are either with them or against them and they are now making this
out to be a race issue.
I believe Indian
people have to band together now. We have to seek security in
our own way
and I see
myself being singled out because I'm an Indian leader and nothing
Minister of Tourism, Mr. Manzoor Nadir, in April 2001, after his
house house came under attack by
PNC supporters. He was not part of the PPP cabinet at yet.
is no doubt that Indo-Guyanese have felt the brunt of criminal
activities (robbery, rape and murder) over the past few years.
But the criminal enterprise is not from a homogeneous racial group;
from the evidence publicly available they comprise both African
and Indian elements."
—Jerome Khan, PNCR
MP, in a letter titled "The
criminal attacks in Lusignan and Annandale are not
in Stabroek News, March 31st, 2004.
am surprised that Mr. Jerome Khan, PNCR MP, would claim that criminal
attacks are not “racially motivated” (Stabroek
News, 3/31/2004), citing a recent SN editorial and a front-page
news piece. He says; “Implicit in these statements is that
the attacks on Lusignan, Non Pariel, Annandale etc. are racially
motivated and that Black people carry out attacks on Indians to
terrorize and rob them…Juxtaposed against this editorial
is a front page story of Hedda Moore (March 29, 2004), a very
'black woman' of Golden Grove, whose shop was attacked and who
had a gun pointed to her skull during the robbery. Are we to assume
that the robbers were from Enmore and of Indian stock?”
one is free to make hallow assumptions, and then watch them crumble
before facts; “Enmore” (or any Indian village) does
not provide refuge to criminals, Indian or Chinese or Amerindian.
Surely, Mr. Khan knows this. When we say that crimes against Indians
are influenced heavily by racism (or anti-Indian views such as
the kind Gibson is keen on spreading), we are making a serious
charge; there is no assuming.
a Black family is attacked in Golden Grove. Nobody claimed Blacks
or Portuguese would not be criminalized, especially if they appear
to have some money. (After all, according to the PNC (e.g., Lowe/McAllister,
9/2002), wealth is the reason for these crimes. I agree that it
is a reason. But it is not the only reason. Actually, the facts
often show that money is secondary where it does not go hand-in-hand
with the anti-Indian (race) reason.
Mr. Khan, it is very possible that the “sophisticated”
masterminds who are directing criminal traffic in Guyana staged
this attack, to make is believe that Blacks are also being violated.
After all, this is what Mr. Lowe would say; having suggested that
it’s possible that the PPP staged the Lusignan attack. (This
is not to say that I don’t believe the PPP stages its share
first, Mr. Khan sounded very convinced in his view, but then he
switches gears a bit and writes; “There is no doubt that
Indo-Guyanese have felt the brunt of criminal activities (robbery,
rape and murder) over the past few years.” (Not “year”
Mr. Khan, but decades.) Does Mr. Khan think it’s a mere
coincidence that year after year, decade after decade, one race
and only one race in Guyana has been suffering maximum criminal
attacks? If anti-Indian feelings are not involved, then why aren’t
other racial groups telling horror stories like us across Guyana
and overseas? Today, we have Indian families who suffered the
“kick-down-the-door” plague then, and are re-suffering
attacks now. Thus, race-crime is a cross-generational reality
for Indians as refugee status is to the Palestinians.
80s and Kick-Down-the-Door Legacy
have to make reference to the eighties because the eighties have
left a residue of racial feelings between Blacks and Indians that,
whenever crimes are being planned, influences the criminal or
his leaders in their choice of who will be robbed or killed. The
residue is very visible for it runs in distinct stains showing
two separate racial patterns over the past 25 years. All one needs
to do is to peek into our court logs and police records. And this
is only a fraction of the horror that occurred when I was a little
it is 1984 or 2004, here is a live scenario; let us put 25 Indians
and 25 Blacks to walk around Stabroek (or Bourda) Market on a
Saturday, each wearing one gold chain of the same size and value.
Who will likely be robbed the most? I know Mr. Khan will not dismiss
this in traditional political fashion as being too simplistic.
Point is, when equal wealth is displayed to the criminal, the
criminal still pounces on the Indian more than the Black (if at
all). So, it has to be that his “Indian” race makes
the ordinary Joe, Abdul or Jailall a target for crime.
here we are again, a quarter century later, the eighties’
babies now adults, confronting the same issue; it is interesting
that young men I went to school with could come to kill me because
I am Indian. If Indians are not the usual target for criminal
and industrial violence in Guyana because of their skin color,
why did Mr. Khan object to another PNC colleague (Alexander) who
publicly stated that Indians like Mr. Khan’s family have
to be violated (or what I call the Alexander “injection”
theory) so O Beautiful Guyana can improve; “I am therefore
at wits end to understand why a senior ranking person would rationalize,
when asked about crime that appears to be directed at persons
of East Indian descent, that such conduct is ‘interactions’
that even though ‘painful’ could lead to some positive
is a fact that criminals (or victims) are not confined to one
racial group. We expect Indian criminals among us. If poverty
equals becoming a criminal, then more poor Indians ought to be
criminals, and the Amerindians more so, ought to be everywhere
with guns and bicycles, according to the PNC poverty theory. But
despite the poverty and the deportees, the Indian community (like
the Portuguese, Chinese, White, Amerindian, and much of the Black)
does not entertain criminals or encourage people to attack their
countrymen and women simply for voting.
is so obvious that the crime debate in Guyana is inherently crippled
because some people are tiptoeing around its race link. Or
they admit something but not everything, possibly thinking they’ll
shape this debate as in the past at will, or as Simon and Garfunkel
sings in the “Boxer’”; “a man sees what
he wants to see and disregards the rest.” This debate will
be shaped by all of us, and everything will be recorded. Here
are a few samples that demonstrate that race is a critical factor
in anti-Indian crimes:
Anita Singh story is legitimate evidence of a human being and
Guyanese violated because she is Indian. Further, I believe many
criminals operate under this same anti-Indian principle; it is
just that they do not express it verbally, but physically. The
Lusignan attack happened to an “Indian” family (again,
as per the criminals) because Indians allegedly caused them to
lose their $6M.
More poor Indians have been robbed than poor Blacks. Since Blacks
and Indians have similar number of poor people, why rob one set
and not all of them if money is the aim and race not a factor?
Few Black businesses were attacked since March 2001; are we to
assume their money to counterfeit? And where we’re dealing
with small timers, the facts show too many Indian small timers
attacked and too few Black small timers.
If race does not influence crime, why Indians are the only people
attacked for voting, a constitutional right? What about the Chinese
and Blacks etc. who vote PPP? If the answer is because Indians
are “PPP in the flesh” (Kwayana), then this is admittance
of the race factor, for to be PPP is to be Indian at elections.
all of this, surely race must play a serious part in all these
things unless we are disciples of the canon if lies and more lies.
We cannot simply ignore that in June 2001, the Guyana police issued
a statement claiming that “selected targets” (meaning
Indians) were being attacked in a “clear pattern of criminal
activities designed to create a climate of instability.”
Of course, some of us will try to ignore, like the PPP, the master
mechanics of the propaganda machine. Here is its Information Minister,
Mr. Prem Misir in June 2002: “Currently, there is no reliable
and valid evidence to support the notion that race/ethnicity is
the cause of the recent killings.”
long shall we continue to deny?