Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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Religion
(Aired 19 May 2004)

     Everywhere around us we see the Hindus getting all of the breaks, all of the contracts behaving as if they own the place, with their GIHA and other movements making us feel that they have great power in this country, and that the rest of us of other religious persuasions are getting very little of the publicity or our share of the national pie.

   For over 40 years we have been racially divided Indian against the other races since our ethnic composition is approximately 50% Indian, 36 % Afro, 7 % Mixed races and 7% Amerindian.

 This must now be modified to less than 50% Indo Guyanese and the 7% Amerindian race identified in the 1990 Census must have increased by now, since the Amerindians have not been migrating and even though they have very difficult lives they have been increasing in numbers and so today they account, in my humble estimation, for over 15% of the population.

   The noncenus just published indicates that since the migration from this country is heavier among the Indian population than any other, but is not quantified and so it leaves me to form my own opinion, and my opinion is that the Amerindians as a percentage of our population must be increasing whilst the Indian population is decreasing.

   So the political currency of the Amerindian community is increasing daily and with the right leaders they are in a position to call the shots in the next election, but they must stand as one people united by their organisations the Amerindian Association Guyana and the Organisation of Indigenous Peoples. Because if they do, they can determine the outcome of the next elections.

   For too long during both the PNC and the PPP's excursions into power, the Amerindians have been neglected, they are only remembered in the one year period prior to election time but in the other 4 years between elections they have been marginalised until they are the poorest group in the country with 98% of them living below the poverty line. But these are the people who hold the political balance of power in this country and it is my job to tell them how important it is for them to stand together for real strategic advantage and benefit and not to accept the token nonsense being conferred on them now.

   We make a big song and dance in the media about bringing a few of them to town, we train them for 2 weeks to police the mining operations going on in their ancestral areas but what exactly are they getting for it in return? Are these youngsters being paid by the Government to do this job? Not one of our esteemed journalists found it necessary to ask this question. And why should anyone be mining on the Amerindian ancestral lands without paying the Amerindian communities at least for the destruction being done to their environment, especially their water, and considering the complexity of environmental issues isn't an insult to bring a few Amerindian youth to Georgetown for two weeks and give them certificates proclaiming that they are environmental specialists, it is an insult to my intelligence if not to theirs.

   We are paying Nocta, Clollimore, Vibert De Souza and a host of others some very fancy salaries directly from the office of the President with our tax money, to run all over the interior telling the Amerindian lies about what they will do for them after the next election, in other words these criminals are using the state's money to carry out political agenda, they have been doing this since 1992, but after each election nothing is done until just before the next election when the PPP realises that they need the Amerindian vote. For example in the last election the 3 seats in region one could have changed the entire outcome of the election with the opposition having 34 seats and the PPP having 31 seats, tailor Nocta went in there just before the last election, promised a few outboard motors, a few chain saws and bribed the Amerindians for their votes. This is not acceptable in an election and can void it if we had a proper rule of law. You cannot use threats, coercion and bribery to get votes it is stated very clearly in the definition of what defines democratic elections, in it coercion and threats even to your own supporters can void the principle of a democratic election. These criteria are laid out for those who like to use their computers for information rather than sending jokes around the internet at website www.democracywatch.org/functional-democracy.html  tonight I accuse Harry Persaud Nocta a tailor now Minister of doing this on an ongoing basis in Region one, obtaining PPP support by coercion and threats of victimisation, withholding of funds to any Amerindian community in the northwest which do not support the PPP. I make this charge with the full knowledge that the government will deny it, but I am asking the Guyana Human Rights Association to look into this matter since I have first hand knowledge that it is happening.

    We have had a racial war in this country for over 40 years with no tangible result with the Hindus assuming a role far in excess of the importance of their numbers in this nation, the CIA fact book tells us that in this country 50% of the population are Christian; 35% are Hindu; 10% are Muslim and 5% are defined as other, so if our population contains 50 percent Indio Guyanese but only  35 % of them are Hindu and 10 % are Muslim then 5% of the Indo Guyanese living in this country are Christians. The recently retired Catholic Bishop was an Indo Guyanese so what is this marginalisation of anyone other than Hindu all about? This raises a series of serious questions in my mind. What is the Central Islamic Organisation doing about it? How can they allow a Regional Chairman to declare publicly that 2 Muslim contractors whom he identified by name must not get work in Region 3. This same Regional Chairman who used to be a poor school teacher a few years ago, now, not only owns a fancy house at Uitvlught he also owns a dragline which gets preferential work on the West Bank. Is there no shame in this land?

   The last three International Human rights report on Guyana has been calling for a revision of the Amerindian Act which was crafted since colonial times and is completely obsolete today, but no one is revising it, and their ancestral lands which was set at 24 thousand square miles at independence and which the British as a conditionality of granting us independence asked us to honour, has now shrunk to a little over 6 thousand square miles.

   The PPP must stop playing the Amerindians in this country for fools, they must change the ACT now, tomorrow! And give them what is theirs or no Amerindian should vote for them, whatever the threats.

   And I want everyone now taking advantage of Amerindians to take notice, I believe that they have the power to change everything in this country, and I will speak out and crucify anyone who takes advantage of them. I will help Paul Hardy get them what they deserve. They have suffered for long enough.