|Why was no 1823 Monument erected in the 28 years of PNC government?|
|Written by HARRY GILL|
|Tuesday, 08 January 2013 19:58|
I AM amazed by the entire ruckus being created by the PNC/APNU over the location of the 1823 Monument to commemorate the rebellion on the East Demerara plantations by 12,000 slaves in August 1823.Slavery is a part of our dark history that no one can be proud of, and should not have existed.
But this is one subject that is always exploited by politicians of African descent to create division among our people.
I am aware that what I’m about to say is not ‘politically correct’. Political pundits and politicians are usually afraid to offend certain groups, especially when running for office. This subject is taboo for most non-Blacks like me, for whatever I write will be construed as “racist” by my adversaries. But the truth is, Africans were not the only race that suffered under British colonialism. Indians, Chinese, and to a lesser extent, Portuguese also suffered under the policies of this notorious regime. Yet I’ve never heard a single Guyanese of any other ethnicity blaming their failures, lack of growth and opportunities on being descendants of indentured labourers.
As a nation, it is imperative that we honour and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we now enjoy. But let us not get carried away by insinuating that the PPP/C government is not sensitive to this. The Ethnic Relations Commission was established on August 11, 2000 under the PPP/C administration. Among other race-relations functions, this group is charged with promoting the “elimination of all forms of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity; and to discourage and prohibit person’s institutions, political parties and associates from indulging in, advocating or promoting discriminatory practices on the ground of ethnicity.”
Editor, Granger was a former Political Liaison Officer under Forbes Burnham, and my close friend Hamilton Green was a former Vice-President and Prime Minister under Burnham and Desmond Hoyte, respectively. They had the power to get things done if they wanted to. These so-called proponents of African ancestral rights had 28 long years to erect a fitting tribute to their ancestors at the very Parade Ground. They also had 28 years to resolve the problems with ancestral lands, that prevents some descendants of slaves the legal titles to an estimated 70, 000 properties purchased by the freed African slaves in villages such as Buxton. Apart from erecting the 1763 Cuffy Monument, the PNC has done very little to honour the sacrifices made by the ancestors of Afro-Guyanese.
It is important to note that the 1763 Cuffy Monument is located on Vlissengen Road in full view of the former official residence of former President Forbes Burnham, despite the fact that the February 23, 1763 slave rebellion occurred in the county of Berbice and had nothing to do with Georgetown. But none of the individuals or groups battling the PPP/C Administration now had the cojones to tell Forbes Burnham that this venue was inappropriate. No one dared defy the dictator.
Shooting down efforts to unite our people is nothing new. At the launch of activities to mark the International Year for People of African Descent (IYPAD) last January, President Jagdeo hailed the contributions of people of African descent to the development of Guyana and said he did not want the year to be just about slogans but about solutions. He promised that his government will remove obstacles to the development of African people wherever it is found. Despite this, the African organisation in Guyana -ACDA boycotted this event, so too did the main opposition party -PNCR, whose supporters are predominantly Afro-Guyanese. After the Rastafari community defied the boycott and participated, Robert Corbin blasted the administration in a letter to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, and accused the government of “using the old Slave Master Strategy against African ancestors, sought to divide and rule, (house slaves versus field slaves), by approaching individuals within the African-Guyanese community to participate in the so-called launch in the hope of advancing the propaganda that African-Guyanese groups have been involved.”
The 1823 Slave Revolt is of national significance, for despite our ethnicities, we’re all Guyanese struggling for one identity. Why politicians always have to see things through the prism of race and ethnicity is beyond me.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 21:15|
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