I lived through the kick-down-the-door banditry, which caused havoc to Indians
April 29, 2008
I couldn’t agree more with the statement by Rakesh Rampertab in his letter captioned “The kick-down-the-door banditry in the eighties was brutal and debilitating” (08/04/27) that with respect to East Indians, “the devastation caused and the extent of the psychological dominance resulting from years of criminal attacks have unfortunately been ignored or taken for granted at times”.
One can argue and debate whether the crime spree of the past few years has an ethnic overtone but those who experienced (personally and vicariously) the kick-down-the-door banditry of the eighties, know that that was a Black on Indian phenomenon with tremendous political underpinnings. However, because of the state of the media under the PNC, reportage on this phenomenon was sketchy and minimal at best. Besides most victims were so fearful that they preferred not to make public their ordeal lest they be vicitmised again. For invariably, the parting words of the perpetrators would be “we coming back”.
Worse yet was the fact that that there were overwhelming evidence of the involvement of both police and army in kick-down-the-door banditry. I personally know of a number of instances where police badges were found at homes that were invaded and when family members turned up with the badges at the police station, they were harassed and threatened, often even locked up for days. I also personally know of instances where both policemen and army personnel were identified (far too often the bandits were not masked) and this knowledge was enough for victims to be fearful of reporting the matter to the law. And I know of many then current members of the army and police as well as then ex-army and police personnel (often unemployed) who lived lives of big spending leisure.
Mr Editor, I can speak with authority about kick-down-the-door banditry not only because I lived through it on the Corentyne and the East Coast Demerara but also because there was a grapevine that informed those of us who wanted to understand the scope and extent of this phenomenon.
And again Rakesh Rampertab is right; this phenomenon was not simply robbery with violence. Were an actual count ever to be possible, Freddie Kissoon and others who were cocooned from this phenomenon because of their suburban existence many well be surprised to learn that the body count was much greater than that of the current crime wave. The difference is that those who were murdered were not businesspersons but ordinary folks, mostly working class, and thus, even if the scope existed, they never made the news. Rape was another aspect. Not only were womenfolk raped in their homes, in front of other family members, but often they were kidnapped, raped elsewhere and then either murdered or brutalised.
Yet another aspect was brutal violence. Every home invaded invariably ended with both murdered family members, and others, including children who were severely beaten and often crippled for life.
The wholesale trauma of kick-down-the-door banditry on Indian communities would perhaps never be fully known. The simple reality, however, is that this phenomenon on reshaped entire villages, forced those living on the outlying outskirts to either move closer to the rest of the population or move elsewhere with the hope that they would be safer. In the process, many homes were abandoned. For those who didn’t or couldn’t move, homes were given up during the nights with families either bunking with others in the vain hope that there would be safety in numbers or choosing to sleep in surrounding bushes.
Also in many, many instances, mobilised by informal community policing groups, (there was no support for these groups from the police), entire villages would come out when homes were invaded but primitive weapons were no match for guns and bullets and often the bandits would shoot their way to escape as villagers tried to scamper to safety. In other instances, the bandits would discharge a few rounds at the first sight of anyone (even heads peeping out of next door homes) and this would be enough to deter frightened villages from venturing outside. Invariably too many families ran - to Suriname, or backtrack to North America or other parts of the Caribbean.
Dr Misir’s statistics disprove claims of marginalisation
April 29, 2008
According to Abu Bakr “The discourse on marginalisation needs to elevate itself from statistics” (08.04.70).
I am not surprised that Bakr and others will now want to say so, since Dr Prem Misir in his letters and articles has statistically and successfully challenged the allegations that Africans are marginalised under the PPP/Civic administration.
The claim of African marginalisation in Guyana since 1992 surfaced as another ploy by the PNC opposition and others to keep stirring racial feelings among the people.
Their claims of African marginalisation have been debunked by Dr Misir and I am not surprised that in Abu Bakr’s letter he says, among other things “Dr Prem Misir’s use of statistics also leaves one uncomfortable.” It must leave those claiming African marginalization “uncomfortable” because the statistics published by Dr Misir show quite clearly that such claims cannot be justified.
Dr Misir, I recall, in his latest viewpoints, has actually been calling on those who claim
“marginalisation” to come forward and bring the evidence. They have not done so and I daresay will not be able to do, because, in my view, it doesn’t exist.
John Da Silva