October 22, 2014 By
October 22, 2014 By
Guianese and later Guyanese started to leave the country before independence. They left in droves for the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, and during the racial clashes in the mid 1960s, more and more started to leave for all parts of the world for a better way of life.
However, the consolation is that most of them are doing extremely well in their professions and businesses. Some excelled and made Guyana proud. What is more important is that a large number of members of the diaspora assist their friends and relatives back home and hundreds send remittances on a fairly regular basis.
While most of them are in overseas countries legally, there are tens of thousands who are illegal in several countries mainly the United States, Canada and a few Caribbean countries.
The latest report from Port of Spain is that a total of 110,012 illegals are in that oil-rich country. Incidentally, the illegals comprise one-tenth of the total population and as a result the Ministry of National Security is taking drastic action to deport and even to prosecute some of them.
Guyana has the largest number – 25,884, followed by Jamaica with 19,500.
The illegals in Trinidad and Tobago are from 16 countries, mainly from six Caricom countries, as well as from Venezuela – 10,570, and nearly 10,000 from St Vincent and the Grenadines; Colombia – 6388 and as far as Nigeria and Bangladesh.
It might be surprising to the readers that as many as 7169 illegals are from Barbados and 4391 from St Lucia.
Although Guyana topped the list of illegals in Trinidad for the country with most illegals; there are several thousands of illegals including Brazilians, Chinese, Colombians, and Caribbean nationals who are in the Cooperative Republic.
It is believed that the immigration authorities in Guyana are not as vigilant and harsh as their counterparts in other countries especially the United States, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
The Treaty of Chaguaramas makes provision for freedom of movement in the Caribbean Community, but the Treaty is not always being adhered to by a few countries especially Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbados.
Jamaica has recently been criticised for deporting Abu Bakr, a Muslim from Port of Spain who went to Kingston to attend the 19th anniversary celebration of the Million Man March which was attended by Louis Farrakhan and other black leaders.
The Jamaican immigration authorities said that Bakr was sent back to Port of Spain in a chartered jet in the interest of public safety. Bakr plotted and tried to overthrow the Trinidad and Tobago Government in a coup in the Parliament Chamber more than two decades ago.
Gerald Pereira, Chairperson of the Black Consciousness Movement in Guyana, was also denied entry to Jamaica. Pereira lived in Libya for many years and served in the Green March, an International Battalion for the defence of the Libyan Revolution.
People tend to move from country to country to seek a better way of life for their families.
October 21, 2014 By
It wasn’t that Satiricus was one of those snobs who thought you shouldn’t talk about your money. Heck!! It’s just that Satiricus grew up with so little money, there was nothing to talk about!! So he kinda liked the fact that the Mook, the fella who owned the Muckraker, felt so free to talk about how he got his wealth.
“Hey!” thought Satiricus patriotically, “didn’t that fella over at the Stabber, CurlyLocks – who actually had to hand over his press to the Mook – compare him to the Great Gatsby??” CurlyLocks had to know what he was talking about.
He had to know the Mook inside out. So Satiricus had rushed off to read the book about this “Gatsby” fella. No he didn’t buy one – nowadays you could read anything on the Internet. For free. Not being used to money Satiricus liked “free”.
And he found out that Gatsby made a lot of his money from selling “moonshine” – which is what the Americans called “bush rum”. “Wow!!” thought Satiricus. “Guyana didn’t smuggle bush rum anymore…but the Mook sure did smuggle that “white lady” to New York! The Mook was so clever to put it in the curass and gill-backa he shipped to his friend Tiny who had the fish shops in the Bronx and Queens!”
Gatsby also pimped prostitutes – but since he moved the girls across state lines – the Feds called it “human trafficking”. “My God!!” exclaimed Gatsby. “This is incredible!! The Mook did the same thing to make his money when he did “backtracking” to New York! When girls couldn’t pay the US$10,000 per head, his friend Tiny would have them pick fare on 42nd Street!!”
This CurlyLocks certainly knew the Mook up close and personal to say he was just like Gatsby. Gatsby liked to throw big parties where whiskey flowed like the Mississippi River. The Mook did the same in every rum shop around his Muckraker Press!! It was rum till the Mook fall into Sussex Street Canal!!
And when Satiricus realised how Gatsby could live such a life of crime and the FBI didn’t throw him in the slammer – he knew that the Mook was the reincarnation of the Gatsby. The FBI gave the Mook a free pass because he finked on all his old friends who ran the moonshine and prostitution rackets!
And here it was in black and white: the US embassy – the local reps of the Feds has sworn that the Mook was their local snitch!!
When was CurlyLocks going to write the Great Guyanese novel: The Mook – from rags to bags (of money!!)
October 21, 2014 By
…of a comrade
The testimony of the widow of Dr Walter Rodney, Dr Patricia Rodney, at the Rodney CoI, was a study in grace and courage. “Grace”, not to show any bitterness at the odious betrayal of the principles her husband had died for, by his erstwhile comrades. Some of whom were in the room with her. And courage, to face those “comrades” down and insist there be a Commission of Inquiry into the “murder most foul” of her husband.
After so many false starts, she had to’ve had doubts as to whether there’d ever be any closure on that tragic event. In 2005, after the Government had set the ball rolling on an Inquiry, she’d agreed that Rupert Roopnaraine – pretender to the Rodney banner – would work with her to set the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry.
That initiative went nowhere, because Roopnaraine diddled and dawdled, since he knew the revelations would prove fatal to the PNC in the upcoming elections.
He was more solicitous of the effects on the PNC’s electoral fortunes than the need to seek justice for his fallen comrade! Mrs Rodney eventually faced these Pharisees in the WPA down and crafted the ToRs with the present Government, and hence the present CoI.
Finally! No thanks to the WPA. But knowing what was coming down the pike for the PNC, Roopnaraine, now a full-fleshed and open coalition partner of the PNC in APNU, essayed another betrayal of the world-famous scholar who’d been cut down in his prime.
He claimed Rodney was “stockpiling arms”… thus giving the PNC and its army (as Granger recently argued) a plausible reason to go after Rodney. Mrs Rodney confirmed what every other WPA activist has asserted: the claim was a figment of Roopnaraine’s imagination. Patricia Rodney, a nurse while married to Walter Rodney, must be saluted for raising her children with great dignity and success – even as she earned her own PhD.
But she made one interesting revelation in her testimony: just before he was murdered, Dr Rodney had decided to emigrate to Zimbabwe. This meant the great champion of Opposition to the PNC dictatorship had concluded that there was not much more he could do to help remove the PNC dictatorship after his bold push in 1979.
What had changed?? Rodney would’ve realised by then – for him to do things like testing walkie-talkies – that he could not count on those who shouted, “Revolution!! Revolution!!”
They’re still among us. Beware!!
…and double-edged swords
Young people say, “Payback’s a bitch!” Old people say, “What goes around, comes around.” And of course there’s always Malcolm X’s “chickens coming home to roost” prediction. We’re talking about the firestorm that’s engulfing David Granger over his cavalier (we’re being kind, here) treatment of his erstwhile Linden “constituency”.
Thing is, it was Granger who “bigged up” Solomon and Kissoon and the rest of the Linden posse. Things were sweet when Granger basked in the reflected glow of their extremist behaviour that got three innocent lives snuffed out. He could’ve manned up and told the people that the electricity equalisation was not such a bad thing – and that he’d given his word to the President of Guyana on the matter.
But Granger took the easy way out – encouraged widespread destruction of property and other illegalities. He didn’t realise that once he went down that road – there was no turning back. Any reasonable response to the Government’s initiatives would be dubbed a “betrayal”. He “tried a thing” at Congress to reassert his authority. But that only backfired.
He has a tiger by the tail…but it’s a tiger he created!!
…by Mook Lall
Mook Lall’s taking down the old couple who were his pawns on the duty-free car scam. These folks didn’t declare to the US IRS where they got the US$200,000 in cold cash to pay for the Lexuses in the States.
This means “forfeiture of property” and “jail time”.
October 21, 2014 By
I write to condemn the AFC for its religious insensitivity in calling for the convening of Parliament on the eve of Diwali, the most significant celebration for Hindus in Guyana and one in which almost every Guyanese enjoys through its participation in the motorcades, concerts and meals (delicacies).
Hindus in Guyana were fuming with rage that my very good friends Moses Nagamootoo, Khemraj Ramjattan and Veerasammy Ramayya and other MPs and executives of AFC have the audacity to sign on to the party’s demand that Parliament meet on the eve of Diwali.
At the West Coast motorcade and various other Diwali-related events where I was present and in the mandirs on Sunday morning, it was a subject of discussion – like myself, they cannot understand how the AFC, a party that should have been different from the others, could display such gross disrespect for Hindus on insisting that Parliament meet on October 22 when Hindus are in the midst of celebrating their festival, which is followed by a public holiday in recognition of the importance of the religious event.
Worse yet, they feel Moses, Khemraj, Ramayya, all of whom come from Hindu families, and have Hindu neighbours, should know better to seek the convening of Parliament on such an auspicious occasion for Hindus.
These gentlemen are my friends, but I cannot let them off the hook by not criticising their insensitivity towards Hindus. It shows they don’t even know their own culture. How could these men allow themselves to be led astray to disrespect the entire Hindu population?
Here it is that non-Hindus and non-Indians could appreciate Diwali, but the AFC MPs can’t show any respect for the festival. Openness and tolerance of other faiths must begin at the very top of any organisation.
When Hindus themselves don’t understand their practices and traditions, they open themselves to humiliation and become the laughing stock of others. Hindus, in fact all Guyanese, are disappointed in the AFC for its religious insensitivity. A public apology is needed.
Diwali is an eternally sacred Hindu event of great spiritual significance in the Rig Vedic Adivasi Puranic culture of Hinduism and Hindus. The extraordinary secular features of public displays of pomp and splendour should not detract from the essential protocols of devotion and worship and respect for those who do.
Recognition of the Shakti (invulnerable divine powers) of Maha Lakshmi Devi, the Divine Mother, is of paramount importance to Hindus in Guyana.
I expect my friend Moses, for whom I have great regard and consistently extolled his virtues, and, by extension, the AFC to be mindful of Diwali being a national festival with spiritual, religious and temporal features in respect of which any form of disrespect or violation will redound to the discredit of the country and the nation. DIWALI is a legacy of our illustrious indentured immigrant ancestors and should be seen and duly respected as such.
Calling for reconvening Parliament on Diwali Eve is very disrespectful – it is no different than reconvening Parliament on Christmas Eve or the eve of Eid.
Diwali is not a one-day event. It is observed over a five-day period and it really comes to an end on the sixth day with Goberdhan puja, the day after official observance of Diwali. It is for this reason that Parliament goes into recess in many societies (India, Mauritius, Fiji, Natal, Durban, Guadeloupe, etc) with a large number of Hindus – they don’t wish to appear insensitive to Hindus.
Even in the US, Congress is in recess as in Canada and Britain. In neighbouring Trinidad and Suriname, Parliament has been in recess for the festival. But in Guyana, it appears it is okay for the AFC to disrespect Hindus.
It is also noted that while Diwali is officially celebrated as a holiday on October 22, the day before and after Diwali are very auspicious in which all Hindus engage in fasting and performing pujas.
Also, this year, because of the eclipse and the position of the moon, some experts have claimed that Diwali is on October 22 while others claim it is on the 23th. Because of the interpretation, and to please Goddess Lakshmi, many Hindus are observing the festival with celebrations on both nights and some mandirs in New York are having special pujas on both evenings.
At any rate, it has been the custom in Guyana that diyas are lit in front of homes of Hindus on the eve of Diwali and business close up early on that day to facilitate rituals.
Parliamentary business cannot and should not be conducted on that day as it is inauspicious for Hindus – Hindus close out business on that day for the old year in the Hindu calendar; they don’t engage in new business.
AFC should seriously think of attending cultural sensitivity courses and to learn about the religious practices of the various faiths in Guyana. The party leadership needs training in religious sensitivity. They have to be trained to follow the practices of peers in India, Durban, Mauritius, Fiji, Guadeloupe, St Lucia, etc, all of which show their respect for the Indian population.
October 21, 2014 By
Mr Khurshid Sattaur is a man of moral uprightness and one to be emulated. A fearless, no-nonsense public servant who is doing an excellent job in a hostile and unfriendly atmosphere.
As head of the Guyana Revenue Authority, he is given the unenviable task of ensuring that our country gets its fair share of taxes. Simply put, he is in a crucial position, a make or break situation if you please – the collection of revenue for the smooth running of the state we call Guyana.
For us to succeed as a nation, the all-important dollar – millions of it – must be collected in a timely and honest manner. This means that his success is our success and conversely, his failure will automatically be our failure.
In this regard, all illegal and unsavoury practices to undermine the rights of the people to earn their fair share of taxes is a criminal act and should be condemned for all its worth. At this juncture of our development, we can ill afford the likes of those who intentionally rob us.
Tax cheats ought to be exposed and brought before the courts for non-payment of their dues. They have to pay what they owe, not Khurshid Sattaur, but they owe the people of Guyana.
This is why the Commissioner General would remain my mentor and my hero. I join with the countless number of persons in support of your good work. We salute your most valuable contribution to this nation.
October 21, 2014 By
One of my lasting memories of Cheddi was his love for people and his constant desire to meet, chat and discuss matters which were very important to them – be it personal or community-related, whether he was in Opposition or the Executive President of Guyana.
Today, we are witnessing a different breed of his students and party comrades. In this context, Cheddi, therefore, had set aside one day in each month in order to meet the public at Freedom House.
Those of us who knew him and who worked with him would know he always prepared for a very long and hard day. He would work well into the following day, until the last person was seen and their problems discussed and giving the necessary instructions to those Ministers who were assigned to work with him on that day.
Sometimes he used to remain in the Office of the President, busy getting matters done. At the end of the exercise, an assessment of the day’s work would be prepared by all of his Ministers and the actions taken, together with the notes for future reference.
People came from all walks of life and from all over the country, both coast and hinterland areas. Today, if you have an appointment with a Minister, you cannot find him in office. The problems raised with Dr Jagan were many and varied.
People with problems that could not be resolved at the local level looked to Cheddi for the necessary representation. He made sure that the matters raised and discussed were dealt with promptly and the decisions made and passed expeditiously.
Cheddi was a serious President, regardless of your position – be it Office Assistant, Minister or General Secretary, you knew you had to perform. He was a source of inspiration.
He would tell us where there is a problem, there is a solution. Smilingly, he said that your success served to prove whether you had leadership potential and abilities. There was no doubt that he was by far the most popular PPP politician among the party’s grassroots supporters.
He is known to have got the highest number of votes at each PPP Congress.
In the meantime, the PPP is in crisis. Many observers believe that the party will need the most intelligent, able and acceptable candidate to lead the PPP at this time. The reality is that rough times are ahead. This election could lead to a no-win situation.
October 21, 2014 By
Recent developments in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) have exposed the inability of the current leadership of the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNCR) to manage the affairs of its party in a democratic, inclusive and transparent manner.
As a matter of fact, 2014 marks the first year since the party’s formation back in 1957 that there is so much discord, dissatisfaction, infighting, chaos and bullyism taking place within its ranks at Region 10. The problems which are facing that region did not start this year, but have their genesis in the rigged internal elections of 2011.
Those elections saw a cosmetic brand of democracy at work and David Granger, was catapulted to the seat of power within the hierarchy of the PNCR. But the manner in which the leadership responded to the concerns of Region 10 in 2012 during the period of unrest has exposed its inability to respond to and consistently advocate for the needs of their grassroots constituency.
Granger has used his offices both as PNCR leader and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Chairman to launch barefaced attacks on the integrity of those who oppose either the path that he is taking the party down or his elitist management style. This is evident in the manner in which Vanessa Kissoon, Sharma Solomon, Maurice Butters and Aubrey Norton, among others, have been treated because they chose to stand up for their rights.
It is no secret that several other hard-working and dedicated senior party members who fought side by side with consecutive leaders of the PNC have also been sidelined because they failed to support Granger’s militarisation of the party or his elitist and puerile vision of the country’s political system.
Granger went further when he hand-picked and imposed Sandra Adams on Linden as its coordinator because she is willing to dance to his tune. But the residents of Linden and Region 10 have shown over the past four years that they will not allow themselves to be railroaded by any politician, including their comrade-leader.
It is also clear that Granger had no intention of addressing the concerns of Linden about the Clarke/Kissoon spat, the failed operationalisation of several aspects of the agreement signed between the Government and the Region 10 Administration, his own inability to visit the region more frequently to do field work, the imposition of the docile Linden Coordinator, and the fiasco and shooting which took place at the party’s 18th biennial congress.
He could have avoided the embarrassment of having scores of protesters present at the poorly-attended meeting organised where his leadership was compared with the Ebola and Chikungunya viruses.
It is also shameful Granger was pleading his own cause and begging the public to believe that he was “a man of the people” and was “grassroots oriented”. His rationale for being a self-proclaimed people’s person was that no one really told him otherwise face to face.
No other senior PNCR member with any sort of standing within the ranks of party has come to his rescue with the aim of championing his cause at Linden. The truth is, compared to Forbes Burnham, Desmond Hoyte and Robert Corbin, David Granger is the only leader that the people of Linden is now rejecting so publicly since the new post-independence dispensation.
While Granger continues to be in denial about the shortcomings of the PNCR leadership under his stewardship, support is waning at Linden and in the wider Region 10, and the AFC is on the prowl.
The PNCR has started to save face and is organising a series of interventions that can hopefully serve as a temporary plaster for the lacerations and stab wounds inflicted by Granger and those who do his bidding on a region that already has its share of challenges and struggles.
Maybe, some historians are not meant to be politicians. Maybe self-proclaimed aristocrats were never meant to lead in the Republic. Maybe Plato was wrong.
October 21, 2014 By