Zero tolerance on corruption

GLSC slams opposition leader over lies on land allocation

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 28, 2019

Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Trevor Benn has rubbished recent claims made by opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who claimed on Thursday that the entity was offering state lands to government officials.

Noting that the allegations are outrageous, Commissioner Benn reminded that the GLSC has a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. He said the commission has a State Lands Regulation that must be followed by all citizens when applying for land.

Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission Trevor Benn.

Benn, who has been at the helm of the GLSC since 2016, told media operatives today that he has been using every measure to transform the organisation which, before 2015, was plagued by corruption.

According to Benn, Jagdeo’s uninformed claims are nothing more than a plot seeking political mileage. He said Jagdeo himself failed to realise that he, along with his high-ranking colleagues and friends of the past administration, accessed state lands at little to no cost attached.

The commissioner referenced a situation in Mocha, on the East Bank of Demerara, where four prominent businesspersons possessed leases to thousands of acres of land space that remained under-utilised for years and. The GLSC, he said, later took those lands and gave it to over three hundred families who were desperately in need.

Addressing the allegations today, Benn challenged anyone to come forward with evidence of corruption under his watch at the commission.

Jagdeo’s claims are that several officials, including SARA’s Eric Phillips, were issued with prime lands by the commission. However, Benn underscored that approval for all the names listed was given long before this administration took office.

“As commissioner, I had nothing to do with the approval of Mr. Eric Phillip’s land. It came long before my time. The records will speak for itself.”

The commissioner said the opposition leader continues to be irresponsible with the untruths he has been spreading for political gains.

“If you look at our Facebook page, I have begun to receive threats and people calling for me to be jailed, based on statements that were made yesterday. People must be responsible for their statements. And if you don’t have evidence, I’m calling on those persons to put up or shut up,” Benn said.

What is troubling too, he noted, is the attempt by the opposition to corrupt the staff at the commission. This, he said, is being done for political advantage.

“Evidence of the commission’s property being on display at the Press Conference yesterday without any records in the commission to show payments were made for those properties is clear evidence that our staff is being corrupted.”

The commission, he noted, will be seeking the assistance of the police to ascertain how the information got into the hands of Jagdeo.

Commissioner Benn maintained that the GLSC, under his watch, remains a non-political body and any citizen is free to apply and be granted leases.

Images: Giovanni Gajie

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