Just the facts on Indentureship Event

first_imgI thought long and hard about replying to Mr Freddie Kissoon’s polemic “If Guyana cannot confront people like Ryhaan Shah and Ravi Dev, it will explode”, (KN 3-7-17) to correct some of his claims. The article repeats views the author has expressed so many times before, I doubt it will have any effect on his conclusions, but I hope he will at least check their premises.He claimed the End of Indian Immigration event at the Cultural Centre was “funded by some businessmen who accumulated vast wealth from Bharrat Jagdeo’s oligarchic rule”. This claim formed the basis of much of his polemic, such as me serving the said “oligarchs’ interest” by riling up Indians, etc. However, the event “Garv aur Izzat”/Pride and Dignity”, hosted by an ad-hoc 18-member group GIIAA, was funded by the Social Cohesion Ministry and the Indian High Commission. Both these two institutions are to be commended.PM Moses Nagamootoo, Minister George Norton, Min Cathy Hughes, and Min Jaipaul Sharma, from the Government benches, were also at the event, as was Adrian Anamayah representing the Opposition Leader. The PM and Min Norton also spoke, to an audience that included the US Ambassador and the British HC, among others. Hardly the local Indian sans cullotte, to be exhorted to revolution.Another claim was “ninety per cent of the Guyanese economy is in the hands of Guyanese Indian business people”, I would like to know the source of this titbit, since I am sure Mr Kissoon wouldn’t have made it up, even if it does seem outlandish.He then claims there are “no exclusive Amerindian, African, Chinese or European school in Guyana, but there is a huge Hindu school at Cornelia Ida owned and operated by a Hindu priest, Aksharananda”. But in so doing, he is comparing apples and oranges – national origin with the Hindu religion. There are numerous Christian Schools, and even a Bahai one, for instance.Mr Kissoon claims when I asked “Indians to rise up”, I “didn’t distinguish the ordinary Indian folks like me and hundreds of thousands like us who have nothing and got nothing under Jagdeo and Ramotar”. Yet the Chron criticised me for talking about Wales workers – which I did – who I think qualify as “ordinary Indian folks”. The Chronicle, however, parsed my statement for not talking about “African Wales workers”. You just cannot please some people.Mr Kissoon also ignored the wider context of my presentation where, according to one report, I “explained that during indentureship, Indian protests against the planters’ exploitation were actually protests against the British colonial state which underwrote sugar interests. The killings of 1939 at Plantation Leonora led to a widening of the franchise in 1947 by the Moyne Commission and the Enmore killings in 1948 to the struggle for independence and democracy. Their descendants, therefore, had a responsibility to protect democracy.“The essence of democracy must be nourished through protest and through the populace, who have earned and fought for their freedom, to guard their freedom jealously. Today, we will do our foreparents the greatest honour to maintain our garv (our pride) and our izzat (our dignity) if we were to take our responsibility, take that inheritance and to rise up and do what is necessary to protect what we have built.”Lastly, Mr Kissoon says, “Unfortunately, Black leaders did not urge Black Guyanese to do what Dev is instilling in Indians to do.” Meaning rise up and protect what they built? He really insults stalwarts, who I respect for their fidelity to the cause like David Hinds, Tacuma Ogunseye, Eric Philips, et al.He would remember he wrote a series of articles about a friend of his he dubbed the “Wild Man”, who instigated the violence emanating from Buxton for an African Resistance to overthrow the State between 2002 and 2008. On the “Black Youths” killed during that period, I would also remind him that I called at the Square of the Revolution at the Rule of Law march, for an inquiry into the then endemic violence. But, sadly, I also had to remind that audience Indians had also been killed.last_img read more