I refer to a letter by Abu Bakr (“Guyana should be a collection of groups defining themselves in ways which include but are not limited to race,” SN, August 1, 2014) in which he made the following opinion, “Fazeel Feroze, the CIOG leader, may be like many Muslims cited as a case of leader of a post racial group …Muslim groups in this country have done as much as Christians to reach out to members of the other race.”
I had cause in a previous letter to point out to Abu that his distance from Guyana limits his knowledge of who is who and what takes place in Guyana. I think he should not only be careful but wise enough to reflect on some statements he makes on what takes place in this country. I offer to two examples of assertions made by Abu which indicate that he is not as familiar with the day to day events, some of which you must know in order to be analytically relevant
Abu referred to Vishnu Bisram as a respected pollster. Surely, Abu should know that such misinformation can hurt Abu’s own credibility. No one in Guyana from one end of this country to the other holds the view that Mr. Bisram is a credible pollster, much less a respected one. My own writings in the two independent dailies over a ten year period have exposed Mr. Bisram as a very questionable operator. As a matter of policy, the two independent dailies do not carry the findings of his so-called surveys as news but allow him to publish same in the letter pages
Secondly, Abu wrote recently that he is not aware of the existence of the Cuffy 250 Committee. This is a committed African rights organization quite active in Guyana the past three years and holds a bi-weekly education forums and community meetings. I have been an invited speaker at many of these symposia as recent as last week.
These are innocent mistakes by Abu, but if they go on I honestly think it will curtail his influence among readers. I come now to the third lapse and I must confess I find this one egregious. I live in Guyana where I keep a meticulous eye on what goes on and I have to confess I don’t know about Fazeel Feroze being a post-racial person.
In my perspective, Mr. Feroze heads a religious denomination, the CIOG that is a racially prone organization with preference for East Indians. Mr. Feroze was a close confidante of then serving President Jagdeo and still is. Here are some facts about the CIOG that Abu needs to know. The CIOG was a strategic partner with the Guyana Government in hosting a Day of Appreciation for President Jagdeo. The CIOG speakers also graced the podium.
Mr. Feroze has traveled with Mr. Jagdeo on official overseas visits. The CIOG is one of the founding members of the Indian Arrival Committee which in the opinion of this writer is a racially suspect. For more on the politics of the CIOG see my KN column, “The politics of Guyanese Muslims,” Jan 14, 2014.
Now here are some curious data on the CIOG. What I am about to write does not identify a particular leader of the CIOG but is applicable to the CIOG. The youth arm of the CIOG, MYO, late last year suggested that crimes against Indians have an ethnic motivation. The MYO even suggested opposition input. For more, see my KN column, “Will racial tribalism forever dominate Guyana?” September 22, 2013. In that column I called upon the MYO to apologize. It never did
One of Guyana’s most respected senior (very senior) police officers told some of us in the media that when a teacher of Islamic studies was at the police station being questioned on pedophilia, a call came from a very senior CIOG official asking for his release. A police officer told me he was under severe pressure not to appear as a witness in the court case involving the son of rich Muslim who opened fire on a police party trying to stop a wild party at 3.30 a.m. in Vreed-en-Hoop. In a bizarre turn of events, the police got charged for assaulting the gun man. So much for self-defence.
The CIOG is also not without influence in the Judiciary.
In all these situations cited above, I cannot be more specific for legal reasons. Finally, two quick points. The number of Black Guyanese Muslim in the CIOG is less than one percent. African Guyanese see the CIOG as a political organization linked to the PPP. Christian churches (I am not a Christian nor Hindu or anything else) are more multi-racial. The CIOG is not. I close with an assertion that Feroze nor the CIOG are post-racial. Maybe post-racial when they are the post office.
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