Lewis not accurate on Critchlow
Reference is made to Mr. Lincoln Lewis’s “Bisram doesn’t care about the Linden issue or the people” (KN May 22). Lewis’s claims are not coherent or substantiated with facts and he ought to stop rewriting history and derogating the important contributions Indians made to the struggle for the ballot in Guyana.
Lewis originally queried when did any Indian ever fight for the ballot in Guyana and charged President Ramotar with using racially coded language when Ramotar stated he wants to lower the cost of electricity so all Guyanese can enjoy the rates being paid by Lindeners. Now, Lewis introduces extraneous issues and levels all kinds of unsubstantiated allegations unrelated to his initial claims.
Lewis asked a basic question, getting factually correct answers cited from several texts (Dwarka Nath, etc.). Historians noted that since 1910, several Indians (some names provided) petitioned for voting rights and gained representation in the legislature. I also posited that the struggle for the right to vote was not carried out in a vacuum but was interconnected with the total struggle for all kinds of rights. And I did indicate that Africans were the first to rebel against the colonial system for human dignity and rights. I did not manufacture the evidence, but cited a few texts where relevant information was obtained.
Lewis now claims the texts are wrong and that no Indian ever fought for suffrage but he offers no citations to substantiate his claim. Lewis claims that it was Mr. Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow who fought for universal suffrage in 1926 (some 16 years after Indians petitioned for the right to vote) at a Congress of Caribbean Labour Leaders. He also claims that Dr. Cheddi Jagan was not instrumental in the battle for the franchise which he maintained was all the work of Critchlow. He also said Indians and the PPP do not give recognition to Critchlow. That claim is not substantiated with facts.
Critchlow was a hero to the African working class but Lewis is not correct on Critchlow’s position on universal suffrage. Peeping Tom (KN May 19) offers an apt background on Critchlow and suffrage.
Mr. Lewis comes across as an angry man who is leveling charges based on racially motivated emotions and fictions rather than on facts. He will do himself a favour to engage in a civil, focused debate that can be backed by facts and cited evidence. I also wish to note that contrary to what Lewis claims, I like Linden and visited the town several times. The people are warm and hospitable and I was entertained in homes.