The following hard-hitting statement was presented by Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MP., and Attorney-at-Law at a press conference hosted by the Opposition PPP/C yesterday
The history of the PPP is a history of a struggle for racial, ethnic and class unity in Guyana. There is in existence a 66-year-old track record of incontrovertible evidence supporting the same.
In Government, we enacted a series of legislation; we implemented a plethora of policies; we amended the constitution and expanded the fundamental rights and freedoms of our people; we established, for the first time in our country’s history, a number of constitutional commissions, for example, the Ethnic Relations Commission and the Indigenous People’s Commission; we signed every major international treaty on the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of human rights in this hemisphere – all of the foregoing were conceived and designed to prevent and eliminate racial discrimination and to promote harmony among all the people of our country. As ours is a philosophy that this nation can never achieve its full potential and our people will never be able to realize their aspirations, unless we move forward as one people, while at the same time striving to retain our individual history, heritage, culture and religion.
Against this backdrop, the PPP and its leadership have always been in the vanguard of the struggle to expose and condemn discrimination, whenever it raises its ugly head, in any form or fashion. In this vein, speaking to a gathering in New York, last Sunday, Opposition Leader, Cde Bharrat Jagdeo is reported to have said “There is an assault on our democracy. There is an assault on people of Indian origin. There is an assault on supporters of the PPP.” The response of the government was swift, detailed, emphatic and somewhat stunning. It is as if it is the first time they are hearing these contentions.
The truth is, I have written detailed articles, spoken on television, at press conferences and in the National Assembly, highlighting real and live examples and cases where all these atrocities have occurred. So have many other leaders of the PPP. The Opposition Leader himself has spoken on these very issues on numerous occasions. I am therefore flummoxed by the almost hysterical response from the Government. Surprisingly, of the three types of assaults referred to by Cde Jagdeo, only one seemed to have attracted the wrath of the government: “there is an assault on people of Indian origin”. Their silence on and their failure to deny the other two types of assaults can be interpreted as an admission that these two types of assaults are indeed taking place.
In respect of the claim that “there is an assault on people of Indian origin” the Government charges that it is “without any basis, and is a complete figment of imagination.”
Quite apart from what others have written and said on this particular issue, I have written and highlighted the following:
1) The widespread dismissal of hundreds of Indo-Guyanese in the public sector without a hearing, or cause and without compensation. I have filed legal proceedings on behalf of many of them. These proceedings are pending in the High Court.
2) The repossession/seizures or attempted repossession/seizures of Core Homes and house lots from predominantly Indo-Guyanese by Central Housing and Planning Authority. Again, I have filed several legal proceedings in relation to the same. They are pending in the High Court.
3) Attempts and continuous attempts to expropriate private properties owned by Transport and Certificate of Title, predominantly by Indo-Guyanese by State agencies. Again, they are several legal challenges pending in the High Court in which I am involved.
4) The targeting of, predominantly, Indo-Guyanese for investigations by SOCU and SARU and the confiscation of large sums of money and jewelry in the course, or as a result of those investigations. Again, I have filed proceedings in relation thereto that are pending in the High Court.
5) The wanton dismissal of senior management staff, of predominantly Indo-Guyanese descent, at GUYSUCO.
6) The closure of Wales Estate where the majority of the workers who would be rendered redundant and without a livelihood are of Indo-Guyanese descent.
7) The refusal to offer financial assistance to the rice industry which is predominated by Indo-Guyanese.
8) The systematic removal of street lamps from certain Indo- Guyanese villages in West Coast Berbice, while at the same time installing street lights in Afro-Guyanese communities.
9) The targeting by the GRA of Indo-Guyanese in Regions 5 and 6, who have under cultivation in their yards, two or more banks of vegetables.
The above list is not exhaustive. Neither are any of the cases to which I have referred is the figment of anyone’s imagination. Each case is real and factual. I have names, addresses and Affidavit evidence from many of the victims.
Ironically, many commentators have, publicly pointed out that Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Minister Khemraj Ramjattan are themselves victims of discrimination within the Coalition Government. It is public knowledge that the Prime Minister has not been given the type of functional responsibilities contemplated by the Cummingsburg Accord. Similarly, a host of important powers and functions were deliberately removed from the Home Affairs Ministry and transferred to the Ministry of the Presidency upon the appointment of Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan.
Again, these are not figments of anyone’s imagination. These are real facts.