This land…

first_img…is whose land?One rule of the British during their colonial phase was whenever the natives got restless for one reason or another – appoint a Commission of Inquiry! That they were a monarchy allowed them to dub the collection of usually safe old fogeys who’d toe their line, “Royal” Commissions! More impressive, eh? Anyhow, as a British trained army officer who was commissioned just before they departed, President Brigadier David Granger has taken to the British CoI tactic like a duck to water.Your Eyewitness is willing to wager that never in the history of any administration – anywhere in the world – has so many CoIs been launched in such a short space of time. And they keep on coming – the latest being one to look into “land titling”. Now as far as titling of land, you’d think the law of the land was settled, wouldn’t you? After all, wasn’t this the basis of our democratic order – to protect “life, liberty and property” with land being the foremost “property”? And though your Eyewitness knows our titling rules are a bit more complex than some, with us inheriting the Roman Dutch laws and everything – we’ve done all right so far, no? Well, Prezzie says it ain’t so – and hence the CoI.But, when you examine these CoIs the Government sets up, you’ll discern a common thread: they want to change the (settled) rules of the game to accomplish an end they already have in mind. The CoI is just the fig leaf – and one that can be just thrown aside to expose the naked and nasty truth – like with the Sugar CoI. In this case to deliver the “Ancestral lands” Prezzie’s constituency has been agitating for over the last few decades.So, your Eyewitness asks why doesn’t the Government spare us the tedium of the CoI hearings and recommendations and get to the quick of the matter quickly? Prezzie’s homily on what “God has given us bountifully – the land of this great country” is a dead giveaway. As a historian, he would know this is the argument the Europeans made to seize the “new world” from the Indigenous Peoples. It wasn’t just God – but gold, God and glory that did the job – and what is about to unfold is just the modern version of those arguments.Fact of the matter is the Europeans kept on changing their legal fictions on “sovereignty” from one which respected the right of the local inhabitants to own their countries to whatever justified their ownershipWe’ll soon see what’s the latest innovation to justify what’s already “been written”!…and its medical suppliesAhhhh…what a tangled web we weave and all that! Did our new Minister of Health really award a $605,000,000 contract for pharmaceuticals just because one supplier donated four refrigerators? Jeez! Are we that desperate? Have we fallen that low? This reminds your Eyewitness about the days of banned goods when a gift of condensed milk could get you a favour from the Kabaka himself! The $300,000,000 overpayment on inflated drugs could have bought 600 fridges!!But this latest pharma scandal cannot be allowed to be swept under the carpet. There are already so many bodies under the carpet, it’ll be impossible to traverse if another one joins them! So, we now have confirmation that after breaking the old prequalification criteria for bidding on contracts for pharma, contracts were given to firms that just couldn’t supply them!! Shouldn’t we be told who are these firms? And to which political party they made “political investments”?So, will the snubbed local company that didn’t bribe with fridges now be given a chance to compete?…and the otherPoor Minister Nicolette Henry being blamed for what is a societal failure. Henry isn’t alone in her ignorance of Indian customs.It’s the culture that still treats Indians as “the other”, 179 years after they arrived.last_img