For a fella who had disavowed his being “Indian” just before the last elections, Nagamootoo’s certainly been busy commemorating the links between Indians in the Caribbean and India.
Some (maybe unkindly?) have suggested that his disavowal might’ve been an effort to please his new partners in APNU. But most of those worthies were very proud of their African roots; and, in fact, David Granger had spent most of his post-army time digging into the history of Africans in Guyana and the Caribbean.
So maybe Nagamootoo’s now realised the error of his ways and embraced his Indian roots? Early on, he went over to India as the chief guest at a gathering in Madras, India – the region from whence he originated; then, in March, he joined Granger at Highbury, where the first Indian indentured immigrants landed in the western hemisphere.
Evidently encouraged by Granger’s rather open praise of Indians’ contributions to Guyana, he journeyed forth to Trinidad, where he commemorated the end of Indian indentureship at a regional conference.
Between those engagements, of course, he’d broken ground for a monument to be erected to indentured Indians at the Berbice village interestingly named “Palmyra”. This was the name of an ancient town in Syria that was filled with monuments 2000 years ago. Anyhow, the base of the monument in Palmyra, Berbice soon crumbled, leaving the structure remarkably like the ruins in the Palmyra in Syria.
But back to Nagamootoo. The Chronic this Sunday reported he was all the way in Guadeloupe, in the French Caribbean, to commemorate the end of Indian indentureship with people of Indian origin (GOPIO). Now, most folks don’t even KNOW Indians were sent to Guadeloupe (and its sister island of Martinique) as indentured labourers; so, like your eyewitness said, Nagamootoo’s now doing a good job of spreading a Pan-Indian-Caribbean awareness!!
But the Chronic was — not surprisingly — coy about telling it as it is. Your Eyewitness hopes the PM’s Shill’s taking notice of this silencing of his master’s voice. The Chronic didn’t even mention the words “Indian Indentureship” in the headline; they just said Nagamootoo was at a “civic reception”! “CIVIC” reception?? Everybody at the reception — including Henri Nagapin, President of the Chamber of Commerce — was of Indian origin!!
So, since the Chronic was so sparing with the facts, allow your humble Eyewitness to fill the gaps. The British weren’t too parsimonious about sending off Indians to labour for the French and Dutch. About 42,000 Indians were shipped to Guadeloupe and 25,000 to Martinique between 1854 and 1889, after the abolition of slavery by the French in 1848. Isolated, even in the Caribbean, they accepted they’re of “Indian origin”!! Will Nagamootoo now come out of the closet??
…in the Public Service
When the PPP was in office, the AFC and APNU joined with Patrick Yarde, lifetime president of the GPSU, to denounce what they claimed was an alarmingly burgeoning number of ‘contract employees” in the Public Service. Folks were being hired, but on “contract”; and they were not members of the GPSU. Their pay scales could therefore be — and were — outside the official pay scales. Additionally, they received a gratuity every three months in lieu of a pension.
The PPP claimed this was the only way they could attract qualified personnel. Didn’t cut any ice!! The APNU/AFC combined huffed and puffed and promised to scrap the system immediately they get into office, so regular Public Service workers would be better paid — and Yarde could collect union dues! But a funny thing happened in the last two years: while the Govt’s been firing contract workers, their NUMBERS HAVE GROWN!!! What happened??
The ethnicity of the new ones hired — after the PPP ones were fired — solved the problem!
Your Eyewitness is rather excited about us growing “Irish” potatoes. The Jamaican experience should give us hope after the failures recorded during Forbes’s experiments.
Just don’t ban the damned “aloo” right away!!