All Guyanese must stand-up to racial and political discrimination

By Donald Ramotar

The media has recently been dominated by the case of Ms. Prithima Kissoon, Deputy Solicitor General, and Mr. Basil Williams, Attorney General.
Ms. Kissoon must be congratulated for the brave stance she has taken to defend her integrity and her professionalism. She has taken the matter up with the Public Service Commission.

From all the information available in the media, it is clear that Ms. Kissoon has done nothing wrong. The problem lies with the Attorney General, who made a huge mistake, even though an elementary one, in the filing of the appeal in a case involving the Leader of the Opposition.

Williams had the appeal filed in his name although he was not a party in the original case. According to Ms. Kissoon and Ms. Ramlall, Williams was advised that it was not in his place to appeal. He, however, insisted.

Now having been exposed for his incompetence, he is attempting to cast blame on an obviously bright, competent professional, Ms. Kissoon. She has alleged that he abused and harassed her and is now trying to have her dismissed.
She has already been sent on leave.

Ms. Kissoon is not the only young professional to have been treated that way by the Attorney General and his office. Many others have been fired, harassed and forced to resign.

The following is a short list of earlier victims:
1. Indira Ananjit (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Legal Affairs)
2. Seeta Ramlall (Solicitor General, Ministry of Legal Affairs)
3. Prithima Kissoon (Deputy Solicitor General)
4. Cecil Durjohn (Chief Legal Draftsman, Ministry of Legal Affairs)
5. Sasha Mahadeo (State Council)
6. Rajendra Jaigobin (State Council)
7. Fareeda Baksh
8. Dwajendra Rooplall (Personal Assistant)
9. Mark Mohabir (IT)
10. Kemraj Mangroo
11. Deborah Chan (Clerk)
12. Chandradat Mangroo (Driver)

Note that the persons mentioned above are all Guyanese of Indian decent. That Ministry is a small one and the ethnic cleansing is noticeable.

Four Guyanese of African descent were also forced out of their jobs – Adrian Smith, Stephen Roberts, Beulah Williams and Vonette Atwell. Their issue is that they are suspected PPP/C supporters.

This case involving Ms. Kissoon has highlighted and exposed the behavior of one Minister, Basil Williams. This has been exposed because of the arrogance of Mr Williams.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. This behavior is taking place throughout the public service. Racial and political discrimination is a policy of this regime.

Hundreds of young, bright, competent and overwhelmingly Indo-Guyanese professionals have either been dismissed or harassed out of their jobs throughout the public service. Highly qualified young professionals are walking the streets, denied employment in their own country.

This is not confined to the traditional public service. It extends to the Public Corporations.

Guysuco is a good example. Many Indo-Guyanese managers have already been fired. Many others are being harassed with the intention of dismissing them and those still employed are nervous and afraid, looking to see who is next.
It is also instructive to look at the replacement and recruitment that is going on.

In the case of Guysuco, many of the young, bright Indo-Guyanese managers have been replaced by persons in their mid and late eighties. One of them is above ninety years old. Almost all are Afro-Guyanese.

Sugar is an industry where managers are expected to be in the fields and factories. For those persons so advanced in age that is not possible.

At the level of the public service, just look at the photograph of those studying at the new institution at Ogle and you will see that Indian Guyanese make up a tiny minority. It appears to be more window-dressing than anything else.
I am also sure that very few, if any, Indian Guyanese are being awarded scholarships by this regime. However, we see Ministers being so awarded. (That means they cannot give their full attention to their jobs as Ministers).

The prejudicial policy of the regime is seen in its treatment of Guysuco. Instead of investing i in the industry to allow it to play on even more important role in the economy, the regime seems intent on running it down, and using this as an excuse to close it.

The vindictive and short-sighted position of this regime will come back to haunt it. When we consider that contracting and closing the industry will lead to reduced amount of foreign exchange in the market. Consider, too, the fact that there will be a fall in income tax collection as well as a significant drop in NIS contributors.

Central Government will have to spend more to maintain the drainage and irrigation on the coast; consider too that a fall in purchasing power will lead to less importation and less collection of import duties.

This short-sightedness is not confined to the regime’s position on sugar, but has extended to areas where Indo-Guyanese are largely employed. The rice industry is another such case.

The regime, after clumsily destroying the high-priced markets, has not lifted a finger to assist the farmers who are struggling to stay on the land.

Instead, the regime has increased the rental for lands and for drainage and irrigation services. They have also removed the duty-free concessions that the PPP/Civic had granted on inputs like fertilizers and on machinery operating in the sector.

Again, it appears that this is deliberate pressure being applied on the farmers.

No matter how hard you search for the rationale behind the move, it is difficult to fathom what is going on. The explanation that seems logical, which follows a pattern, is that it is an anti-Indian policy. That is not the whole tragedy either.

Indian Guyanese professionals are also finding it difficult to get jobs in the Private Sector.

Private sector employers are afraid to employ them because they are convinced that should they do so, the regime would victimize them. This is based on the vindictiveness that the regime is displaying.

Once again, Indo-Guyanese and non Indo-Guyanese PPP/Civic supporters are being made to feel that they are aliens in their own country. Many are being forced to migrate.

That is why Ms. Prithima Kissoon must be congratulated for her courage. She has stood up to the bullism.
All Guyanese need to stand-up to prevent further deterioration before it is too late.