Letter: Guyanese unity has vanished
The 50th Independence in New York last year made all Guyanese proud. Such unity was never experienced before. Afro and Indo Guyanese from Queens and Brooklyn celebrated together in unity. It was a proud moment for Guyanese. Although the government changed, Indians were surprised to be included.
The 50th committee NY is a model for national unity. All major black and Indian leaders were part of it. Mr Rickford Burke, the chairman, who was perceived by Indians as hardcore PNC, earned our respect. The vice chairman, attorney Rhonda Binda, is a darling of the Queens Guyanese community. I attended the launch in Queens. The chemistry seemed genuine.
Indian cultural icon, TV personality and organizer of the Diwali Parade, Ms Lakshmee Singh, Dr Dhanpaul Narine, organizer of the Phagwah Parade, Dr Taj Rajkumar, a politician, TV personality Dr Rudy Jadoopat, singer and cultural icon Terry Gajraj, promoter Vinoid Bisram, attorney Cheddi Jagan, III, Pandits sisters Nanda and Sandra Sahadeo, Indian cultural promoter Kishore Suenarine and scores of other Indian leaders joined Burke and other black leaders to make the New York 50th Committee successful.
Together, these Indian leaders turned out over 75,000 people combined each year. I was inspired to join a sub-committee. The show’s website shows all political parties and major organizations are represented. The chairman reported that “160 people” from nine states and 25 organizations, make up the committee. Breathtaking!
The committee performed exemplary. It hosted events in all communities. I attended the launch, symposium, cricket and parade in Brooklyn. There was an Indian float in the parade and it was wonderful to see Indians and blacks playing cricket together to celebrate our Independence.
This year something very bad has happened. Unity vanished. A little group of about ten Afro Guyanese from Brooklyn has decided to put on separate Independence anniversary events, although the diverse committee has a diverse, multicultural celebration planned. The private, black group is mimicking the committee’s 2017 celebration. They’re using the committee’s strategy to promote their events for the same exact same dates like the committee. No Indians are involved. This is a strictly all-black celebration. We don’t know these people. We never saw them working in the Guyanese community.
Someone forwarded me a letter from the group. They claimed they organized the APNU victory march in Brooklyn in 2015. If this is true, no Indian or those who promote unity should support or attend their events. Their APNU victory march was an all black event. Indians were snubbed and not invited. AFC members said President Granger refused to attend the 2015 parade because it was racially divisive. Their email also announced that President Granger will attend their celebration this year. Their Facebook page also claims that Guyana’s New York Consul General told them they have official permission to hold their events. Queens Guyanese are waiting to see if President Granger, will abandon the diverse committee to support their private money making venture.
A group named NAR, which we believe is the New York PNC group, sent out an email attacking the committee’s 2017 independence celebration. The PNC apparently supports this private, black group in Brooklyn because they can’t control the committee headed by Burke and Binda. Old leopards cannot lose its stripes. But if President Granger wants unity he wouldn’t condone these unpatriotic traitors who are unhappy because Indians are on the committee.
The committee chairman, who is a PNC member, has not enough to expose and stop racial divisions the group has created. Where is the consul general and ambassador in Washington while the flames of division and racism burn? If the committee’s events are impeded and the forces of darkness and division and not put down, Queens will have our own celebration. This will be a third division the Guyanese diaspora.
Richmond Hill, Queens