granted the documents to him, and that they would be surprised how many “good, god-fearing PNC people” there are, who are upset with this current government.
“Trevor Benn’s concern” Jagdeo said, “was how the information got out, not about the wickedness that’s going on.”
The Opposition Leader also said that “all this big talk and press conference” is meant to shield President Granger from giving answers himself, about these matters.
Jagdeo has said that the President can no longer divorce himself from ongoing corruption by the government he runs.
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