Coming… of Chinese Guyanese

Wednesday Jan 12 was “Chinese Arrival Day”, having been so declared by then President Granger via an “Executive Notice”. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s a public holiday or anything like that; just a well-deserved recognition that Chinese are one of our “Six Peoples” – and the country should acknowledge that publicly! As usual, your Eyewitness comments on these “Days” AFTER they’ve passed, because he wants to see “fair play” – as we say in the countryside! Meaning, he wants to see how and by whom the “day” is commemorated, by going through the dailies.
Well…as far as he can see, any observations were so low-key they appeared to have dropped off the radar of the media?? Was there that event by the Chinese Association at Windsor Forest on the West Coast of Demerara?? If not, why not?? Windsor Forest wasn’t just the first plantation that the Chinese were sent to after they arrived in 1853. And it also produced Guyana’s first President, Arthur Chung. He had a long and distinguished judicial career that epitomised the success of the Chinese as a group.
Like the Portuguese, the 13,000+ Chinese quickly quit the plantations, after serving their indentureship, and went into the retail trade in the countryside and in the two towns – Georgetown and New Amsterdam. But they didn’t earn the wrath of the Creole Africans, with whom they competed and might’ve helped displace. That’s quite intriguing, since there were at least two anti-Portuguese riots for those reasons. Why?? One can’t know for sure, but was it because they were generally Christians who’d been converted in China by missionaries?? Or was it that – unlike the Portuguese – they couldn’t be accused of getting easy credit, giving them an unfair advantage? Could be…but for sure, since there were very few women shipped in, they freely cohabited and married local African Guyanese women. Almost every Guyanese Chinese family from the colonial period had African relatives. For instance, President Granger’s wife.
The Chinese didn’t only stand behind shop counters, they took to schooling pretty early, and soon were quite prominent in the professions, the Civil Service, and even in politics. In the lexicon of the Developed Countries nowadays – in the age of immigrant angst – they were a “model minority”!! However, starting with the ethnic riots of the sixties – even though they weren’t directly involved – they concluded that the business climate was irretrievably ruined. And most of them migrated – a lot to Toronto – where you can now find the best “Guyanese Chinese” food!!
Of recent, there’s been an influx of “new” Chinese immigrants. They seem determined to copy their indentured predecessors in dominating the retail business!! This time, will there be a backlash??

…going and returning
There’s something awfully strange about “The Case of the Resignation and Recantation” of the PNC Treasurer. First of all – to your Eyewitness and a lot of folks out there – he absolutely wasn’t a known character. So, the only conclusion drawn is that when he was elected Treasurer, Norton had him on his slate. In other words, he got in on Norton’s coattails, and in the PNC tradition famously established by Desmond Hoyte, he was “Norton’s creature”.
In his resignation letter to the PNC CEC, he took a quite principled stance in opposing instructions – by Norton? – to sign blank cheques. He added for good measure that he was also subjected to racism from certain members of the CEC. Now, these were quite damning allegations if for no other reason than that the first invoked fraud and the second anti-Indian racism in the PNC. Both damaging to the party that’s accusing the PPP of “corruption” and “anti-African” racism!!
The fella has now recanted?? But to what effect??

…Indian businesses
There’ve been so many business delegations to Guyana since we struck oil that your Eyewitness frankly can’t keep up. Now, the President and a delegation from the Private Sector went after business deals in India.
How many will bear fruit??