Guyana racism and injustice – Guyana is often described as the land of six people. Indo Guyanese make up the majority of the population and our legacy started from over 180 years ago as we arrived from India as bonded labor for the sugar estates after the emancipation of African slaves by the British. Our country is small and we are proud of our ethnic diversity. We have played a critical role in shaping Guyanese history and subsequently its economy for the better and we still hold dearly our roots to India. Ask any proud Guyanese and the celebration of fusion culture and adapted linkage is present. Unfortunately we have had to overcome and are still overcoming a range of challenges and difficulties and many suffer abject oppression mainly due to our ethnicity. When the government changed in May 2015 to the Peoples National Congress led Government (PNC/ APNU), the new regime passed a range of actions that evidently highly discriminated the ethnically Indian population, to levels which have had a detrimental effect on our economic growth and national development. Disturbingly over 7000 Sugar workers, majority of which are Indo Guyanese, were forcefully dismissed from service, disgustingly being denied severance pay that was in need and rightfully theirs. We have seen a significant rise in Police corruption on our community with frivolous charges being made in expectancy of bribes to be paid. There is a rise in violent attacks especially during times of political instability and many of our farmers have been evicted from lands that they have been cultivating for decades. The business community also suffers from underhanded tactics through corrupt custom officials and many are forced to pay bribes for the basic services that one would expect. Our Prime Minister of Indian origin has been undermined and serves as mere window dressing. He has witnessed the atrocities, offering little support and no action. While all of this is taking place, the international community has been deafeningly silent, including those with embassies in Guyana. We are Indians and under colonial Britain we were exploited and deliberately underdeveloped. It was the resources and labor of the entire Indian subcontinent that transformed the United Kingdom to a position of global dominance. Today our ancestral home of India is on the rise as a world super power. Surely it’s important that India is aware of the plight of many in its diaspora and if as a diaspora we matter, now is the time to champion the cause of people of Indian descent wherever they face oppression, exploitation and discrimination.
We are proud to be people of Indian origin and have fought hard to keep our roots alive. Yet the yoke of oppression and discrimination is still upon our shoulders.