May 05, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Happy, blessed Arrival Day to all Guyanese. We at this publication are going to step ahead of the crowd: “Happy Indian Arrival Day”, first to Indians, then to every other segment of the Guyanese demographic within the broad bands of its multicoloured rainbow. Let it be that kind of day for Indians, then for all citizens of this now proud land. Let it be both in name, and in spirit, with each having their pride of place.
There ought not to be any impatient discussions, no surges of passions, none of the pressing convictions over a name: it must be the reality. Indians in Guyana have paid their dues, earned their place, and it is a grand one. So, why not let it just be, without this hesitation, with leaving behind the inaction, those ingredients that contribute so much to misperception.
Guyanese of Indian heritage should not be forced to beg on their knees, or raise their voices, or lift their fingers to get their messages of concern across. Jack should be given his rightful jacket. In the identical fashion, there must be the idea that Indians are due their National Day of Recognition. Recognition that is specific to their history, recognition that takes joyful note of their presence, and recognition which captures the essences of their place in the pantheon of Guyana’s rich, diverse, and dynamic peoples.
From the first distant dockside departed to the present currents of energy and vitality, Indians have played their roles, and filled their parts. Though some of their passage across water and land may now be obscured by the mists of time and memory, by the all too familiar casualness of official neglect (maybe even some traces of disdain), there can be no denying that the Indian demographic in Guyana has strived and thrived and make this country come alive. They, therefore, should be hailed to the heights for where they have come from, what they have done, and where they are. It must be said also for the untapped reserves of skill and strength, and the deep sense of citizenship that is part of the Guyanese substance.
It has not been our custom or practice to single out any one section of the local population for special attention, any particular mention. But right is right, and when it has been a long time coming, then we say let it come. Let it be now, so that there is no feeling of inferiority, no accuracy in the contention that there is indifference in influential places to the call and cry of Indian Guyanese that their time has come, and that they must have their day. It would bring a peace of mind, a spirit of devotion to other things in this country that are the source of much anxiety, much distress, perhaps greater than what visits this vigorous and relentless push for a place under the Guyanese sun.
On this Arrival (Indian) Day, there are those conditions that stir the deepest regret, what leaves a hollow feeling in the pit of the stomach. On this day of celebration, there are too many Indian Guyanese who are as poor as dirt, and hurt all the more for it. Because they are more in the count of heads, they likely experience more, they struggle more, suffer maybe more. Part of the plight of Indians in Guyana is that, like the Amerindians in their original places of local abode, they have been used as pawns for the purposes of powerful men and women in this country. Save for a specially chosen few of their brethren, they are left to manage however they can, with whatever they can get.
Unfortunately, this has been the case not just for Indians and Amerindians in Guyana, but for every spoke in the umbrella that is Guyana. All should be rich, all are poor, other than the select princes and princesses who gobble up the shares of their weaker, slower, brothers. Indians have arrived, so also has Guyana. But to what and for whom, those are the questions. Indian Arrival must be more than a name; it must be the badge of self-assured citizenship that is the birthright of every Guyanese.
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By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
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