Guyana: Evidence of discrimination against Africans by the PPP Government – Freddie Kissoon

Evidence of discrimination against Africans by the PPP Government

Freddie Kissoon

Freddie Kissoon

Aug 01, 2016  Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 

Opinion - commentary -analysisThe talk coming out of the mouth of the Indian dominated PPP and its tribalist supporters is that there is ethnic bias against East Indians by the APNU-AFC Government. The PPP has latched on to certain dismissals in the public sector.
These same tribalists were on another planet when African Guyanese were supplanted in the same public sector and in scholarship awards.
Mark Benschop was charged for treason. Oliver Hickson was charged for sedition and refused bail. A young mother Carol-Ann Munroe and her army husband Bruce Munroe were charged for treason along with a family friend, Leonard Wharton. All five named here were African Guyanese.
Where were the voices of the PPP and the tribalist fanatics that are shouting accusations of Indians being targeted? To make matters worse, all the special Prosecutors hired by the State to prosecute these five victims were Indians. 

When an Indian, Chabilall Ramsarup was put in charge of Trade and Customs Administration of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) over Ingrid Griffith, a senior GRA official who once acted in that position, the tribalists, including the swamis, were on vacation in India.
Ramsarup at the time had no previous experience with Customs and Excise details. When the Jagdeo cabal refused to confirm Genevieve Whyte-Nedd as Chief Education Officer thereby diminishing her pension entitlement, the entire PPP leadership was on vacation in India.
When the Board of South Ruimvedlt Secondary school recommended Ms. Dawn English to be Headmistress, the promotion was denied by the Teaching Service Commission, headed at the time by Mrs. Leila Ramson, the wife of Charles Ramson, former Attorney-General.
Where were the PPP supporters when Ms. English was denied her right to be promoted? At the same time, in the Ministry of Education, Ms. Bibil Ally, mother of Minister Irfan Ally, was promoted to Deputy Education Officer for Development and Mrs. Manickchand (Priya’s mother) was promoted to Placement Officer for Secondary Schools.
That job at the time was held by an African Guyanese Mary Luke. Smith, Whyte-Need and Luke were not promoted but Ally and Manickchand were. Would the swamis care to comment?
When Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe refused an edict by Home Affairs Minister, Gajraj to return a firearm to a Berbician who was under police investigation, Slowe was cast aside in an obscure office at Eve Leary.
Where were the Indian voices of condemnation? When CANU officer, Maurice Smith searched the suitcases of the DPP and her husband at the airport, Smith was subsequently charged for drug trafficking.
During the court trial it was revealed through his lawyer, Mr. Nigel Hughes that the DPP had written to Smith’s superiors in the Police Force requesting his dismissal.
Smith’s case was that he was charged out of spite by the DPP. He was acquitted. How come the PPP didn’t see ethnic bias in the motivation to charge Smith?
When researcher Lyris Primo was investigating ethnic preference in the awarding of scholarships in the public service that favoured Indians, she was met with a stonewall by the Public Service Ministry which refused to release data to her. She completed her study without the statistics from the Ministry.
Where was the voice of the Indians who are now crying about discrimination?  Did these voices know what happened to the father of the West Indies superstar cricketer, Carl Hooper at Guyoil under the PPP? Did they cry racial discrimination then? Do the Indian criers in July 2016 know that between 2007 and 2010, 47 employees were dismissed from GWI and only one was Indian – the internal auditor?  Did these people read the 2010 Budget? It revealed that in that year the number of special contract workers for all the Ministries and ten Regions were 3312. Of that number 82 percent were Indians.
Here are some names of PPP’s witch-hunt in the state media.
The following African Guyanese were ousted; Margaret Lawrence, Ave Brewster, Enrico Woolford,  Basil Bradshaw, Kim Backer,  Stan Gouveia, Cynthia Nelson, Roger Moore, Dean Adonis, Mark Young and of course Adam Harris.
Here are the names of Permanent Secretaries who became victims of ethnic cleansing under the PPP; Reginald Brotherson (Amerindian Affairs), Noel Adonis (Education), Claudette Moore (Labour), Philip Hamilton (Ministry of Information),  Nigel Gravesande (Trade); Steve Bovell (GEC now GPL); ; Winston Jordan (Budget Director), Allan Johnson (Georgetown Hospital CEO)
What you have read here is just the tip of the iceberg of ethnic cleansing under the PPP starting with Cheddi Jagan but it was under Jagdeo and Ramotar that ethnic demonization of African Guyanese became official policy. Yes! I stand by the word, “official.”


More evidence of the PPP’s discrimination against African-Guyanese

 Aug 02, 2016  Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 

Yesterday I looked at discrimination against African Guyanese after the PPP came to power in 1992. It started with the Jagan Government, continued when Mrs. Jagan became President. But it was under Bharrat Jagdeo that racism against African Guyanese became an unofficial policy. We must remember it began with Cheddi Jagan in 1992.
In a previous column, I wrote; “Jagan in office after 1992 saw immense touches of unfairness. There were witch-hunts, vendettas, incestuous politics, ethnic preferences that erased the positive legacy he was once associated with.”
The scale of the PPP’s witch-hunt against African-Guyanese cannot escape the label of racism. Under Dr. Jagan , the first seven of the Customs hierarchy were removed. Their names are on the top of the list below. The remaining names are not offered in order of seniority at the time of dismissal.
1 Clarence Chue, Harold Bahadur (African), Loris Bankcroft, William Holder, Patrick Hyman, Douglas Linton, Iola Issacs, Walter Roberts, Rose Kirton, Lawrence Dundas, Brentnol Hickens, Christopher Mathias, Shelly Brian, Paul Prescod, Michelle Mathias, Georgiana Patrick Roberts, Steven Daniels, Hatty-Ann Scotland, Yonette Austin, Richard Prince, George Beaton, Dexter John, Watson Grey, Assaye Greenidge, Gordon Watson, Rhonda Glad, Rayanne Van Lewin, Paula Caleb, Ewart Austin, Howard Paul, Karen Bobb-Semple, Simone Herod, Fitzroy Thomas, Paula Sampson, Vanita Bovell, Keon Price, John Cameron, Julian George, Colin Moore, Dawne Benn, Gem Callender (demoted)and Jackie Payne (demoted).
The pattern of decimation at Customs and Excise was replicated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. African Guyanese were systematically removed from that Ministry. Some of the names include long standing Foreign Service officers who served Guyana with distinction and without involvement in party. Dismissed or harassed or by-passed for promotion included the following names
Ronald Austin, Arnon Adams, John Hutson, David Hales, Jimmy Matheson, Rawle Lucas, Aubrey Norton, Cedric Grant, Paulette James, Sharon Collins, Donna Culpepper, Janice Benfield, O. McMillian, Colin Davies, Frank Goodman, and Elizabeth Kingston
One very blatant dismissal was the then Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Hubert Thompson. Before joining the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Thompson graduated from Jackson State University with distinction in Financial Studies. He was removed from the Ministry and transferred to the Office of the President and suffered the humiliation of having to perform the duties of approving application for use of the swimming pool at Castellani House.
The following African Guyanese took the Jagan Government to court over their sacking courts; Bridgette Hinds, (Palms); Gemme Hinds (Palms); Feubia Monfort (Palms); Dionne Jones (Palms); Christine Barlow (Palms); Brian Belgrave (Min of Human Services); Clendon Fogenay (Min of Human Services); and Denise Jones (Office of the President).
Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte in an eight page dossier wrote; “Having studied the available abundant evidence, I cannot but conclude that the PPP regime has mounted and is executing in a systematic and ruthless way, a project harass and marginalize persons of African descent…not only were over fifty officials of African descent dismissed summarily and unlawfully but, as an act of sheer, they were denied their termination benefits… In every government ministry the same policy of ethnic cleansing has been pursued with varying degrees of intensity …”
Reacting not only to racist processes in the public service, Mr. Hoyte focused his attention to racism against African people in general. He went on to state; “The major enterprise now being accelerated in every Region (is) to evict persons of African descent from state lands…the policy entails the revocation of state leases and the denial of new leases to them…I am not talking only about large leases, but also house lots and small farmsteads…as the occupants are ousted or threatened with ouster, PPP supporters are being brought in from distant geographical locations to replace them…on the Essequibo Coast where I visited a few Sundays ago, I found many persons greatly agitated and distressed, their occupancy of state land had either been terminated or threatened …”
These statistics and names tell the tragic story of Cheddi Jagan’s politics after he became President in 1992. I have consistently polemicized in the columns that what the post-Jagan protégés became when they got power under Jagdeo, they inherited from Cheddi and Janet Jagan. The Jagan underlings that took over after 1999 when relentless protests from the PNC forced Mrs Jagan out of office, knew that what they were doing were right because they saw their leader, Dr. Jagan doing it.

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  • guyaneseonline  On 08/03/2016 at 10:44 am

    That naked pander to race – By Adam Harris
    Jul 31, 2016 – Kaieteur News – Features / Columnists, – Adam Harris

    This past week there was a lot of focus on government discriminating against people of East Indian ancestry and against those supposedly linked to the People’s Progressive Party. One would get the impression that the government had a list and it simply marked off the names of people of East Indian ancestry.
    What is surprising is that the government has a lot of people of East Indian ancestry in its Cabinet. And even this became a target for the political opposition. The political opposition contended that the Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, was almost denuded.
    There were no such complaints from Nagamootoo and his party leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, who is a Vice President in the government. Of course this pandering to race is a dangerous thing. There are people who are silly enough to believe whatever their leaders tell them.
    I was at a press conference hosted by Clement Rohee when he stepped up to defend Bharrat Jagdeo. I asked him to provide the names of two Indians who were victimized and he glibly said that he was still compiling the list.
    I reminded him that I was editing New Nation after his government came into office. I reminded him that within two months I was publishing a list of the people his government summarily dismissed. I told him that he had one year and he could not provide two names.
    His colleague Gail Teixeira then came up and glibly tried to measure the number of East Indians on Government Boards. As fate would have it, all the Boards set up by the PPP were heavily stacked with people of East Indian ancestry. Is it coincidental that this was the case?
    Everyone recognized that the PPP would put its people in positions, even if it was just to satisfy the support these people gave it for the elections. It was the same with the diplomatic service. It later came out in court that there were no persons of African ancestry heading a mission. That is not the case today.
    I remember Dr Cheddi Jagan removing Nigel Gravesande from his post as a Permanent Secretary because he said that he had the right to choose his permanent secretary. Rashleigh Jackson was the Foreign Minister. He had with him Rudy Insanally. He was sent packing and Rudy Insanally was kept.
    But whatever the reason, the PPP was the first to politicize not only the public service, but also every aspect of national life. Skill and ability passed for nothing. Yet the people of Guyana paid no mind, because they said that the government had to work with what it was comfortable. This was the case for 23 years.
    I was very aware of this, because I was the first to be removed. I was the Editor-in-Chief at the Guyana Chronicle at the time. There were qualified people in the lineup but the PPP chose to bring in the late Sharief Khan. When Sharief died there was Mark Ramotar. It was the same with radio and television. GuySuCo was no different and the trend continued, but one did not sit back to worry about the blatant discrimination. The sale of state lands, the appointment of Permanent Secretaries, the head of commissions with the Ethnic Relations Commission being the one exception, the selection of members of parliament and the list goes on.
    All those who were relieved at the end of their tenure were caught up in some shenanigan that may still warrant police action. There were others for non-performance. We have the probe of a permanent secretary who was assigned to Office of the President. He was actually a member of the PPP elections slate but he was not removed until the investigators found an overwhelming illegality. The facts would be made public in the coming days.
    They talked about the repossession of core homes, suggesting that again the government was targeting people of East Indian ancestry. Many of these people never occupied the homes, some choosing to acquire them for their children who were not of age. These were the speculators and the PPP did not care.
    In fact, it was the then Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, who said that his government turned a blind eye to illegalities.
    Race is something that I don’t carp about, because the bottom line is that I have to live with every Guyanese, regardless of race or colour. I believe that Guyanese of every persuasion has a right to work. I would never support any move to discriminate against anyone.
    Glenn Lall can also talk about this form of discrimination. When I joined his staff the PPP made it known that the government would not be keen to provide advertisements to his paper once I was employed there.
    I would hate to recap the extent of the PPP victimization against people of African ancestry. However, there is a reason for the PPP to resort to the race card, even if it has to lie through its teeth. It believes that it needs its race base if it is ever to get back into power.
    The then Bharrat Jagdeo, when he was president, said that “them” people can’t ever get back into power. He reportedly said that “Dem days over.” Who was the them”?

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