Protect the gains we’ve made as a nation

Dear Editor,
I’m certain that if memories are “called up”, Guyanese over a certain age would recall the MOST violent and destructive attacks on Indian businesses, and Indian persons to a limited extent, in and around Georgetown on Friday 16th February 1962; exactly sixty years ago. That day has gone down in Guyana’s history as BLACK FRIDAY.
On that fateful day, the PNC and its allies – the United Force (now a spent force) and the TUC – combined to have their supporters wreak havoc in Georgetown, supposedly in the name of opposing a budget tabled by the PPP. Burnham and D’Aguiar, aided and abetted by some in the leadership of the TUC, organised demonstrations in Georgetown, and after a meeting at Parade Ground, their leaders proceeded to lead the demonstrators to the Electricity Company in Kingston, where a rumour was circulated that the tear gas from the Police had resulted in an African baby girl dying.
I was there, and saw an uncle of mine, Mr Muldeo of the UF, with a bullhorn among others making this vile statement. The mob became incensed and moved to Camp Street, Regent Street and Water Street, and started setting fires to businesses owned by East Indians, AH&L Kissoon (at Camp and Robb Streets) and SB Nawbatt on Regent Street included. People could be seen looting without any inhibition, carrying refrigerators, washing machines and other bulky and heavy items, as well as clothes, food and anything they could get their hands, heads and shoulders on and under. I remember standing on Regent Street next to Nifty’s, an ice cream parlour, and someone in his 20s finishing an ice cream and placing the container on my head. My reflex reaction resulted in him brandishing a knife, causing me to just step in the yard.
This Black Friday emboldened the PNC to such an extent that many similar disastrous events were encouraged and repeated in 1964 and after almost every election since 1992.
I remember the horrors of the Wismar massacre, and relatively recent incidents where Indians were beaten in the streets of Georgetown, and one where an Indian girl was stripped in the centre of the city just because of her race. Much more can be said, but I’ve just recalled these few events to alert Guyanese who may not know, or who may have forgotten, as to what can befall OUR nation due to the irresponsible political parties in our midst.
Guyanese of all races must be diligent, and not be misled by calls for anti-national actions which would hurt all of us. The Government must be aware of the damage that can result from an irresponsible and subversive Opposition, and take all steps to protect the gains we’ve made as a nation.

H N Nawbatt