Invitation to 52nd Independence Flag Raising Ceremony – Toronto City Hall – May 26. 2018

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  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On May 16, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    I have no plans to attend the Guyana Independence celebrations. Over the years I have grown more removed from these “celebrations” as I view the date as one of ignominy, and the humiliation of the largest section of the Guyanese people. The ‘celebrations’ of May 26 is really the official sanctioning and commemoration of the supremacy of one group of Guyanese over the larger section of Guyanese.

    Wismar May 25-26, 1964
    Dr. Jagan wrote in The West on Trial : “The whole Indian population which formed a minority was uprooted and their property set on fire [from Wismar-Mackenzie, now Linden as in Burnham, on the Demerara River]. Over 200 hundred houses and business places were destroyed and about 1,800 persons were made homeless. A large number were beaten, some of them to death; others had to flee for their lives”.

    Continuing, this is what he said about the concomitant defiling of Indian womanhood: “Women and even children were raped and otherwise savagely maltreated” [euphemism for employing ‘foreign objects’ such as bottles, stones and sand, etc – as told to me by two families who fled]. Dr. Jagan continues: “Eyewitnesses stated that the police and armed volunteers did nothing to help. My wife, then Minister of Home Affairs,…never at any time received information from the police that rioting was actually taking place.
    [Aside from and in addition to the Wismar atrocities] “My wife felt she could not serve as Minister of Home Affairs when she had no control over the police, and resigned in protest on June 1, 1964.

    In one shocking incident, Mrs. Jagan went on to reveal the deplorable conduct of the security forces – Police and the para-military Volunteers Force:
    [The overwhelmingly black] “Armed Police and Volunteers stood by while looting, rape and murder were committed [on Indians] and made no effort to intervene. Two girls for instance, were being [gang] raped on the Wismar side of the river. Persons on the Mackenzie side who saw the incidents asked four armed Volunteers [Force members] who stood by to rescue the girls. The Volunteers refused. Eventually four men from Mackenzie – a member of Demba staff, an officer of Saguenay Terminals and two others – crossed the river and rescued the girls.”(p310).
    ………………………..
    As far back as the early 1990s (and perhaps earlier, but also later) I wrote letters to the press, one to the Toronto-based Indo Caribbean World that a bill should be promulgated to change the commemoration/celebrations of Guyana independence to a different date than May 26. Nothing has been done.
    The Burnham PNC, the major partner in the coalition gov’t, at the Independence talks in 1965, ensured that May 26 Wismar ‘cleansing’ be forever ground into the memories and minds of Indo-Guyanese that they ‘BETTER BEHAVE!’.

    I hope to attend a vigil on May 26 remembering the agony that people like me endured in Wismar (I was fortunate not to be there); and to be on guard that it doesn’t repeat. I understand other vigils will be held in the Indian-Guyanese diaspora.

    Veda Nath Mohabir.

  • Ron Saywack  On May 17, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    I hear you loud and clear, Veda.

    1. “The whole Indian population which formed a minority was uprooted and their property set on fire [from Wismar-Mackenzie, now {renamed} Linden as in {Forbes Samson} Burnham…”

    On ethical, moral grounds, the government of Guyana should seriously consider expediting legislation aimed at striking the name ‘Linden’ and replace it with one that does not evoke the horrific crimes of May 25/26, 1964. It is the solemnly just thing to do.

    2. “The Burnham PNC, the major partner in the coalition gov’t, at the Independence talks (in London) in 1965, ensured that May 26 Wismar ‘cleansing’ be forever ground into the memories and minds of Indo-Guyanese that they ‘BETTER BEHAVE!’.”

    Considering the (ostensibly) evil, malicious intent of the choice of May 26, I fully agree with you that the government of Guyana should also replace the 26 May Independence date to, say, June 1, for example.
    ———————————————————————————–
    The ignominious, ugly atrocities of Wismar cannot be undone.

    Nonetheless, it is in the best interest of the nation to move on, improve race relations, heal and to never let another Wismar happen again.

  • Thinker  On May 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Does anyone know for a fact how the May 26th date was decided on? Was it at the suggestion of the PNC? Has anyone from the PPP ever confirmed this?

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On May 19, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    How else would the date of May 26 be set if it wasn’t the PNC’s request? The PPP boycotted the conference. That leaves the major parties at the Independence conference to be the British Gov’t and the PNC&UF coalition Br. Guiana gov’t. The UF main objective was to get the ‘socialist-Marxist’ Jagan out of power. Dates meant nothing to the. that leaves the Brits and the PNC. Fot the Brits pulling a date out of a hat would have been good enough. That leaves only the PNC as the future rulers of Guyana – thus a date of their liking was set.

    If that bit of logic is too arcane, here’s what the PPP said:

    ( Dr. Jagan reiterated his party’s welcoming of independence in the near horizon, but with one reservation as the party said):

    “The People’s Progressive Party, the vanguard of the national Liberation Movement welcomes the announcement that British Guiana will soon attain nationhood.
    The party fails to understand, however the significance of the date, May 26, unless it is the wish of the British and British Guiana governments to make it symbolic of their contempt for the Guyanese people and a grim reminder of the unfortunate events at Wismar on May 25/26, 1964 and their aim to keep the Guyanese people divided. (West on Trial, p338).

    QED!
    …………………………………..
    VNM.

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