On my first visit to Essequibo a few strange things occurred.
There was great anticipation by all in management regarding this visit. I sensed there were in panic mode and trying to hide something otherwise there would be no reason for all the excitement I sensed among management and staff.
We left Georgetown about 4am. The agency vehicle picked me up at my house. Ingrid Jones, who I think is the senior land allocation officer and a driver named Harry.
We drove to Parika and went over to Essequibo on the ferry.
At the office in Anna Regina, we were met by three persons
Omesh Sasenarayan, Regional Housing Officer
Safiea Razack, Assistant Regional Housing Officer
Gaitre Ramawad, Land Allocation Officer
From previous discussion I knew that the office had two persons working there. A housing officer and an assistant so I was a bit confused. I asked if the office now had three persons and everyone smiled.
Cant recall exact sequence of events but at some point it was revealed that Gaitre Ramawad traveled up from Georgetown the day before!
Why that would be necessary, you can only guess. Seems as if she came to set things in order and brief the staff what and what not to say and keep an eye on my activities for her other bosses in town.
Ramawad is from Essequibo coast and this is one of the most corrupt location of CH&PA. The last housing officer was replaced shortly after elections without being charged for any of the long list of crimes he would have committed while in office.
The turnout was poor for both of the locations we went to as persons affiliated with the PPP apparently went around telling residents this was a Granger / PNC / Govt thing. There was a small number of East Indians and if I am correct the region is predominantly populated by East Indians.
Both stops got bogged down into many allegations of corruption of lawlessness and corruption by CH&PA staff. Ms. Jones for the most part just smiled
at one point someone said they were asked to pay a bribe by a CH&PA staff and was told that $200,000 was for the lady in town. At this point Gaitre Ramawad shouted, I hope is not this officer you talking about.
I found this quite odd but said nothing. Why would an innocent person say something like that?
Will complete a more extensive report in a few days based on the notes i made.