The Crest for apartheid which has been for many years held exclusively by South Africa, made official by the Afrikaans in 1948 and somewhat dismantled in 1994 with the advent of the election of President Nelson Mandela, has seen many a tune written, the eyes of the world watching and voices raised in opposing its inhumane existence. But it has all held sway the cries of people in smaller countries who for decades have lived under the same harsh ideology; countries with citizens who consider themselves God fearing, people whose cry become guttural in the dark and in wakeful moments of obstinate prayer pay allegiance to Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva and the Christian deity. The country of Guyana is one such locale.
With just under a million people, the independent South American state of Guyana, largely settled by Indo-Guyanese, yet considered part of the Caribbean, has continued to issue a life of distinct difference in education, opportunity, living standards, distribution of wealth and equality, and subsequently a demeaning existence in comparison, for the rest of the population of people of African descent.
Indians have forever now refuted the Western categorization of them as Blacks, and rightly so, because all races and ethnicity of man comes with distinct features that separates them physically. As a Black woman who had religiously attended “Bajans” (double entendre intended), I have failed to see Indians as anything else despite some having very dark skin. But this distinction or the lack of it does not absolve them from identifying sameness in creation, if not in color, then certainly the fact that caste and creed in human form are forthright human beings also, having a right to a decent and fair existence. Christianity from its true and pure perspective should abhor any such discrimination of human beings.
This reality of a dire need for equitable distribution of the means to life in Guyana, has continued down a path of segregation since the government of Dr. Cheddi Jagan in the 1950s and Forbes Burnham in the 80s, (whose endorsement of Dr. Jagan’s stewardship led him to join Dr. Jagan’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) in 1949, which later became the People’s Progressive Party). These political stalwarts and forward thinkers were able to effect a united nation of Guyana over their tenure, but their departure has seen a resurgence of the type of politics which up to now has continued down a path, hell bent primarily, not only on self-serving politics but that which has deliberately excluded the half of the population from African descent in Guyana. But this scenario will not, and ought not, be allowed to fly in 2015 in any civilized, sophisticated society and as such has called forth the alliance of the APNU and AFC parties to fight this “malady.”
If nothing else, this underscores the fact that not all Indians are equal and that there are still outstanding thinkers standing on both sides of the divide in this small nation. With their theme “IT IS TIME” Presidential Candidate David Granger and Prime Ministerial Candidate Moses Nagamootto are barreling down the road with the highest anticipation of success at the polls in the May 11th elections with steadfast faith and conviction for redemption of the Guyanese people as a whole and to forge yet again a nation devoid of ethnic strife, tension and separation.