…on Independence date
Well, the hoopla’s died down on the Independence celebrations in the Cinderella County! And your Eyewitness hopes the President – having found the (development) slipper – will now ensure that the Essequibo Coast would now become the Royalty they are!! In the meantime, some in the Opposition are kvetching that, once again, they didn’t receive their invitations to the big bash till the afternoon before. And since Georgetown isn’t just a hop, skip and jump away from Damon Square, it was just as if they hadn’t been invited!!
One wonders if their Essequibo MPs – including the new Chairman of the Party – showed up at the party!!
But now might be the time to raise a topic that refuses to go away around this time of the year, no matter how much those in office try to sweep it under the rug: that Independence date, May 26, 1966. As Jagan and his PPP pointed out at the time, picking that date had to be the height of insensitivity to the feelings of the Indian Community that had experienced the massive ethnic cleansing of what was then called Mackenzie-Wismar- Christianburg.
One may debate to one’s heart’s content whether the three persons murdered on the day constituted a “massacre” – as the day has since been labelled – or a “genocide,” as has also been claimed. But for sure, when the entire Indian ethnic population of 2399 persons had to be evacuated after the murders, rapes, beatings and razing of 220 homes and businesses, there’s no doubt that’s an “ethnic cleansing”.
Because the PPP had boycotted the 1965 Independence Conference in London – not unreasonably, since they’d been ousted in a legalised coup – they don’t know who suggested that date for independence. But surely, the PNC or the UF, who were present, shouldn’t have accepted. After all, it was less than 2 years since the atrocity had been committed – along with the bombing of the Sun Chapman launch on July 6, killing 43 of its passengers – all Africans. Surely, they couldn’t have forgotten all of this?
So, when Jagan protested that the PNC were rubbing the PPP’s face in the dirt of their supporters’ greatest humiliation, they weren’t being paranoid. But Jagan did show up at the Independence Celebrations at the National Park in 1966, and afterward – and even hugged Burnham at the first one. So, one could say that he was letting “bygones be bygones”. But the matter just won’t go away.
And that’s the point, isn’t it? How does one forget such a trauma – especially when those 3000 persons were dispersed all across the country to be resettled?
Like Langston Hughes wrote, it explodes like a sore every May 26. And the pus stinks.

…on the CCJ
One of the ironies in the region has been that the headquarters of the CCJ is located in Trinidad, but that Court isn’t Trinidad’s final court of appeal!! Even though Trinidad’s a republic – meaning, they’re supposed to’ve cut ALL links with the imperial power Britain – they still use the Privy Council as their final Appellate Court!! Imagine that!! Their first Prime Minister, Eric Williams, was the man who showed the connection between British Capitalism and slavery, yet this former slave society is still depending on some former slave owners to decide on “justice” for its citizens!!
Anyhow, your Eyewitness just read TT’s Attorney General saying that they’ll be cutting those links and using the CCJ for final appeals. Now the big hold-out is Jamaica, and if they take the plunge, so will all the small islands. Many of the justices in the CCJ – including its present President, Justice Saunders – are small islanders. Even when Barbados wasn’t a Republic, she’d gone for the CCJ.
Looks like TT’s getting with the programme.

…on Norton
Norton’s been grounding with PNC supporters to connect with their challenges. That’s the way to go; since, when he speaks, he’ll be doing it with the authority coming out of the experience.
Not like those keyboard warriors!!