GUYANA: Mocha – hidden hands, hidden agendas, hideous results -The GHK Lall Column

GHK Lall

By GHK Lall – Jan 08, 2023

Kaieteur News – By the time this is over the dominant narrative about what happened in Mocha would have settled in solidly.  It is that the PPP Government was kind, patient, longsuffering, and generous, while the residents of Mocha that had to move were hostile, uncooperative, goonish, and greedy.  Because of the complexions of the two sides engaged in this battle of wills, Guyana’s historic ills, the raw polarizations of this country, are rekindled and released in even more toxic flares if that can be imagined.

I find it difficult that a matter that should have been dealt with honestly and frankly was not, and that the inevitable deterioration had to occur.  In blazing prejudice.  Into politics.  From standoff to square-off to flare-up to the blowup that we all know was going to be where matters concluded.  That is, the mechanized might of machinery aimed straight at the heart of men and women in Mocha.  It is how populations are radicalized.                 

The PPP Government will say that compensation was offered, and that it was more than fair.  Even a surface glance confirms that there is much more to the mixture than what was packaged as an offer, and what is going to be presented going forward relative to the obstinacy and combative nature of a large handful of Mocha residents.  Market value is not enough, I say it.  So far, this is concerning immovable property only.  And when the future value of those same adjacent lands or spaces are factored into the Mocha calculus, there is the real Mocha story.  About those refused to move and why; and who had to get rid of them, these dogged human obstacles, for what purposes, and for whose benefit.  This is where real value is, when a highway cuts through an area; when there are various kinds of commercial ideas and agendas that swirl in the minds of the all too cunning and calculating.

But the objecting residents of Mocha, the holdouts, are who they are, and with these people (yes, these people) there can be no reasoning, no civilized dealing.  To me, this sounds like the usual stereotype.  By then, it will be long forgotten that these were homes of working-class citizens, and there was also that other consideration, which seemed not to matter at all to the Ministry or Government.  It has to do with them earning an honest livelihood.

Yes, there was that, too.  It is not a matter of finding them a job somewhere, get them off one’s hands (and news) and be done with them.  They are farmers and those who rear livestock.  Sell the animals cheaply, put them on the chopping block, or be rid of them in any fashion that pleases.  From all indications, I gather that what some of the residents of Mocha put together painstakingly one sheep at a time, and one calf after another to the small herd, was nothing but a nonfactor.  We are going to give a sum of money for the home, relocate to a spot, and that should be fair and just compensation.  We can all wash our hands, and deal with the demands of the oil business.

Something is wrong about this sweet and noble picture.  The Government, in the person of the President himself, can drop everything and rush headlong to Mon Repos to dole out millions at the click of a finger in circumstances over which I still have misgivings.  But in Mocha, there is the cold, clinical consideration and summary dismissal: there is a space, here is some cash, now get going.  On this occasion, I employ a word that I have not used before; it is imposition.  To expand, there is this premeditated heavy-handed, callous, and coldblooded unilateralism (and opportunism), not unlike what goes on with other sections of Guyanese life involving the same kind of citizens.  In sum, take it or leave it, and this is what it is.  Indeed, if it is not taken, then it will be forcibly stuffed down the throat into the craw, whether liked or not.  For those refusing to leave, making nuisances of themselves, there is set and proven formula to deal with such troublemakers.  Uniforms, guns, bulldozers, and excavators.  Thus, the hidden hands are revealed, and these are the hideous results.

I have not said a word about the PPP Government’s shifting of the goalposts in the middle of the struggle.  Meaning, what was in the way and just had to move, no ifs, ands, or buts, as opposed to what is outside the path of the new road, and now had to follow suit.  Just like that.  I can understand the former (in the direct path), and appreciate that a firm hand is necessary, at times.  Regarding those not in the way, my position is simple: why?  Why so late, so mysteriously, in the determination?  What is involved here?  Why must these people move?

This should be revisited sometime after the road is completed.  Who is there, and what they are engaged in, should furnish the answers to today’s puzzle.  It is not so hard to solve currently

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