Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Foot in the Mouth Disease2
(Aired 6 May 2004)

   Foot in the mouth disease is a very common affliction in this country today, unfortunately it is not confined to animals, humans in this country are also inflicted with it, especially our not so esteemed politicians, whom I think that we mostly now agree have been floundering around, playing at government with little success for nearly 12 years, with only a long string of disasters to show for it.

   Now I have nothing against our Indo-Guyanese brothers but Mr. Ravi Dev is contributing to a lot of confusion in this country, since most Indo Guyanese perceive that he is a bright man with all of the answers, I beg to differ. I think that at this stage of our development Mr. Dev as a politician, is driving the main ethnic groups further apart, and the dunces in the PPP are breaking the law trying to out do him. Mr. Dev is not the answer to out problems, he is part of the problem but is more divisive than the PPP, since he and his close associates peddle half truths and lies that Indo Guyanese are not getting what they are supposed to be getting get under the PPP and that they are targets for reprisals by Afro Guyanese in this country, but this is gross hypocrisy since I have spoken to Mr. Dev and he told me in the presence of Dr. Kenneth King that he is not anti Afro Guyanese but knowing that he can't get one Afro Guyanese vote, his stated position is to make the PPP look bad so that he can get their Indo Guyanese votes.

   So let's start with this new holiday which was prompted by Dev's instigations that there should be a special holiday to celebrate the arrival of Indian indentured labourers to this country, the committee headed by Gajraj [clearly put there to popularise him with the Indian community in this country at this time when he stands accused of forming and controlling killer Gangs] came up with this nonsense of making May 5th Arrival Day, this date identifies the day when the first 165 Indian indentured labourers came to this country on the evening 5th of May 1838. 

   What is hilarious is that Gajraj, an alleged Lawyer does not know that he broke the constitution when he did so, perhaps he did know and he did not care since breaking the constitution and indeed the law is now second nature to him.

   Our constitution sections 149(1) and 149(4) expressly and specifically precludes anyone from passing any law which gives one racial group discriminatory preference against any other. And this holiday certainly does exactly that.

   My history book tells me that the first properly documented case of indentured labourers coming to this country occurred on May 30th 1835 from Madeira, Portugal. It is believed that some came in 1834 but it was not well documented, by the time the first Indian indentured labourers came here on May 5th 1838 there were over 4000 Portuguese indentured labours in this country in addition to Indentured servants from the Britain, Scotland and Ireland.

   Also it pains me to tell you that both Gajraj and Dev are completely wrong in their concept of this matter, there is no reason to celebrate the coming of the Indians or the Portuguese to this country, since they were coming here as indentured servants under the most abominable of conditions that the African slaves were forced to endure for nearly 200 years and in the early years many of them died  before their period of indenture was up and Indian immigration was halted until 1851 after an Indian/British delegation from India came here and demanded substantial improvement in their living conditions on the sugar estates during their period of Indenture, clearly there is no distinction in any of this, that would be like the decedents of the African slaves demanding a holiday to celebrate the first of shipment of slaves which landed here, what would fill the bill for all the people who came as indentured servants to this country was the abolition of the indentured system of bringing bonded labour here on the 1st January 1920.

   This would also satisfy the constitution since the institution of bondage was abolished on that date just as the institution of slavery was abolished in 1834 and has become a national holiday and therefore does not conflict with the law or the constitution.

   Someone should challenge this breach to the constitution, not as an attack on the Indians coming here, no one can deny the great contribution to agriculture that the Indians brought here, no one should attempt to belittle their part in the development of this country, just as no one should try to belittle the part the Portuguese played in commerce in this country owning substantial sections of the merchant businesses until Burnham chased them out in the 1960's, but the law is the law and it must stand supreme. This holiday placed as it is and touted as it is as Arrival Day but uses the date the first Indians came here as indentured labourers must not be allowed to stand, since it is a lie and it violates the constitution. Some people in this country would do anything including break the law for cheap publicity Gajraj must find some other way to ingratiate himself to the Indo Guyanese.

   Talking about foot in the mouth disease, I want to congratulate President Jagdeo for opening the Tarzie arcade in Bartica on 24th April 2004 whilst telling the public what huge strides the Barticians were making in investment and progress, apparently the only strides being made at Bartica is that it is becoming a focal point of the drug trafficking trade from the interior to Georgetown, this is not the first time that this President has praised some community for its development which is due in large part to the drug trade or prostitution, his comments on the development of Sheriff Street comes to mind, is anyone at the US embassy paying attention? On the 26th April 2004 two days after the President's unfortunate utterances at Bartica praising the apparent development of the place, Jagdeo ended up with egg on his face when it was reported in the Stabroek News that Hotel Castillo and other properties in Bartica were being repossessed by the Bank for auction since they were in default of loan repayments. This also embarrasses our not so Honourable Minister of Tourism who continuers to flog this dead horse of tourism being a viable industry in this country to justify his existence, whilst at the same time the Barakara resort and the Castillo hotel have gone bankrupt, Mainstay is about to do so also waiting for his lies to materialise and for the Dialog and the Communiqué to produce some tangible results.      

   Finally ladies and gentlemen this obscene gesture of removing the Chancellor and the Chief Justice from paying income Taxes is so preposterous that it must not be allowed to pass un-noticed, how can any government be so blind to the concepts of  impartiality, prejudicial conduct and conflict of interest between the Chancellor and the CJ and the rest of the judiciary, which not only probably breaks the constitution, but is unethical since these two people are on the Judicial Service Commission which recommends Judges for appointment, so it smacks of an attempt to influence them to vote for whom the government want in those positions. In simple terms it can be interpreted as a form of bribery.

 The reasons why this should not be allowed to happen can take an entire commentary by itself.