Cases cannot be “wished away” by the spin doctor – Teixeira

Racial, political discrimination

… Nagamootoo, Ramjattan also victims – Nandlall

No amount of distortion and denial by the “spin doctor”, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, can change the

anil nandlall
PPP/C Executive Member Anil Nandlall

fact that racial and political discrimination is being actively practiced by his administration. So says Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, who came out in defence of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, after he was accused by the Government of promoting racism.
She was at the time speaking at a press conference co-chaired by People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Executive Member Anil Nandlall, on Wednesday at Freedom House.
Teixeira strongly supported the assertion that there is an assault on the Indo-Guyanese population and believes that the backlash against the Opposition Leader for making those statements was merely an attempt by the Government to embarrass him after learning of his prestigious appointment by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as a Special Ambassador for Forests and the Environment.
In fact, the veteran politician opined that speaking about an observation can in no way be considered race baiting and in this vein, she berated the coalition Government for trampling on one’s freedom of expression.
Sometime after telling a gathering in New York that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration is guilty of political and racial discrimination, the Ministry of the Presidency released a statement condemning the comments, accusing Jagdeo of sowing seeds of division, discord and race hate.
But as previously highlighted by Jagdeo himself, Teixeira validated her contention that the criticisms were only an attempt to cast embarrassment upon the Opposition Leader by pointing out that the comments made in New York are no different from what is being said in Guyana.
“The release of the Government’s statement 72 hours after the event in New York, but only 10 hours after the announcement that the leader of the Opposition had been appointed by the FAO as Special Ambassador on Forest and the Environment is more than a mere coincidence and meant to embarrass him. Whether the Government admits it or not, the numerable cases of ethnic and political discrimination are public knowledge and cannot be wished away by the official spin doctor, ie, Prime Minister and First Vice President of the APNU/AFC Government. No spin can remove the facts,” she explained.

Presenting the evidence to prove that cries of discrimination are not just a figment of one’s imagination, Nandlall outlined incidents which can be categorised as discrimination against Indo-Guyanese people and persons perceived to be affiliated with the PPP/C.
He said the widespread dismissal of hundreds of Indo-Guyanese in the public sector without a hearing and compensation, the repossession and attempts thereof of Core Homes and house lots from predominantly Indo-Guyanese, continuous attempts to expropriate private properties owned mostly by Indo-Guyanese who possess their Transport and Certificate of Titles, the targeting of mainly Indo-Guyanese by the Special Organised Crime Unit and the State Assets Recovery Unit, as well as the confiscation of large sums of money and jewellery, the wanton dismissal of senior management staff at the Guyana Sugar Corporation, the closure of the Wales Sugar Estate affecting hundreds of Indo-Guyanese, the refusal to offer assistance to the rice industry which is predominated by Indo-Guyanese, and the removal of street lamps from Indo-Guyanese villages, while installing street lights in Afro-Guyanese communities are only a few instances of the discrimination being executed by the Government.

Nagamootoo, Ramjattan are victims
Nandlall went on to highlight that even Indo-Guyanese members of the coalition Government, including the Prime Minister and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, are also victims of discrimination.
“Ironically, many commentators have publicly pointed out that Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Minister Khemraj Ramjattan are themselves victims of discrimination within the coalition Government. It is public knowledge that the Prime Minister has not been given the type of functional responsibilities contemplated by the Cummingsburg Accord. Similarly, a host of important powers and functions were deliberately removed from the Home Affairs Ministry and transferred to the Ministry of the Presidency upon the appointment of Mr Khemraj Ramjattan,” he contended.

State boards
Meanwhile presenting some evidence, Teixeira revealed that a number of State boards comprise mainly Afro-Guyanese.
She said only one of nine persons on the National Commission on the Elderly is Indian, two of eight on the Adoption Board, three of 13 on the Women’s Leadership Institute, three of 15 on the Central Board of Health, one of 11 on the National Sports Commission, eight (Indian and Amerindian) of 20 on the University of Guyana Board, none on the National Accreditation Council, two (Indian and Portuguese) of 11 on the National Shipping Corporation, five of 11 on the Central Housing and Planning Authority, four (three Indian and one Portuguese) of nine on the National Broadcasting Authority, one of five on the Bureau of Statistics, one of six on the Privatisation Board, and one of four on the Guyana Gaming Authority.
Teixeira contested this as ridiculous justification that Indo-Guyanese or Guyanese of other ethnicities are not qualified to sit on those boards.
Moreover, the PPP/C dismissed suggestions that they too were guilty of ethnic discrimination when they were in Government.
Both Executive Members outlined that the Public Sector remained dominated by Afro-Guyanese and that many key positions in Government including the Army, Police Force, and the Judiciary were held by persons of African descent.