(Dr. Kumar Mahabir drafted this letter to address the issue of Political violence against Indians in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad)
Political violence against Indians in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad
The Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC) hosted a ZOOM public meeting last Sunday night (6/9/20) on the topic “Political violence against Indians in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad – past and recent: Strategies to achieve peace and unity.”
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The speakers were RAVI DEV (Guyana), ANGELIQUE ALI HUSSAIN DEL CASTILLO (Suriname), BASDEO PANDAY (Trinidad) and DR TARA SINGH (Guyana) as the discussant.
The following is a POSTSCRIPT by me, the moderator, KUMAR MAHABIR:
GUYANA has a long, bloody history of violence and murders. From back in 1964, the New York Times reported that 300 East Indians were beaten and driven from their homes by Africans
in the Mackenzie mining district. And recently, on January 12th 1998, 200 Indian-Guyanese were beaten and assaulted in the streets of Georgetown in full view of the police; yet no arrests were made. These riots were triggered by the victory of the Indian-based People’s Progressive Party (PPP) party in the elections of December 1997.
In SURINAME, former President Desi Bouterse was convicted of torturing and killing15 political opponents in 1982. The victims of the “December murders” included Indians (Hindustanis) such as Baboeram, Shamber, Oemrawsingh, Rambocus and Sohansing. However, ethnic violence against Indians (Hindustanis) in Paramaribo and elsewhere is rare.
In TRINIDAD, Daurius Figueira has written a book on the political violence against the Indian-based Democratic Labour Party (DLP) party in the 1960s. When DLP politicians attempted to stage campaign meetings in either San Juan, Barataria, Laventille or Port of Spain, they were heckled, cursed and pelted with bottles and stones. Figueira wrote that in both Guyana and Trinidad, a “racist British strategy” destroyed East Indian political ascendancy “and a placed a minority race in power through successive fraudulent elections.” Figueira’s book is entitled
The East Indian Problem in Trinidad and Tobago 1953-1962 & Terror and Race War in Guyana 1961-1964 (2009).
Dr Kumar Mahabir
San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago