This country is very badly divided
racially, there is no question of that it is a fact and anyone who does not
understand it is living in denial. At this time there is a huge national debate
about this matter and I will answer some of the questions that have been raised
in the media.
To establish the racial division and the
consequences of it for those within our midst who refuse to accept this simple
fact, I will make tell you what our Ethnics Relation Commission [ERC], as tame
as it is, has come up with over the past two years.
What I will be quoting from are
documents given to the Guyana Parliament in February 2009 by the Ethnic
Relations Commission [ERC].
The first study, dated July 24th
2007 and submitted to the Guyana Parliament by the ERC, was done by Dr. Melissa
Her mandate was to discover and assess
whether there is any discrimination in the award and distribution of economic
opportunities in Guyana.
was unable to make a firm conclusion on her main theme since the contracts to
do public works awarded to individuals by Government did not identify the race
of the contractor but she did conduct a poll on perceptions of discrimination and
in it she outlines in very specific terms, her methodology in doing it and it
is completely acceptable to me, I have spoken to statisticians and they agree
that the methodology is flawless, the PPP have grown so arrogant in their
dictatorship, that they label as ridiculous any international or local report
telling us what a horrible job of governing they are doing, they say that Dr.
Ifill's methodology is flawed; I disagree!
Dr. Ifill's conclusions from that poll and I quote "Indian Guyanese far more
than African, mixed or indigenous Guyanese believe that the state sector acts
in a fair manner in their provision of economic opportunities, 80 out of 94
Indian respondents believed that the state acts in a fair manner, the
corresponding figure for African respondents is 15 out of 73, while for the
mixed groups the figure was 10 out of 40 and for indigenous respondents the
figure was 6 out of 23" end quote.
As far as
our Amerindian brothers are concerned the Ifill study concluded that "the available evidence suggest that the group most at risk from
discrimination in the distribution of economic resources, evidenced by their
poverty levels, their isolated residential location, their lack of knowledge of
the available lending institutions and the lack of sufficient NGO institutions
serving their communities, is the indigenous population"
study also done for the ERC and submitted by them to the Parliament is a work
done by Pamela Rodney entitled "an investigation and review of employment
practices in the public and Private sectors in Region four, Guyana". This is a very revealing study covering the period 2001 to 2006 which sought to
review employment practices in the Public and Private sectors in Region Four
Guyana, it was a research intended to discover if there has been an equitable distribution
of employment practices to the Afro Guyanese; to fulfil the research the
following questions were posed:
-What ratio of
the various ethnic groups, comprise the current staff within the various
employment sectors in region four?
- What proportion
of staff's by ethnic groups, have been recruited and existed in the various
sectors in region four?
exist within the participating organisations and the extent to which policies
activities, processes and procedures were carried out in the procurement and
termination of staff in the public and private sectors in region four Guyana?
conducted studies into 14 organisations in Region Four the organisations
constituted the Public and Private sectors and the Trade Unions.
research data revealed that Afro Guyanese predominate all sectors Public,
Private and Trade Unions in region Four, Guyana. Nothing unusual here, ladies
and gentlemen since the Afro Guyanese race predominate Region 4 in numbers.
Here is the
part of the study which caught my attention and I quote it "analysis of
staff levels was carried out, based on a four tier structure. The data suggests
that in the public sector a higher proportion of Indo Guyanese occupies
positions at the senior, middle and first levels of management than afro
Guyanese, the majority of whom occupy ancillary positions"
Ms. Rodney's study also records the following and I quote "the data also
suggests that Amerindians occupy positions at senior middle and first levels
but not at the ancillary level. The Mixed race seem to be in a position similar
to Africans, 50% percent of them occupy ancillary positions while approximately
17% occupy positions in each of the upper levels of management [senior, middle
and first] On the other hand the "other Group" occupy positions at two levels only
[Senior and First] 50% at each level." end quote
the private sector, higher proportions of Africans occupy the highest categories
of positions, Senior, Middle and First levels, compared to East Indians where
the finding indicates the reverse. In this [private] sector the proportions of
Africans are 11%,12% and 24% in comparison to 7.9% and 22.8% at the highest
three levels. The proportions in respect of ancillary staff is 62% for East
Indians and only 53% for Africans. Ladies and gentlemen I conclude from this
that in the private sector African Guyanese can and do function at senior management
levels but not in the public sector, where they are being discriminated against
and marginalised; as far as Amerindians in the private sector are
concerned they occupy a position similar to that of the "other" group in the
public sector in which they seem to occupy only two positions, the first level of
management with a lower proportion of 37.5% and the majority 62.5% occupied
positions at the ancillary level.
one can easily conclude that the PPP are placing the Amerindians in senior
positions in the public sector with a political agenda, so that they can use
them to get Amerindian votes without which they cannot win an election in this
country. If this group of favoured Amerindians are influencing the majority,
which are the poorest group in our society, they would be well advised to find
out the truth.
More of the
mixed race occupies positions at the middle level 24% than at the other levels
in the private sector. Equal proportions of them [Mixed race] occupy positions
at the senior [23%] and first levels [23%] than at the ancillary levels 20%.
evidence of discrimination in the public sector in employment practices which
excludes the African and Mixed races from assuming higher positions as compared
to the private sector? Yes there is!
during the period November 13th -16th 2007 in a study
also presented to the Guyana Parliament entitled "public consultations on the
perceived needs of the African Guyanese Community"
members of the African Guyanese community were invited to give evidence.
The areas of
concern highlighted by the 13 presenters were:
of the African Guyanese community.
underdevelopment of African Guyanese villages
problems that contribute to the underdevelopment of African Guyanese
d. refusal of
NCN to air African programmes.
to African Guyanese in derogatory terms.
f. Need for
recognition of the Rastafarian community as a religious and cultural group.
for the African Guyanese community as a result of the delay in reviving Globe
h. need for
adequate street lighting, proper drainage and a community centre in the
promotion of racism through education.
j. lack of
industrial arts training equipment in the majority of community high schools
located in African Guyanese communities.
k. need for a
review of the laws in relation to narcotics and marriage in particular bigamy
l. lack of
political representation for the African Guyanese community.
negative impact of VAT on old age pensioners.
n. a call for
government to support the application for compensation for slavery.
Discrimination by the army, police and judicial system against the African
Introduction of a strong remedial programme for school dropouts
by the African Guyanese middle class against other members of the African
r. a call for
the establishment of a Development fund.
s. the damage
of the "black male" psyche caused by practices of the state
t. a call for
affirmative action to bring African Guyanese up to the level of other groups in
presenter highlighted that there is clear evidence that the African villages
did not have the same level of infrastructural development as Indian areas. Another
presenter also argued that there was no political representation for the
African Guyanese man in Guyana. He added that post 1992 African Guyanese have
been experiencing a regime not only of discrimination but of revenge.
situation regarding contracts for African Guyanese is negative; according to one
presenter this has forced African Guyanese from a position of marginalisation
to one of exclusion.
education it was felt by presenters that the schools in the African Guyanese
communities were in worse condition than schools in the East Indian
communities. They also observed that the African Guyanese teachers are
appointed to teach in East Indian Communities, whilst East Indians are not put
to teach in the African Guyanese communities.
These are serious and dangerous allegations and perceptions by the
mixed and afro Guyanese communities contained in these studies ladies and
gentlemen; in the newspaper of 5th April 2009 we see that our
President is insisting that Mrs Jagan was not a hindrance to national unity, I
am not prepared to question or offer an accusation or an opinion as to whether
Mrs Jagan was or was not contributing to national disunity, but that there is
gross national disunity is well documented above and the data was presented to
Parliament by the ERC and only reported here by me.
government has been disputing the recent findings of Ms. Gay McDougall this
study sanctioned by the United Nations' General Assembly Human Rights Council
sums up our position in this way and I quote "In July 2003, the Special
Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, irrational
dislike and related intolerance; highlighted that he found that every level of
Guyanese society is permeated by a profound moral, emotional and political
fatigue, arising out of the individual and collective impact of ethnic
polarization. In 2008, the independent expert witnessed a continuing societal
malaise that shows evidence of having deepened and transformed in some
instances into despair, anger and resistance. This is particularly evident
among Afro-Guyanese individuals and communities that reported feeling excluded,
discriminated against and criminalized"
The report goes on to say
that quote "a bitter and destructive political environment has infected the
wider society and is failing the people of Guyana. It must give way to a
climate of truth, reconciliation and compromise. Reforms must be far-reaching
and highly consultative."
Ladies and gentlemen, I think
that the government and their supporters must pay attention to these facts,
rather than denying them, the repercussions are too dire for this nation for
them not to pay attention to it, and it puts all of us in danger.