May 06, 2021 Letters
This has reference to the ongoing raging controversy regarding the comment of Amanza Walton-Desir that Indians are “mentally lazy, relying on PPP to think for them.” The statement and the subsequent attempt to clarify what she meant do not help to improve race relations. The bold attempts by David Hinds, Vincent Alexander, Rickford Burke have not helped Walton-Desir. It would have been better for these race baiters to remain silent and for her to simply say she was misunderstood and she deeply apologises for the inelegant remark. It would have brought an end to the issue and kept her name in good standing among the populace.
Walton-Desir’s ‘mentally lazy’ remark, her defense of or attempt to explain it and the feeble defence put up by PNC stalwarts come across as ‘racist’ even if that was not the intention. I voted for the coalition in 2015 and 2020 for similar reasons that Indians voted for PPP. Indians were forced to vote PPP blindly because of perceived racism emanating from PNC not because they are mentally lazy. Indians continue to support PPP because of what they experienced as PNC’s history of racism and such racism persists in the mindset of many PNC politicians and as exhibited in the kind of remark made by Walton-Desir. Why would Messrs. Alexander, Hinds and Burke defend her? They should have rebuked her. Why are Joe Harmon and former President David Granger silent about her remark?
The history of the founding of the PNC would show that some prominent Indians initially supported the party. Were they also mentally lazy? They were insulted and shoved out of the party leaving the PNC as an exclusive African party. When the PNC governed between December 1964 and October 1992, it made virtually no genuine effort to embrace Indians of integrity or to share power with PPP, the party of Indians. It recruited and offered positions to opportunistic Indians who had no standing among Indians. The PNC governed for one race and rigged to remain in office. Not one credible Indian embraced PNC. Some of the PNC policies were asinine, alienating and marginalising Indians, causing them to remain in or gravitate towards the PPP camp. Desmond Hoyte attempted to reach out to Indians around 1988, but it was too little too late. Hoyte should have repudiated Burnham’s racist policies right after he rigged the December 1985 elections. He formed CREEP that included prominent businesspersons who had to constantly ‘dole out’ to stay in business. Were they mentally lazy? Indians had no choice but to embrace Cheddi Jagan and the PPP in 1992.
Cheddi, Sam Hinds and Janet Jagan governed honestly and did not alienate Africans. But the PPP governed poorly after the two Jagans and Sam. There was Indian revulsion of corruption post 1999. The Indian community rebelled against the PPP with some supporting ROAR in 2001 and the AFC in 2006. Indians constituted the bulk of the AFC’s 11% support in November, 2011. Indians were against the AFC entering into a coalition with PNC in 2015. But Indians still voted for the PNC led alliance propelling it into government. But the PNC did not change its stripes. It resumed its hardcore anti-Indian ethos. Instead of the PNC embracing Indians and pursuing policies to win over more of them, the PNC returned to the racist policy of Forbes Burnham, alienating and marginalising Indians. Indians of integrity, probity and incorruptible honesty were not recruited or approached for racial reconciliation. Appeals for shared governance by Indian rights advocates were rejected. Worse, they were attacked by African rights activists in the PNC. David Granger blew an opportunity to politically divide Indians by empowering those opposed to corruption. Instead, the PNC embraced the corrupt. The Indian leadership in the coalition, in the form of Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan, were powerless; the AFC could not deliver to their Indian constituents.
By virtue of racism that seems integral to the PNC party and fundamental to its ideology, Indians were forced to return to the PPP despite of their general hate of a corrupt PPP. Indians knew that the PPP would resume its corrupt practices that characterised its governance between 2000 and 2015. But the Indians had a tough choice in 2020 – a racist PNC or a corrupt PPP; they voted for the latter to put an end to what they feared would be a racist militarised government. Indians have sought protection under the umbrella of the PPP.
Since August 2020, PPP government has resumed corrupt acts as reported in the independent media. Instead of trying to win back Indians, Walton-Desir and others are attacking them with this idiotic comment. PPP does not need to campaign for any election. The PNC is doing an excellent job pushing Indians into the PPP camp. What PNC is doing will keep it in opposition forever.
I wasted my ballot in voting or the coalition in 2015 and 2020. PNC racism is so dangerous that not even a single African intellectual allied with that party has condemned the attempts to rig the election for fear of repercussion. And not one PNC activist has come out to condemn Walton-Desir. The PPP, on the other hand, is subjected to ongoing critiques by Indian intellectuals. On this point, which group displays more mental laziness? If anyone is mentally lazy, it is people like Walton-Desir and those who refused to call out the PNC for election rigging and racist policies.
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