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“Clock is ticking” on plan to improve the state of Afro-Guyanese – Granger

President David Granger addressing the opening Cuffy250's Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum.

President David Granger addressing the opening Cuffy250’s Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum.

President David Granger on Sunday urged numerous African Guyanese organisations to come together, even as he pledged his government’s support to end racial discrimination, create jobs and improve access to education.

“I am not going to be so crass as to ask you to measure the accomplishments so far in this decade but what I would like to caution you about is that this is the key time to organise, this is the time to mobilize and not to agonise interminably about the condition in which we find ourselves as a nation,” he said. At the same time, he said all Guyanese are entitled to share equitably in the country’s patrimony.

Addressing the opening of  Cuffy250’s 4th Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum at the Critchlow Labour College, he said 20 months have already been lost and so the “the clock is ticking” on the remaining 100 months of the United Nations (UN)-designated International Decade for People of African Descent to implement certain activities.

Granger urged participants to consider how best the African Guyanese organisations could be mobilized to achieve specific, measurable targets. “I ask that some forum be created so that nobody will be left out, everyone could feel involved, everyone could be consulted if we are to achieve the objectives of this International Decade (of People of African Descent),” he said.

Attendees at the opening of Cuffy250's Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum.

Attendees at the opening of Cuffy250’s Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum.

He announced that government has committed to implementing five of the 10 activities that the UN has approved for the decades that lasts from 2015 to 20124. They are an apology and compensation from Europe for the inhumane and criminal act of the slavery, provision of education, provision of jobs and the promotion of equality and an end to discrimination.

Granger said ethnic discrimination and lack of equal access to public services contribute to inequality, adding that people of African descent have in the past alleged such acts of discrimination in the public and private sectors. “There is evidence that there was discrimination. We must now correct that situation because discrimination against anyone promotes insecurity and social exclusion and that can lead to disorder.”

The President said the intended Plan of Action must give the assurance that no group or community would be disenfranchised to prevent it from accessing public services. “People of African Descent must be assured that they will not be discriminated against and hindered in accessing public services including housing, education, public health and utilities and most important their land rights,” he said.

Granger’s charge that there has been discrimination comes amid a simmering public controversy over claims by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo that the APNU+AFC administration has been discriminating against Indo Guyanese.

While Germany has apologized to the Jews for the Holocaust and Britain has done so to the Mao Maos for torture, the President said Guyana and other Caribbean countries would continue to press for Europe to apologise and compensate people of African descent for slavery. “This is a hard thing and the Caribbean governments are insisting on an apology because a crime has been committed and they must say we are sorry,”  he said.

Saying that “we have to make the decade work for the people of African descent,” the President charged the African Guyanese community to use education to rise out of poverty and equality. “We have an obligation just as our illiterate fore parents 178 years ago saw the benefits of education, we their educated descendants than to ensure that every single child goes to school and stays in school.”

Granger restated that government planned to establish a Lands Commission to “rectify the anomalies and resolve the controversies” concerning thousands of hectares of communal lands that were “purchased with hard cash” after slavery practically ended in 1838.

The President again cited the need to reduce employment by creating an entrepreneurial programme to assist young Guyanese to establish and manage their businesses.

  • cuffy

    Well the tiger hasn’t lost it’s stripe,countering Bharrat’s speech in new york,and defending he good old army boys appointments,and firing so many indians in the govt,is this not a conflict of interest? It clearly shows he’s a follower not a leader.Reparation is not the answer but going foreward and working hard,making sacrifices,unite not divide.The african jounalist at kaiteur, freddy should take note.

    • Reason

      Not surprising that you people always trying to create discord. Numbers are going to keep you up many nights. It just doesn’t add up.

      Cuffy (Kofi) was a fighter for justice: not a separatist and deceiver.

      Love your brothers as Guyanese and divorce yourself from tribalism. It’s ugly!

      • Col123

        I told you that them boys fro the osu caste are bad news for their tribe… always causing mo fyah..that’s why I hang out with only my Mandinga
        brothas!!!…and wow!! you preaching love here…things must be bad at SN

    • Surujpaul Rampersaud

      The problem with political leaders is they like to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that things do not happen. Sometimes we have to say things like it is. Mr Jagdeo made his point in New York and instead of condemning him we need to fact check his statement with statistical evidences. The issues raised by the President Granger are age old issues and I think being of African descent he has every right to raise them. Any other person from another ethnic group who does so will be deemed racist.
      You may disagree but our leaders sometimes refuse to tell us what we need to correct for fear of alienating us. Remember this ” Fear not the enemies who plot against us but fear the friend who fatter us”.

  • Charles Selman

    As an Afro-Guyanese, I am perplexed. Are we going to wait, as we have been, for the Europeans to compensate us before we get off our rears and start engaging in worthwhile economic activities? Can we be brave enough to accept that, per capita, Afro-Guyanese are not the most productive collective in Guyana?
    Secondly, I am offended as a Guyanese that the President keeps lamenting about ancestral lands. Weren’t we, out grandfathers and fathers, the people who sold portions of those villages to others? I am hearing that we want to take those lands back? What about compensation?? The boot on the other foot.
    My wife is Indo-Guyanese. Am I being encouraged to tussle with her, in the present circumstance, because her parents bought a piece of land in Nabaclis?
    I urge that we be careful. Too much baseless rhetoric is likely to tear us asunder, whether from Jagdeo or Granger or anyone else, some of whom are straddling two places of residence and therefore have an escape route.
    We are heading for dangerous times – even worse than the Burnham days.

    • Reason

      A wise person would wait for details regarding land, for example, instead of engaging in hysterics.
      There’s something about you Guyanese that I haven’t figured out as yet.

      Guyanese mentality is one of their greatest impediments.

      • Col123

        Not falling asleep yet?…that tsetse fly syndrome did not kick in today… the pentamidine must be working. yaaaaawn a little bro..

    • Surujpaul Rampersaud

      Selman, you have raised some sensitive issues. It is true that originally, most of these lands were communally acquired and were worked thus for some time. However, because of internal disputes there was some division and subdivisions. Some owners sold portions of their lands to willing buyers. Possibly this was how your in laws acquired theirs at Nabaclis. The same happened at places like Golden Grove, Bachelors Adventure and several other villages. I too used wonder how my maternal relatives, Tiwaris ended up at Nabaclis.

  • Truth !

    stay in school and get an education = wheh d jobs deh
    start their business – doing wat = cooks shops,market vendors,rum shops,drugs,money landering ….

    • shovid


      • rs dasai

        Up where?

  • shovid


  • Col123

    Trying to follow the thinking here. Twenty eight years with 80 % of the votes and a relatively stable economy as a start…we have zilch to show for it. The next 23 yrs, we were marginalized and left out..we give them some fyah though, those people built big houses and have fancy cars and have a lot of money to keep them bandits busy…now we have no drug economy or corruption..those people are contused with the cohesion…. we have an efficient unified govt. running things with all those foreign currencies coming in bolstering the good life economy…Oh!..the good life is here for awee…

    • Surujpaul Rampersaud

      Col, let bye gone be bygone. We cannot and should not be rooted in the past. Politicians never take ownership for problems and always blame the previous government, hence the problems remain. Change just become exchange. We must rise above this. It is incumbent on everyone of us to look at the issues beyond political patronage and make worthwhile suggestions. As Guyanese who love our country, we owe this to the land of our birth.

  • Surujpaul Rampersaud

    Yes, Mr. President, education is an will always be the avenue to upward mobility. My logic is that when all of us become qualified then there will be a s