Kaieteur News – Dr. Persaud is the constitutional affairs advisor to President Ali. He returned home after 40 years from Guyana. He was professor of international relations at the American University in Washington, DC. I ran into him last Sunday.
As we talked about politics, two subjects were raised that I found myself in complete agreement with Dr. Persaud and thus was born this column. I did not know until Dr. Persaud informed me that two well-known Indian academics in the diaspora have equated indentureship with slavery. He says he resents that.
I think any historian and any educated person who knows a little bit of history would resent that. It is deeply offensive and racist. Slavery is the world’s worst miscarriage of justice and the most deadly expression of man’s inhumanity to man.
Slavery is the most terrible tragedy of the entire history of civilization. For any academic to equate slavery with indentureship is unfit to be an academic. Dr. Persaud named both men.
I know both gentlemen and I am disgusted that they could misuse their scholarship in such racist fashion. I am tempted to name them but I have to get Dr. Persaud’s permission first.
The second topic was about some elements in the Guyana diaspora. This is a mental burden that has been tormenting me since 1986 when I joined the UG teaching staff. I came home in 1984 after leaving the University of Toronto to serve the Maurice Bishop Government of Grenada (Guyana should name something after Bishop who fully supported the anti-dictatorship struggle against Burnham; PM Bishop told me that Cheddi Jagan was one of his heroes).
I had no idea that UG was so barren when I came home. I served that institution for 26 years and it was an experience of a patriotic journey. I resent people from the diaspora who “push their mouths” into the affairs of this land and never contributed one hour of elevating the physiology of UG.
Professor Persaud told me he has just returned from a week’s visit to the US and he thinks some elements in the diaspora are getting to much press here. He said countless number of them have said to him that they will never return when he raised the question.
I suspect Dr. Persaud had in mind those diaspora signatures that signed a letter in the Stabroek News of Sunday, November 13, 2022. The advocacy in the letter is for a cessation of oil and gas operation in Guyana.
Presidential advisor on security, Jerry Gouveia on the Gildarie-Freddie Kissoon Show told me that the word asinine is too mild to address the demand of these signatures. In fact as I write, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair has said that British PM, Rishi Sunak is about to issue license for further oil drilling in the North Sea.
Before I go further, I need to mention that one of the signatures, Gerald Pereira, the leader of the small political party, Organization of the Victory of the People, told me he would like to cancel his name because he would not like his name to be associated with some of the signatures.
As we look at the diaspora names please bear in mind Dr. Persaud’s two points – certain diaspora personalities are getting too much press and they are never coming back. I will avoid any analysis of the names I am about to outline. I will avoid any comment whatsoever. I will ensure I do not get a libel writ. I will just state the facts.
1 – Dr. Janet Bulkan serves the University of British Columbia.
2- Dr. Alissa Trotz serves the University of Toronto
3- Dr. Nigel Westmass serves Hamilton College in New York
4- Dr. Maya Trots serves the University of South Florida
5 – Isabelle DeCaires lives in her homeland of the UK where her son plays cricket in the country championship for Middlesex.
6 – Abyssinian Carto is of Rastafari orientation that lives in New York. He left Guyana a very long time ago.
7- Dr. Cary Gildarie lives in New York. He left Guyana years now.
8 – Terry Roopnaraine lives in his homeland of the UK. He may be nearing his fifties.
9 – Pauline Melville moved to the UK since the early 1950s.
10 – Alma O’Connell lives in Canada
11 – Christina Samaroo moved to New York in 2008
12 – Luke Daniels lives in the UK
I am not going to mention children and family members that live in the developed world but I am going to end by pointing out that the countries these names above live in, the fossil fuel industry is in full operation and is now of urgent value because of the Ukrainian war.
(The views expressed in this articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
Exxon has to put up a sign board across the Demerara Harbour Bridge to tell Guyanese what % of revenue we are getting from the Stabroek Block!
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