Tuesday, May 6, 2008

170th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Guyana

Make celebrations more representative of all who came...
exhorts Acting President Samuel Hinds
By Priya Nauth


THOUSANDS of Guyanese, many in their traditional Indian wear, gathered yesterday at the Joe Vieira Park, West Bank Demerara, for a grand cultural programme and fun day to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Guyana.

The programme, organised by the Indian Religious Cultural and Social Organisation (IRSCO) offered classical and filmi dances from various troupes, singing and poetry reading, as well as, tassa drumming competition.

You may note that although May 5 is the day that the two ships arrived in Guyana bringing the first immigrant from India, the government has consciously named this Arrival Day, to reflect and encourage the participation of all of our people who had arrived here in this new land of Guyana,” Acting President and Prime Minister Mr. Samuel Hinds said in his feature address.

He encouraged all stakeholders to make sure the celebrations become more representative of all who came, encouraging all Guyanese to participate.

Another aspect of the Joe Vieira Park to-do included the 21st float parade depicting the various cultural and religious festivals brought by the Indians, aspects of their experiences and their journey over the years.

Lots of Indian delicacies were on sale; various booths featured relevant displays and there were ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds for the children.

The crowds were also regaled with performances by the Indian Cultural Centre and other dance troupes; singing and chanting by the Iskon Hare Krishna Group and inspirational messages by the Raj Yoga Centre.

Prime Minister Hinds observed that the first immigrants had to be very daring and adventurous people to risk crossing the oceans to come to this new land.

When the immigrants came to this country, they found the conditions were harsh and the work was dehumanizing, he noted.

Hinds pointed out that the various cultures, religious practices and beliefs the immigrants brought somewhat comforted them in the new land.

…despite all the harshness and difficulties, they could still make merry,” he noted.

He said over these years the immigrants from India and also all the others who came to Guyana have now made this land their own.

It is our challenge to keep on working to develop this country so we can have a steadily more prosperous and enjoyable life here,” Hinds exhorted.

Just as our foreparents have brought about the developments we have today… there is a challenge for us to be like them and make our own savings and sacrifices for a better tomorrow for all of us,” he posited.

He said some of the difficulties facing us in Guyana today and the rest of the world include the rising cost of fuel as a result of all sorts of things in world.

Let us take faith from our celebrations today and our recalling of our first ancestors who came here that, as they survived and endured and succeeded, we too can survive, we can endure and we can succeed and take Guyana to even greater heights,” Hinds declared.

Indian High Commissioner to Guyana Mr. Subit Kumar Madal, in brief remarks, said that it is a privilege to see the striving culture exhibited by participants at the fair.

I could see the pride you have in the achievements of your ancestry and cultural inheritance…,” he observed.

The High Commissioner noted that India also shares in this pride.

But the journey is not yet over and the rest of the world is watching with admiration and expectations, he said.

Rampersaud Tiwari, Auntie Comesee among Guyana Awards (Canada) winners
THE Guyana Awards Council (Canada) has announced the ten winners of the prestigious Guyana Awards (Canada) to be presented at the upcoming Guyana Awards Gala on Saturday May 24 at the Delta Toronto East. Scarborough.

The winners are:
* Lifetime Achievement – Rampersaud Tiwari

* Culture - Pauline Thomas (Auntie Comesee)

* Academic Excellence - Dr. Jamal Dean

* Community Service (Individual) – Desmond and Joan DeBarros

* Leadership - Harry Harakh

* Special Achievement – Dr. Vernon Singhroy

* Business Excellence - Dwarka Persaud

* Community Service (Organization) – St. Stanislaus College Alumni Association of Toronto

* Youth – Vanessa Rambihar

* Exemplary Service Award – Dr. Roy Ropwsell.

A release coming out of the Office of the Consulate General of the Republic of Guyana in Canada, stated that the winners were selected by an independent panel of eminent judges, comprised of Judge Vibert Lamkin - former Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice; Gale Lee – Programme Manager for Asia and the Caribbean; CESO and former Acting Ambassador to Brussels; Ken Singh; President Air Cargo and Member of the Advisory Council, New York University.

The Guyana Awards (Canada) wishes to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of distinguished individuals and organisations in the Guyanese community, and their sterling contributions towards the promotion and development of Guyana, Guyanese heritage and culture. It noted that the high calibre of this year’s awardees will, no doubt, instill a greater sense of pride in the Guyanese-Canadian community, and provide positive role models for our youth

The premier event in the Guyanese community in Toronto, this year’s Guyana Awards Gala commences at 18:00 h on Saturday, May 24, with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and presentation of the Awards, culminating with dancing to the inimitable sounds of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires.

Culture Ministry opens exhibition to commemorate 170 years of Indentureship

Minister Frank Anthony addresses the gathering at the exhibition on Saturday.

AN exhibition was opened last week by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport to mark 170 years of the various ethnic groups’ arrival to Guyana.

At the exhibition at the Guyana National Museum, under the theme: ‘Different Shores; Common Destiny - Indentureship 170 years later’, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony said it draws upon the rich history of peoples who were indentured to British Guiana, including the Europeans, Portuguese, East Indians and Chinese, whose stories and struggles have helped to shape Guyana.

Minister Anthony said that knowing about this period is not only learning about Guyana’s history, but also about the groups’ ancestry.

“When we celebrate Indian Arrival, it is not just about East Indians, but all indentured peoples that were brought to Guyana.” Dr. Anthony said

The exhibition, therefore, is an important attempt to help Guyanese to understand the nuances of history and to stimulate them to read and learn more, the Minister said.

“As the theme pointed out, we were brought here from different shores, from different continents and different circumstances of our history. Nevertheless, the adversities and tribulations did not break our spirits but instead forged a resilience that made us all a proud people.”

Dr. Anthony urged that the experiences and the diversity of the various cultures must not be used to wall Guyanese into ethnic enclaves, but to be the bridges to cross for new knowledge and experiences.

“This is the beauty of plural societies; these are the lessons and learning opportunities that must be grasped by our people,” Minister Anthony noted.

He expressed the hope that the exhibition would help persons to better understand themselves, and forge a stronger identity as Guyanese.

Present at the exhibition were former Minister of Education Dr. Dale Bisnauth and Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Dr. James Rose.

Among the items at the exhibition were clothing worn by the ethnic groups, cooking utensils, jewellery, photographs and records of ancestral groups who arrived in Guyana.

Be inspired by Arrival Day - Jagdeo
May 6, 2008
President Bharrat Jagdeo in recognising the contributions of “our forebears from Africa, Asia and Europe” to Guyana pointed to the past and continued efforts of various groups that are working together to develop the country.

In his message to mark Arrival Day, Jagdeo said, the day must never be allowed to lapse solely into historical reviews but must serve to inspire people to take their destiny and responsibility for the future into their hands as our forebears did when they arrived here.

“Today Guyana celebrates the triumph of the spirit of the Guyanese people over difficulties and obstacles of a pervasive and massive magnitude on their march to build a modern democratic nation, free, strong and tolerant,” he said.

Jagdeo said Guyanese must build on the achievements of their forebears and with togetherness, creativity and resoluteness implement the vision of a new Guyana.

When will Guyanese become outraged?
May 6, 2008
Dear Editor,

The brutal killings in Lusignan and Bartica, and now the murder of Farouk Kalamadeen are an exemplification of the lawlessness that has pervaded Guyana for the last decade under PPP leadership. It is now evident that the PPP government cannot and will not provide protection or solve crimes in Guyana. While I do not speculate on the reasons for Farouk’s murder, it is nonetheless a nasty and horrible way to die.

The last time I saw this kind of killing was what has been shown on TV about Iraq. Guyana has long passed the stage of crime-solving and even good governance.

May I remind the Guyanese public that this too will fall under the DPP files of ‘Unsolved Mysteries?’ We must never forget that Minister Sawh’s murder is not solved, Neville Sarjoo’s killer is still on the loose and Monica Reece who was thrown from a speeding vehicle was killed too. Perhaps, we can go down memory lane; Walter Rodney’s murder is still a mystery.

I have said before and I will say again, a crime is a crime, and so is murder. How much longer can we as a nation perpetuate this kind of lawlessness?

What is even worse is that the religious bodies in Guyana do not come out again with the basic principle of “Thou shalt not kill.” Whether you are a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian, your religion teaches about the sanctity of life. But it seems that the relevance of religion in society is no longer applicable since it does not react harshly to the taking of lives. It does not matter the reason for the crime; no one deserves to die at the hands of another human being. God is the only giver and taker of life.

I am appalled and troubled by the level of murders in Guyana. Perhaps many of the answers do not lie with the government.

Fellow Guyanese, is it not time to repudiate the level of crime in Guyana? When will you become outraged? As Martin Luther King, Jr said it: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Yours faithfully,
Steve Hemraj