Kaieteur News – When I read pieces by some African Guyanese referring to the relevance of Black Lives Matter (BLM) to Guyana, I knew it was a propagandistic line that Indian rights activists should confront. These African Guyanese commentators were pronouncing on a sociological situation that obfuscates the real fact – Indian lives do not matter in Guyana.
Indian lives did not matter for Ronald Waddell. During the raging flames of “mo fyaah\slo fyaah,” he urged Indian Guyanese who voted for the PNC to seek physical safety from PNC supporters. Some people have described Waddell as a non-violent man. Obviously, they do not know what Waddell did in Buxton during the gory violence there between 2002 and 2006.
From mo fyaah/slo fyaah, from 1997 to the Buxton mayhem right up to September 2020 in Cotton Tree in Region Five, there were instances when Indian Guyanese were mercilessly and relentlessly harmed and killed but no Indian rights activist has invented the slogan – Indian Lives Matter (ILM).
Despite this pattern of consistent violence against Indians, some people began to talk about BLM in Guyana as if Indian lives did not matter. In the unfolding of things, there are claims being made by PNC surrogates on their Meta pages that African Guyanese are being discriminated against. There is no mention of anti-Indian violence since 1997. The list is almost inexhaustible.
No one can tell me about Indian Lives Matter. I investigated the mayhem in Buxton from 2002 -2006. It was an orgy of violence directed against innocent Indian Guyanese because the government was seen as Indianised. There is no mention of 42,000 sugar workers, their families and relatives who were driven onto the breadline.
This activist picketed against the increase in electricity rate in Linden in 2012. This activist protested for one year outside Parliament in a grass-root movement we called “People’s Parliament” when three protestors were killed in the protest. The People’s Parliament had as its chief organiser an Indian woman named Sherlina Nageer.
Where were the voices in support of Indian lives when 42,000 families connected to the sugar industry were torn asunder? Many suicides occurred in the sugar belt after the closure of the sugar estates. There were no voices from civil society. There were no voices from the dozens of women rights groups we have here. Why was this so? Because Indian lives do not matter.
Against this background is the story of one of the vacancies in the GECOM Secretariat for a Deputy Chief Election Officer (DCEO) to replace removed DCEO, Roxanne Myers. Ms. Myers contested the post against the incumbent, Vishnu Persaud. He lost because then chairman, James Patterson, voted with the three PNC commissioners to replace Mr. Persaud. The ousted DCEO filed a case of racial discrimination with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) and won. But he was never recalled.
The ERC ruled on two things one of which is shocking and for which Mr. Patterson should have been brought before the ERC. The ERC concluded that on both experience and qualification, Mr. Persaud was more suited for the position than Myers. Secondly, Patterson never interviewed Persaud but gave him a poor scoring.
When the ERC enquired of this anomaly, Patterson said he arrived at his decision based on a document which he would supply to the ERC. The ERC did not receive it. Based on commissioner, Vincent Alexander’s description of Persaud, he was sued for defamation of character and Mr. Persaud won judgment.
This society has been unfair to Persaud. His denial of his rights is life’s unfairness that has driven me in my existence on earth to fight against it. The Stabroek News has carried three editorials decrying the removal of Dr. Vincent Adams from the Environmental Protection Agency, even though Dr. Adams is one of the leaders in the main opposition party – APNU+AFC. The Guyana Human Rights Association never uttered a word about Persaud.
Wrongs must be righted. People who have been denied their rights must be given their day. I know all my life about the pain of having your rights trampled on. As the dialectics roll on and social progress moves towards greater forms of justice, wrongs must be righted.
Cruel violations against innocent humans should have no statute of limitation. People must have their day in court. They must have their day in front of natural law. They must have their day when human conscience rules over society. Vishnu Persaud must have his day.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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