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ROAR’s leader tells audience in Toronto:

Indo-Guyanese are faced with a security dilemma

Toronto — Between February 2002 and February 2003 there have been hundreds of murders, thousands of robberies, countless rapes, beatings, arsons, kidnappings and people fleeing their homes in Guyana. And the Indians there have been at the receiving end of most of these atrocities without help coming from any direction and with hope for them disappearing from the horizon.

This picture of lawlessness, hate, injustice and despair was painted by Opposition Member of Parliament Mr. Ravi Dev while giving an update on the situation in Guyana at a dinner engagement at the International Centre on March 15, 2003. The program was organized by ROAR’s Toronto support group.

Fighter and victim: ROAR’s Leader Ravi Dev (left) meets with Ramanand Prashad, formerly of La Grange, West Demerara who was attacked by five bandits wielding AK 47s at his home in 1999. While shot in his lower body Prashad managed to exchange fire and hit the leader of the gang with his .32 pistol killing him. The dead man’s car was later found abandoned in Buxton.

Describing several cases of poor, innocent Indians whose lives have been snuffed out in the rampant and uncontrolled crime plaguing the country, Mr. Dev stated that the affected individuals built whatever success they had on the plank of thrift and hard work. Dev contended that these crimes have the flavour of racial hatred embedded in them, as Blacks routinely pick on Indians at will whether in the latter’s homes, businessplaces, on the streets or as commuters in vehicles.

The ROAR Leader said that despite the army being stationed at Buxton where many of the criminals are holed out, and police patrolling the area, Blacks attack Indians there indiscriminately and also invade the neighbouring village of Annandale, shooting, pillaging and robbing with utter disregard for the law or the law enforcers present.

"What manner of people are in charge who cannot respond to their supporters’ sufferings?" Dev queried rhetorically in reference to the governing party drawing political support from the Indian stronghold of Annandale.

Mr. Dev argued that 40 years ago this same scenario was played out at Wismar resulting in 276 houses burnt, dozens of women raped and 4,000 people fleeing to safer grounds. Then, on June 1, 1964 Mrs Janet Jagan, in protest, resigned her post as Minister of Home Affairs saying that the police stood by and saw Indian women raped, and the armed forces stood by and saw Indians being slaughtered and did nothing.

Mr. Dev charged that what is presently happening to Indians in Guyana is nothing but a betrayal of their trust by the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP). He stated that that party has repeatedly failed to do the correct thing as a government, namely, to assert its ability to rule for all of Guyana. The PPP fails to come to the rescue of Indians for fear of being looked upon as racist, Dev asserted. So when Indians are attacked, the PPP disingeniously explains the aggression as being an act triggered by victims themselves, Dev explained. He offered as an example that Indians killed by gangs of armed men are being incriminated by the PPP’s rumour mill which puts them down as drug dealers and narco agents.

But poor Indians, some of them old and sickly, being robbed and killed in Annan-dale and Enterprise fly in the face of such unfounded and oftentimes malicious betrayal by the ruling Indian-supported government, Dev bemoaned.

The US trained lawyer argued that the PPP’s allegiance to the norms of communism blinds it from seeing the root of the problem which is based on race. The PPP ideologically does not accept "race" as a material factor in Guyana’s political dynamics, said Dev, and concludes that they continue making the same mistakes they made decades ago.

Dr. Jagan, Dev informed, in the 1960s wrote to the Foreign Office detailing that the reason he was thrown out of office was that the Volunteer Force and Police Force were mostly Africans who did not offer any kind of support or succour to the resistance by Indians.

The Guyanese MP suggested that all the evidence points to the need for "balancing the forces" before order or equilibrium can be sustained in Guyana. The International Commission of Jurists in 1965 came to this same conclusion, said Dev.

"In politics, it is not only expected, it is demanded that you represent those who elected you in office," Devclamoured.

"Politics is about power but the PPP does not understand that," the Guyanese politician said. "It doesn’t matter what your intentions are, politicians have to be judged only by the consequences of their action," Dev reasoned.

And power, according to Dev, is not merely holding on to office, but to be able to set programmes and have them executed.

He referred to the reality of Guyanese politics where Indians, if they vote en bloc, will always win elections. But the coercive arms of the state - police, armay and civil service - remains under the control of the Blacks. This, argues Dev, is the root cause of the nation’s security dilemma.

Dev gave a brief outline of his party’s plan for making Guyana a liveable society for all the people. He proposes a Federal arrangement at the political level in which "all groups - Indians, Africans and Amerindians - would be amply represented in the corridors of power.

He further proposes a system of shared governance in the short term with a balancing of the forces as a prerequisite. Dev argues for the creation of a culture of cooperation and mutual respect to return the country from its present course of self destruction.


Kidnapped, released

Georgetown — Felix Walker a businessman of Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara, was on Saturday evening kidnapped by a gang of about four men. Reports state that shortly after, a ransom of $50 million was demanded for his release. It is not clear what amount of money, if any, was paid.

Some time after midday on Monday, the father of three was returned home. Police confirmed that they had made contact with Walker’s family and had been told by a relative that he was released and was resting comfortably. However, the former captive declined to make any statement, saying that he wanted to live in Guyana peacefully and was not prepared to say anything that would jeopardise that.

Newspaper reports said that the kidnappers not only called and asked Walker’s family in Non Pariel for money, but also his relatives overseas. It appeared there was some amount of negotiation going on, since a source close to Walker’s family was quoted as saying that the ransom demand made by the kidnappers was too high.

Absentee soldiers involved in robbery

Georgetown — Two men who robbed and hijacked a city taxi driver last week, then gave the stranded man money to get back home, have turned out to be soldiers who had gone absent without leave (AWOL) from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) earlier this year.

The duo was nabbed early Thursday morning while sitting on a stall in the vicinity of a car park in Mackenzie, Linden, just a few hours after robbing Brian Gittens of his valuables and car. They reportedly told the police that they were on a "lil’ hustle" since they had no jobs.

But sources this week revealed that the two hijackers, a 19-year-old from South Ruimveldt, and a 21-year-old from Wismar were in fact members of the GDF who had absconded. The teen had reportedly left in early February, while his accomplice went missing from duty earlier in the year.

Gittens was hijacked late last week Wednesday night by two young men who had asked for a ride on Mandela Avenue, Georgetown. They locked him in the trunk of his brown Toyota Sprinter.

The hijackers took the 41-year-old father of four along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, dumped him in the vicinity of Salem and gave him $500 of his own money to return home before continuing onto the mining town of Linden.

Diabetes prevention resources

Toronto — People of Asian and African descent which includes members of the Caribbean community are at a higher risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. In recognition of this fact, the Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre (AAMCHC) has prepared a brochure that is "culturally appropriate for the Caribbean community."

The AAMCHC’s Diabetes Prevention Project initiated 18 months ago targets these communities, among others, to help raise awareness through a "culturally sensitive education program."

The project focuses on the risk factors of this disease and encourages regular exercise, healthy eating habits and periodic blood tests. Diabetes affect over two million Canadians although 1 in 3 may not know they are affected.

The brochure and other information material from the Project as well as Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating are available by calling 416-324-0927 ext 238.

Wonderland summer jobs

Toronto — Paramount Canada’s Wonderland will be hiring over 4000 seasonal staff to work in a variety of different departments this summer. Areas of employment include attractions, games, merchandise, foods, finance, rides, entertainment, security, splash works, and others. To this end a job fair is scheduled for March 29 at the Park between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Students, adults and seniors are invited to apply in person. Applicants will be able to meet with a company representative. More information may be had from the Human Resource Centre at 905-832-7401 or from the Wonderland website:

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