MitwahPerhaps they are cronies. That would explain why they are not being punished or black listed. I was asked: So why are thousands of Guyanese currently trying to get into USA and Canada? I support Ali in his One Guyana moves. [ more ]
Ramakant-PWho believes the Media? First, I was told that they ran out of money which indicates that the money was squandered. You probably know the rest or else you wouldn't have ask the question. [ more ]
MitwahIT's not propaganda. It's being exposed in the media. Why are the contractors not being penalized for their failures and shitty work? [ more ]
GEORGETOWN, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Ever since Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) found vast deposits of oil off Guyana's coastline in 2015, government leaders have pledged that black gold would transform the fortunes of one of South America's poorest countries.
This year alone, the economy should grow 48%, the fastest rate on the planet, according to the World Bank.
But managed poorly, development experts and diplomats warn, those funds will stoke Guyana's overheated, race-based politics, while adding the nation to a long list of petrostates whose people have remained poor despite vast resource wealth.
In May, Guyana's government announced it had tapped the sovereign wealth fund that holds the royalties paid by oil producers for the first time. By year-end, drawdowns will exceed $600 million, a figure that will soon balloon into the billions.
By 2027, Exxon and its partners, New York-based Hess and China National Offshore Oil Corp (0883.HK), aim to pump 1.2 million barrels per day from Guyana's seabed, making the country by far the world's largest producer per capita. read more
"Prepare for a massive influx of government revenue with little expertise on how to handle it," wrote analysts at the U.S. Agency for International Development in a report released earlier this year.
Interviews with more than 30 politicians, entrepreneurs, activists and citizens across the country showed both the buoyant aspirations and profound anxieties of a nation on the cusp of radical transformation.
The current government, supported largely by Guyanese of East Indian descent, says the oil boom will fund broad-based development with a focus on infrastructure and education for the nation's roughly 790,000 residents. read more
"Our commitment as a government is to ensure that opportunities are real across the country, irrespective of where one lives, irrespective of who someone might have voted for," Guyana's Finance Minister Ashni Singh said in an interview.
But many communities, particularly in areas associated with the Afro-Guyanese opposition, are skeptical. Some complain cash and contracts are already flowing to government supporters and allege the ruling party is installing loyalists to bodies meant to govern the nation's newfound riches – allegations that Guyana's leaders deny.
"What they're seeking to do is use oil for political patronage," said Aubrey Norton, a federal lawmaker and the head of the opposition. "There's no vision."
MAJOR OPPORTUNITY, COMPLEX TIMING
Tucked between Venezuela and Suriname, statecraft has long been volatile in Guyana, due in part to competition between its main ethnic groups.
Descendants of African slaves compose about 30% of the population. Another 40% of Guyanese descend from indentured workers from India. Mixed race and Amerindian peoples largely make up the remainder.
President Irfaan Ali of the largely Indo-Guyanese People's Progressive Party (PPP) assumed power in 2020 following a months-long political standoff after a disputed election.
In the legislature, the PPP is now in a position to make pivotal decisions regarding the nation's future thanks to a razor-thin, two-seat advantage over the opposition, led by a mainly Afro-Guyanese grouping of parties known as A Partnership for National Unity (APNU). In recent months, the two sides have butted heads on every issue from how the government's ballooning accounts should be audited to key appointments.
But perhaps the most central dispute has been fought over how to govern the Natural Resources Fund, the sovereign wealth fund holding Guyana's oil royalties. read more
Among the opposition's qualms with the current legislation, which came into effect this year, is that they have no right to appoint representatives to its board. That's a major concern in a country with a history of endemic corruption, they say.
The government calls those concerns baseless.
Singh, the finance minister, told Reuters a proposal under the previous APNU government, which was in power from 2015 through 2020, would have centralized power in the hands of the ruling party to an even greater degree.
In any case, he argued, the credentials of the government's board nominees are unimpeachable.
The opposition counters by saying that is beside the point. Regardless of any individual's qualifications, they deserve a seat at the table.
"When everyone is from one side, it sends one message - and that is that the fund will be politicized," said Vincent Adams, a former environmental regulator whose nomination to the board by the opposition was rejected by the government.
FIGHT FOR FUNDS
Beyond the halls of the National Assembly, Afro-Guyanese communities have taken to the streets at times to call out the government for allegedly unfair distribution of resources.
In an interview, the opposition leader Norton argued the government's generous use of cash handouts, often administered by local bureaucrats, promotes corruption and political favoritism.
The government has consistently denied any graft and said handout programs are subject to a federal audit. Outwardly, the government has made a point of adopting inclusive rhetoric.
But the fight for resources is often subtler than a battle over bags of cash.
Under the previous government, many state-owned sugar farms - known locally as estates - were closed or downsized amid flagging productivity. That enraged the Indo-Guyanese community, whose members make up the vast majority of workers on those estates.
Since the government changed hands, the roles have begun to reverse, with many Afro-Guyanese complaining that sugar-growing communities are getting outsized investments, while their own neighborhoods are neglected.
The Uitvlugt Estate west of Georgetown lost hundreds of workers to other industries as the former government refused to adjust salaries, its manager Yudhisthira Mana said.
But in the last year, government investment has flooded back.
"What is happening with sugar now, I have never seen in my lifetime in terms of capital injection," said Mana, a 38-year veteran of the trade. He recounted with a smile a recent visit from President Ali, whose personal residence is nearby.
Fifty miles south, however, in the primarily Afro-Guyanese bauxite-mining town of Linden, much of the population is wary.
The government has made significant investments here, including an aggressive push to pave and resurface the isolated region's undermaintained roadways.
But many residents suspect their region is getting less than they are owed.
"We're in mourning because it seems Linden isn't benefiting like the rest of the country," said Charles Antigua, a retired miner.
Also fueling the sense of inequality is that most of the country's major entrepreneurs are Indo-Guyanese, giving their ranks a massive advantage in cashing in directly from the fast-growing oil sector.
One such businessman, Nazar Mohamed, a port developer, said in an interview that President Ali had asked him if he could add an Afro-Guyanese investor to a planned project near Georgetown, but that few had the funds.
Ali's office did not respond to a request for comment regarding the purported request.
"We did approach several persons," said Mohamed. "But they couldn't even find the money for the studies, much less building the project."
Rio de Janeiro-based correspondent specializing in the oil and gas industry, as well as white-collar crime and corruption. Recent stories have shed light on criminal wrongdoing by some of the world’s largest commodity traders and revealed how organized crime groups have infiltrated Brazil’s largest fuel distributors. Previously posted in São Paulo and Santiago and has also reported extensively from Argentina and Bolivia. He was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College.
cainRe: Oil money is flooding into Guyana. Who will benefit? [ more ]
Mitwah@Ramakant-P , why is there an increase of child beggars in Guyana under the PPP administration? [ more ]
MitwahWhere did I mention Jagdeo's name? Which Government Agency is responsible for children's welfare? It was recently exposed a day care centre was operating for 10 years without a license. What do you have to say about the father beating his 5 year old daughter with a pipe? Check and you will see that the daycare / Nursery School at the West Canje Dharamshala is closed. [ more ]
The Government of Guyana has constructed over 180 bridges and 1651 KM of Roads.
There are 5 hydroelectric power plants that are being constructed or in the planning stage. They tapped into their abundant water source to create some energy magic.
There is a booming oil production that propels a double-digit growth rate for 2023 and 2024.
Ogle Airport is now an international one laying the groundwork for future development and connection of Georgetown to the interior and other West Indian Islands. There is also a helicopter runway, taxiway, and international port of entry, thus creating thousands of Jobs.
The exportation of agricultural products has doubled in the last 5 years.
This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Guyana is the place to live. It's time to go home, kids..
MitwahThe current GOG should move the Capital to Black Bush Polder. [ more ]
Mitwah@ Ramakant-P, in 100 years, we will not be here. Health care is still a cause for concerns for seniors in Guyana. The well-being and quality of life of seniors seem not to be high priority for the current GOG. Berbice needs its own international airport. [ more ]
Ramakant-PThings were worse under the PNC administration. Today it's a thousand times better. Guyana will be underwater by 2030. I agree but not by 2030. In 100 years half of America will be gone. Note that they can't control the outcome of their fires, hurricanes, and their viruses. Every country in the world can't control its crimes. [ more ]
Why is the PPP/C allowing the catch and sale of Bangamary that are only about 2 to 3 inches long?
Dr. Ali, please note:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages fisheries in accordance with the Fisheries Act, using credible, science-based, affordable and effective practices. Learn about our priorities for fisheries management and find past fisheries decisions.
MitwahCondolences to the survivors who lost loved ones and friends in the Himachal Pradesh, India area. [ more ]
MitwahNatural disaster 24 August 2023. When the ground slips from underfoot. Dramatic footage as landslides sweep away houses in India As many as seven buildings collapsed after heavy rain triggered landslide in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu district. The Kullu-Mandi Highway in Himachal Pradesh was damaged following heavy rainfall in the district, an official said on Thursday.Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the route. The meteorological department has issued a red alert, warning of “heavy to very... [ more ]
Kaieteur News – Weeks have passed since an 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by three boys’ at a community centre ground, after leaving her home for lessons.
The father of the child, during an interview with Kaieteur News, expressed his frustration with the way the case is being handled, and also accused the Guyana Police Force (GPF) of dragging their feet on the matter.
The frustrated man shared that he is a father of two, who has separated from his children’s mother.
“I went doing some work for my friend so I reached home just after 2 (14:00 hours) and I didn’t see my daughter so I asked my mother for her,” he said, adding that his mother informed him that his daughter had left home for lessons.
He explained that the lesson is located in the same village where they live.
Kaieteur News understands that a 15-year-old boy among two others, both said to be younger than him, took the 11-year-old girl to an area at the centre ground, where they allegedly raped her. It is also understood that a woman, who was taking her daughter to lesson, was the one who alerted a security guard and managed to save the girl.
According to him, he later left home and went to a nearby shop. “I went by the shop around the corner drinking two beers when my sister-in-law called me and said come your daughter get rape,” the father added.
The girl’s father explained that he was told that the security guard had held the three boys at the community center ground. “So, I rushed over there, when I reach there, the security guard telling me she had to let them go…”
The man explained that he had to “cool myself down” before he had taken matters into his own hands. He said when he reached home, he could not even manage to console his daughter because of the anger that pent-up in him, when he thought about his daughter being raped by three boys.
According to him, his mother had to console his daughter. “She didn’t tell me what happened, she told my mother what they did to her,” he said.
According to the man, the matter was reported to the police and a medical examination was conducted on his daughter.
He alleges that since then the matter has been moving at sloth’s pace. He also stated that one of the boys who allegedly raped his daughter has relatives who are in the GPF.
“They look like they in on it, like they want to hide what happened to my daughter… all I want is justice for my daughter, I want them boys get send to boys’ school (New Opportunity Corps (NOC),” the man added.
“They done prey on my child, I don’t want them to do it to somebody else’s child,” the father said.
Moreover, he shared that he saw one of the boys who raped his daughter, since they all live in the same village.
“I saw one of them, he watching me all scared thinking I would do him something. I didn’t though, I want the law handle it because I have to be around to provide for my daughters,” the man said.
This refers to the series of articles by Prof Tarron Khemraj on “dollarization of Guyana’s economy”. Anyone who studied economics as Dr. Khemraj did, the US dollar is the accepted monetary unit for international trade. It is also the benchmark for financial stability of a country. Interest rates globally take a cue from what happens at the Federal Reserve that controls the flow of dollars. The US dollar will remain the dominant unit for international trade in the foreseeable future. It is noted that proposals are floating around of adopting the Chinese Yuan or create some other currency (as mentioned at BRICS meetings) for trade. Some countries have returned to trade with each other using their local currencies – Yuan, Ruble, Rupee, etc. Because of conflict or tension between China and several countries, including with India and western powers, the Yuan will not be favoured as a currency of international trade. And there is not likely to be another global currency for trade other than the dollar; the BRICS meeting in South Africa in August will not create a new global currency. Thus, Guyanese policymakers should take a look at adopting the US dollar as a currency to conduct local business if not as the country’s currency.
The US has an open door policy on other countries using the dollar as their currency. There are several benefits for adopting the US Dollar as it greatly expands trade and connection with the US. Guyana will also become a more vibrant market for American goods and services, strengthening ties and protecting the country from threatening neighbours. It will eliminate exchange rate fluctuation that bedevil borrowers and exporters. It will also tame inflation and lead to lower interest rates to borrow money. It is a way to bring stability to the economy that face inordinate issues. The dollar has remained the currency for international financial transactions since the collapse of the Bretton Woods system and the end of using gold to prop up a currency. And even if there is another currency, Guyana would be better off being protected from the vagaries of global trade by locking itself into a currency that is stable.
The US dollar has been the most stable currency throughout history. The Feds take appropriate policy to control inflation and to maintain exchange rate stability with global currencies (especially Euro, Yen, and Pound). It has gained value against all major currencies including Euro, Pound, Canadian dollar, Yuan, Yen, Rupee, and others. Every country and every individual crave the dollar because of its importance for foreign travel and for international trade. On adopting the US dollar by other countries, then Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan in 1999 said the US position was “it is open to proposals” from other countries. That policy has remained unchanged, and as Khemraj pointed out, several countries have adopted the dollar as their monetary unit. Several countries are toying with the idea of adopting the US dollar as their national currency. Mexico and Argentina toyed with the idea of adopting the dollar in order to control inflation and the sliding value of their currencies. Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and other countries were known to change or revalue their currencies against the dollar in order to control inflation.
Countries don’t need American permission to adopt or use the dollar for payment of goods and services. Aruba uses the dollar for local businesses as does Curacao, St. Martin, Anguilla, Tahiti, and virtually all the overseas territories of European mother countries. Every country uses the dollar unofficially including Russia, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Bolivia, among others. There is strong demand for dollars everywhere. More than two-thirds of US currency is in circulation outside of the US. Adopting the US Dollar is not a solution for a country’s economic problems. President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, pointed out that a monetary union with the US was/is not a substitute for sound policies to strengthen an economy and its financial system. A country must have a stable currency which requires economic stability. Alan Greenspan advised that stability mandates a well-regulated, well capitalized financial system, budget balance, and low foreign borrowing, and other conditions.
Economic stability also requires a lid on corruption which Lee Kwan Yew recognized in Singapore adopting zero tolerance for the corrupt. Guyana is far off from meeting conditions to adopt the US dollar as its currency. We have been plagued with financial turmoil post-independence. The Guyana dollar has slid from around G$1.75 to the US dollar at independence in 1966 to around $206 today. But even if Guyana does not adopt the US dollar, the Guyana dollar needs to be revalued, perhaps pegged at one to one with the US Dollar to make payments easier. It is very difficult to move around with bulk of Guyana dollars to pay for goods and services. A bulky pocket or envelope or bag makes easy target for choke and rob. And too many have been robbed for the decades. A fixed value against the dollar as Barbados has done at two to one since independence in 1966 will help to put a lid on inflation and address wide fluctuation in prices.
With ongoing huge capital inflows, prices will fluctuate but a fixed currency will make it easier for consumers. Fixed exchange rates will freeze the value of the Guyana currency irrespective of trade imbalance (Guyana currently runs trade surplus because of oil revenues). Much of our economic activities is already done in US dollar. Also, payments to companies that provide services in Guyana are paid in US dollars. Policymakers should take a look at adopting or using the American dollar as the medium for conducting local business.
MitwahGhansham receives 10,000 free miles from AA and apology without mention of `waiter’ incident -other passenger threatens class action lawsuit https://www.stabroeknews.com/2...-of-waiter-incident/ [ more ]
SunilAn American Airlines flight from New York City to Guyana was returned to JFK Airport after a disruption in which a passenger called a crew member a “waiter.” Flight 2557 was bound for Georgetown, Guyana, on July 18 when it turned back to the Big Apple due to the incident involving Joel Ghansham, Guyana’s Stabroek News said . Ghansham told local outlet Demerara Waves Online News that it began when he asked a flight attendant for help putting his luggage in the overhead compartment because he... [ more ]
Canada Jetlines has recently entered into a six-month contract with FlyAllways, a Caribbean airline headquartered in Suriname.
This collaboration aims to cater to the growing demand for flights between Toronto, Canada, and Georgetown, Guyana. The contract, spanning a period of six months, will see Canada Jetlines providing weekly charter flights on this route, pending approval from the Guyanese government.
The anticipated commencement of operations is set for the third quarter of 2023.
A Promising Partnership
The executives at Canada Jetlines expressed their enthusiasm for the collaboration with FlyAllways and are optimistic about the potential of the Toronto/Georgetown market. The partnership also includes a Canadian tour operator, which further enhances the prospects of success for this new route.
Eddy Doyle, the President and CEO of Canada Jetlines, shares his thoughts on the venture, stating, “We are looking forward to this partnership with FlyAllways.”
“We know that there is a substantial demand for the Toronto/Georgetown market, and we believe FlyAllways, and the Canadian tour operator that they have partnered with, will be successful with the introduction of this route.”
The Benefits of Starlink’s Satellite Internet in Guyana
Guyana, a small South American country, is on the cusp of a technological revolution. With the recent debut of Starlink’s satellite internet service, the nation is set to experience advanced connectivity like never before. This development brings with it a myriad of benefits that will positively impact various sectors of Guyanese society.
One of the primary advantages of Starlink’s satellite internet in Guyana is the improved access to education. In remote areas where traditional internet infrastructure is lacking, students often struggle to access online educational resources. However, with Starlink’s satellite internet, students in these underserved regions will now have the same opportunities as their urban counterparts. They will be able to access online learning platforms, participate in virtual classrooms, and engage with educational content that was previously out of reach. This newfound access to education has the potential to bridge the educational divide and empower Guyanese students to reach their full potential.
Another significant benefit of Starlink’s satellite internet is the boost it will provide to the healthcare sector in Guyana. In remote areas with limited medical facilities, telemedicine has emerged as a vital tool for providing healthcare services. However, without reliable internet connectivity, this potential remains largely untapped. Starlink’s satellite internet will change this by ensuring that healthcare professionals in these areas have a stable and fast internet connection. This will enable them to provide remote consultations, access medical databases, and even perform virtual surgeries. As a result, healthcare services will become more accessible and efficient, ultimately improving the overall health outcomes for Guyanese citizens.
The agricultural sector in Guyana will also benefit greatly from Starlink’s satellite internet. Agriculture plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, but farmers often face challenges due to limited access to information and resources. With Starlink’s satellite internet, farmers will have access to real-time weather updates, market prices, and agricultural best practices. This information will enable them to make informed decisions, optimize their farming techniques, and increase their productivity. Additionally, the improved connectivity will facilitate the adoption of precision agriculture technologies, such as drones and sensors, further enhancing efficiency and sustainability in the sector.
Furthermore, Starlink’s satellite internet will drive economic growth and innovation in Guyana. Reliable and high-speed internet connectivity is a catalyst for entrepreneurship and the digital economy. With access to Starlink’s satellite internet, Guyanese entrepreneurs will be able to launch online businesses, reach global markets, and create employment opportunities. Additionally, the improved connectivity will attract foreign investment, as businesses will have confidence in the country’s digital infrastructure. This influx of investment will stimulate economic growth, diversify the economy, and ultimately improve the standard of living for Guyanese citizens.
In conclusion, the debut of Starlink’s satellite internet in Guyana marks a significant milestone in the country’s path to advanced connectivity. The benefits of this technology are far-reaching and will positively impact various sectors of Guyanese society. From improved access to education and healthcare to increased productivity in agriculture and economic growth, Starlink’s satellite internet has the potential to transform Guyana into a digitally empowered nation. As the country embraces this technological revolution, it is poised to unlock its full potential and thrive in the digital age.
Indo-Caribbeans are people of Indian descent who live in Caribbean countries such as Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Jamaica, and other islands. The term highlights their cultural and ancestral connection to India and Caribbean identity.
In 1840, slavery was abolished in the British West Indies. The British, seeking cheap labor, began bringing East Indians to the region en masse to work as indentured laborers in sugar plantations in Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, and Jamaica. They brought with them their cultures and traditions from India.
In 1965, the United States passed the Immigration and Nationality Act which abolished the national origins quota system, and allowed a broader range of immigrants to enter the U.S. In the 1980s, about 8% of the Guyanese population moved to New York City due to the worsening economic and political conditions of the Caribbean nation.
The community is recognizable by its mix of roti shops selling the traditional Indian round flatbreads and the mandirs where Hindus go to worship. There are also many mosques, Christian churches, restaurants, and boutiques. In June 2021, the Richmond Hill intersection of Lefferts Boulevard and Liberty Avenue was named Little Guyana. But the city’s Guyanese community extends far beyond that.
A bakery and a beacon of the community
At 159-24 Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, you’ll find Ken Bernard skillfully kneading dough with expertise at Sybil’s. He pinches together cheese rolls and guava and pineapple tarts, then tends to the jerk chicken simmering on the stove. He meticulously applies icing to a homemade carrot cake, slices it into portions, and carefully places each piece into a plastic container adorned with a “Sybil’s” label.
“I’ve been doing this for about 50 years, and I wish I could do this for another 50 years,” he said. His gaze often shifts towards the front of the establishment, where customers make purchases and inquire about his creations.
Sybil’s has been Ken’s only job since his childhood, and he manages the Jamaica branch. He describes the brand as “an authentic Guyanse bakery and restaurant.”
The establishment’s origins trace back to 1976, when Ken’s mother, Sybil Bernard-Kerrutt, a Guyanese immigrant, started baking at home after losing her job in a jewelry shop in Manhattan.
Sybil arrived in New York In 1969, seeking a better life for herself and her nine children. When they first arrived, they lived with Sybil’s brother, David Pherie, who had eight children of his own. The seventeen children and three adults all lived together on 169th Street in Jamaica, Queens.
“We came here very dirt poor people,” said Sybil’s second eldest son, Viburt Bernard. The 67 year old manages the Richmond Hill branch, in Queens. A painting of his childhood home hangs on his office wall.
Like his mother, Viburt used to go to work as a jeweler in Manhattan at the age of 20. His younger siblings stayed home with their mother to cook the food and make the bread and pastries for the business. They would wait for Viburt to get off the train at 67th Street, so by the time he arrived home, he could help roll out the dough.
“We all had a hand in it,” said Ken Bernard, Viburt’s younger brother.
These days, Sybil’s operates in three locations. Viburt expanded the Richmond Hill branch to create Veggie Castle, a vegetarian restaurant, and his son Bryan works as a baker. Another brother, Robert Bernard, runs a Sybil’s branch in Florida.
“I used to pray for a green card, a car, and $10,000”
In 1986, when Sybil’s was celebrating its first decade, Dave Narine landed in New York City, fleeing Guyana’s economic and political strife, like many other Guyanese citizens. Narine had seen many people from his town, Number 60 village in the East Berbice-Corentyne region, make a decent living in the United States.
“I came from very poor and humble origins,” he said.
Narine overstayed his visa and worked in many kinds of jobs, even selling a friend’s caramel biscuits from his car. Within four years, he got his green card after marrying a U.S. citizen.
Now, Narine is the owner of Dave West Indian Imports, which distributes more than 200 Caribbean products across the United States, including frozen juices, seasonings, channa, chow mein, curry powder, Garam Masala, and dried fruit. His brand powers many Caribbean restaurants, roti shops, and markets. In addition, Narine owns a seafood market and three florists.
His business extends to Trinidad and Jamaica, where he’s a shareholder in Spur Tree Spices. He said he and several associates founded the business with just a blender and about $5000. Eventually, Spur Tree made it to the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
“In the first year [in the USA], I remember praying and asking God for a green card, $10,000, and a car,” he said.
At the time, he was earning $95 per week. Now, he values his businesses at $25 million dollars.
Narine sponsors cricket teams in Guyana, including an under-15 league and the entire Berbice County second division. His office walls are adorned with photos of cricket athletes and officials from Guyana and New York.
From farmer and fisherman in Guyana to business owner in Queens
One Indo-Caribbean business that buys from Dave West Indian Imports is the Rockaway Roti Shop. It’s located on the corner of Rockaway Boulevard and 123rd Street. Its building houses a catering company, a taxi service, and a party hall. Jameel “Hafeez” Ali owns all of them.
He grew up as a farmer in Guyana, working the land after school. In 1982, he said the government took the land his family has been planting for decades. To survive, Ali said he became a fisherman, a job that didn’t pay much either. Eventually, he decided to leave Guyana.
“I came here [to the USA] with a determined mind,” Ali said.
His first job was pumping gas. After realizing his salary wasn’t enough, he worked as a taxi driver. “When I picked up a passenger I didn’t know where and how to go. They told me how to go. And I figured my way to come back,” he said.
Ali opened Rockaway Roti Shop in 2004 in a space that used to be a gas station. He saw the increasing Guyanese population in Queens and noticed a gap in the South Ozone area. He opened the Roti Shop to provide another option for authentic Guyanese food. He plans to retire in 2024 when he turns 60, leaving the business in the hands of his three children.
“I’ve been working very hard since I was a kid. It’s time for my children to take over,” Ali said.When he’s not attending classes at Molloy University, 22-year-old Javed Ali, already helps his father run the shop. Javed’s Trinidadian girlfriend, Sydney Shah, is often there to help out as well.
Javed was born in the United States, but he goes back to Guyana with his father three to four times a year. Javed said that he is fully aware of the hardship his fatherwent through, and he is ready to take more responsibility in the family business.
“But there will always be one or two obstacles for which you’ll always need him. There’s always something that you cannot do that he would always find a solution for,” he said.
Standing up for the community
In 2007, the brutal murders of two Guyanese women in Queens prompted Simone Jhingoor to take action. With three colleagues, she co-founded the Jahajee Sisters, an Indo-Caribbean organization dedicated to addressing gender violence and empowering women, girls, and gender expansive people in the community. The organization raises awareness and advocates for a safer and more supportive environment for Indo-Caribbeans in New York.
“Jahajee means ‘people of the boat,’” Jhingoor explained. The name is inspired by her ancestors from South Asia who were brought to the Caribbean to work as indentured laborers. On the ships en route to the Caribbean, they identified themselves as Jahajee Bhai and Jahajee Bahen, meaning ship brothers and ship sisters.
Jahajee Sisters has headquarters in Richmond Hill, Queens, and another branch in the Bronx. The organization assists women primarily from Guyana, Trinidad, and Suriname.
Jhingoor credits an older woman who visited houses of worship, where women were sharing their experiences of abuse, for inspiring the concept of a safe space for Indo-Caribbean women to express their voices.
“A lot of the women who come from Guyana, Trinidad, don’t have any family and friends here. So, having that sense of community is like a lifeline,” Jhingoor said.
She was born in New York to Guyanese parents and grew up in Castle Hill in the Bronx. Her activism began to take root when she was in high school, after she saw racial and social injustice in New York, including a police shooting that rocked the city and reverberated around the globe in 1999.
“The catalytic moment for me was when Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times not too far away from where I lived,” she said. After Diallo’s tragic murder, Simone joined Blackout Arts Collective, a group of artists who used their art to speak out against racial injustice.
“I always saw domestic violence in my own family and a lot of gender injustice,” she said.
Since its creation, Jahajee Sisters has held monthly healing and wellness circles where women and gender non-conforming Indo-Caribbeans share their experiences and create solutions together. The organization has an emergency fund through which victims of abuse and their children can benefit from small grants for their safety.
The Jahajee Sisters are among several Indo-Caribbean organizations in Queens that focus on the needs of immigrant women and children to help them adapt to life in New York.
“People just don’t know about us [Indo-Caribbean immigrants]. We are so marginalized and disenfranchised,” Jhingoor said. In 2021, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park had the highest number of positive cases in Queens.
A community of many faiths
On a recent Saturday afternoon, the prayer room at the Masjid Al Abidin was packed with men in thobe robes, but they were there for a community event, not a religious service. Imam Safraz Bacchus made sure that everything was in order before the prayer, while a city employee was on hand inviting the attendees to cast a participatory budgeting vote, which gives them a say in how part of $5 million in city funds could be distributed in their community.
The Masjid was established in 1977 because Muslim Indo-Caribbeans used to gather and pray in their basements. Now, a $4 million construction project is underway to expand their mosque on the corner of Liberty Avenue and 127th Street to house the growing number of Muslims in the community.
Imam Bacchus has been running the place for a decade, but has known the community for much longer. After his theological studies in Egypt, he returned to Guyana and occasionally came to New York to connect with the Guyanese community there. (Sixty-four percent of Guyana’s population is Christian, 25 percent Hindu, and 7 percent Muslim — mainly Sunni).
Imam Bacchus recalled that the Liberty Avenue area used to be “a slum, so to speak, filled with drugs and social problems.” But after the mosque was established, he said many Muslims came to the area and changed the community dynamic. The name “Masjid Al Abidin” means literally “a place of worship,” the Imam said. But, more than a prayer space, the mosque provides various community services to immigrants, especially the Guyanese.
“It’s a place that provides spiritual support, emotional support, social support,” he said.
Just a block from the Liberty Avenue mosque, is the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, a Hindu temple that welcomes worshipers every Sunday morning. Like the mosque, the temple is frequented mainly by Guyanese and some Trinidadians, and is also a place to strengthen community bonds.
The temple was built in 1985, according to Ram Jadonath, a Guyanese cardiologist living in New York since 1976. Jadonath said his father was one of the most active people in the mandir establishment.
Each Sunday, the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir holds a Puja, a ritualistic worship ceremony where people express devotion, reverence, and gratitude to deities. After the Puja, attendants go to the basement, where they always share a meal together. According to the temple’s leader, Pundit Narayan Hatchana, the mandir is a safe place for Hindus, and for immigrants.
“It provides more peace, more satisfaction, generates positiveness to cope with challenges in life,” he said.
Guyana is seeking election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2024-2025 term with Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hugh Todd, saying that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country has always played an active role in the global organization.
Guyana is joined by Algeria in seeking a seat on the UN Security Council and the elections will be held on Tuesday.
Todd, speaking at a ceremony in New York, outlined Guyana’s vision and priorities for membership on the council and expressed his country’s commitment if elected to the Security Council to the rule of law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
If successful, Guyana will be the second CARICOM country to serve on the UN Security Council after St Vincent and the Grenadines had a two-year term that ended in 2022.
Todd said Guyana has always played an active role in United Nations and, as a small state, is ready to contribute to the work of the Security Council in partnership with all member countries for peace and prosperity.
Todd met with Algeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad, Ahmed Attaf, in New York on Friday night.
A government statement said both ministers said, if elected, they are looking forward to working together on the Security Council.
Todd noted that, as developing countries with a common understanding of the challenges faced, the two countries can make a valuable and purposeful contribution to the council and the United Nations as a whole.
Attaf, said that, if elected to the council, this will be another opportunity for Guyana and Algeria to work together, noting that the two countries have a shared history in the Non-Aligned Movement and Group of 77 and China.
He acknowledged that currently, in the world, there is a complicated international order, including political and economic orders that have been severely shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
He also stated that membership to the council would allow for the promotion of issues of development and international cooperation as well as contributions to peace and security.
Kaieteur News – This Friday’s Indian Arrival Day holiday reminds us that between 1838 and 1917, 239,000 Indians were brought as “indentured labourers” for the sugar plantations of Guyana. The question arises as to why they left their country when their custom forbade “crossing the “Black Waters” (Kala Pani)” on pain of “social death”. The short answer is that for most, it was a choice between life and death.
While indentured labour might be seen as a transitory episode of human labour from chattel slavery to the so-called modern “free labour”, the conditions that herded Indians into that option were man-made. For the so-called “pull factors”, the Guyanese sugar planters were convinced the freed Africans would not sell their labour at a rate to make sugar profitable. Unlike islands such as Antigua and Barbados, available land could provide them with alternative sources of sustenance than the sites of their degradation.
That the planters would soon lose the preferential tariffs that made WI sugar more profitable than beet and slave-produced sugar from countries like Brazil, was the clinching argument. They therefore actively sought new supplies of labour that would guarantee cheap and disciplined bodies on demand, even before full freedom arrived with the end of Apprenticeship in 1838. They resuscitated indentureship, the form of labour that had preceded slavery, where workers were contractually bound for a number of years to work under specified conditions and low wages. But where would such rates – which could not even attract freed slaves – be a “pull factor” for indentureship?
The answer was famine-struck Madeira starting in 1835 (30,685), the smaller WI Islands especially Barbados, 1835 (42,512), “Liberated Africans”, 1838 (13,355), British India, 1838 (239,909) and China, 1853 (14,189). India provided the most indentured labour due to enormous numbers of Indians thrown into destitution under British rule and, as in Barbados, the wages and conditions unacceptable to our freed slaves, were attractive to them.
The story of Indian immigration actually begins in 1757, when the troops of the British East India Company captured Bengal from the Moguls, and inexorable completed their conquest of the legendarily rich India within 50 years. Less than a decade later, between 1768 and 1771, in Bengal and Eastern Bihar (from where most Guyanese immigrants originated), more than 10 million persons – one third of the population – died from a “famine”. Why? Two reasons: Firstly, the farmers who supplied the bulk of the population with foodstuff were forced by the British into producing cash crops for export – even while they were forced to pay onerous taxes at the threat of death and violence that left them penniless.
Of the food staples produced, at the height of the famine grain merchants exported a record 800,000 tons of wheat and 1.9 million tons of rice. As peasants starved and perished, officials were ordered “to discourage relief works in every possible way”. British Governor Warren Hastings, boasted to the Home Office: “Notwithstanding the loss of at least one-third of the inhabitants of the province, and the consequent decrease of the cultivation, the net collections of the year 1771 exceeded even those of I768… It was naturally to be expected that the diminution of the revenue should have kept an equal pace with the other consequences of so great a calamity. That it did not was owing to it being violently kept up to its former standard.” Between the Bengal famine of 1768 and the end of Indentureship in 1917, conservatively, over 54 million Indians perished from famine.
The cash crops the farmers were forced to grow included cotton, poppy (for opium), and indigo and, as described above, staples like rice and wheat. This simply sufficed to pay the extortionate British tax demands or lose their lands, which many did. Millions also became jobless when the British forbade Indian weavers from producing cotton yarn and the cotton fabrics that had enthralled Europe. Henceforth, only cotton woven by British looms could be sold in India! Where were unemployed weavers to get the money to buy food, much less clothes? Incidentally, Britain became the largest drug dealers up to the present, with up to 800 tons of opium shipped to China annually so that the British could buy Chinese tea.
Even before the start of indentureship, millions of Indians were migrants looking jobs within India: British Guiana and other colonies provided a vent.
Ramakant-PThey were better off as indentured servants than begging and stealing in the streets of Calcutta. They were all homeless and naked. They slept at the railway stations and used the bushes to ease their bowels. [ more ]
Charrandass Persaud axed by Pres. Ali over obscene outburst in India
Guyana’s High Commissioner to India Charrandass Persaud will be recalled following the circulation of a video which shows him verbally abusing a woman at his official residence in India.
President Dr Irfaan Ali moments ago announced that he had a conversation with Persaud on the issue during which he [Persaud] accepted full responsibility for his actions and agreed to return home.
President Ali said the Guyana Government will now take all official steps and measures to ensure a smooth transition.
The President elaborated that during his discussion with Persaud, he emphasised the importance of representatives of Guyana conducting themselves in the highest regard.
He also reiterated that the issue in question, which occurred in August 2021, was already dealt with by the relevant agencies in India during which no evidence of misconduct was found.
The Head of State also noted that the video in circulation does not completely demonstrate what transpired.
Notwithstanding, the Head of State posited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Guyana Government will continue to work to strengthen its relationship with India and every partner across the globe.
In this regard, he said it is in the “best interest” that Persaud return home.
In the video, Persaud is heard telling the woman: “You probably want the dog to f**k you, that is what you want. And I don’t care. I don’t care who you are…f**k you.”
The video has been making its rounds on social media but this publication understands that the incident occurred since August 2021.
Following the rapid circulation of the video on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation released a statement on the incident.
See full statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is aware of material circulating on social media relating to allegations made against His Excellency Charrandass Persaud, High Commissioner of Guyana to India regarding an incident which occurred on August 1, 2021 on the premises of the High Commissioner’s residence.
This matter, brought to the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs of India by High Commissioner Persaud, was fully investigated by the relevant authorities and a formal response to the High Commission dated September 3, 2022 indicates that “allegations of sexual abusive words to complainant has [sic] not been substantiated”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation therefore considers this matter closed.
Ramakant-PIrfon Ali https://demerarawaves.com/2022...-on-gender-equality/ Charrandass Persaud publicly apologises to India, Guyana for abusing animal rights activist; justifies action based on gender equality What a slimeball! The Indians were probably wondering how this thug got a diplomatic job to their country. Dr. Odeen Ishmael must be turning over in his grave at these imbeciles getting ambassador jobs; Jagdeo and his thug party should study the man and emulate him. emulate? or eliminate? [ more ]
Irfon Alihttps://demerarawaves.com/2022...-on-gender-equality/ Charrandass Persaud publicly apologises to India, Guyana for abusing animal rights activist; justifies action based on gender equality What a slimeball! The Indians were probably wondering how this thug got a diplomatic job to their country. Dr. Odeen Ishmael must be turning over in his grave at these imbeciles getting ambassador jobs; Jagdeo and his thug party should study the man and emulate him. [ more ]
Kaieteur News – Guyana’s approval of the 5th oil project, Uaru, in the Stabroek Block was inevitable. Now it is almost official, with ExxonMobil and its partners rejoicing, and the Guyanese left holding their hands out, and wondering if they will ever get more from their oil treasure. What is revealing is the sequence around which this 5th oil project’s approval. Instead of straightness from the PPPC Government, there were these schemes, which fool fewer citizens daily.
Hess Corporation’s CEO John Hess in early August 2022 announced that a plan of development was to be submitted to the Guyana Government by the end of last year. The approval of this 5th oilfield was expected early in 2023, with the 1st quarter end floated as a strong possibility. In March, the CEO of MODEC, the Japanese firm building the Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessel said approval of the 5th project was just a formality. This is what the management of Guyana’s oil boils down to: Americans rushing excitedly ahead with their plans for rich profits, and the Japanese saying approval is a formality.
Meanwhile, the Guyanese people are in the dark of where matters stand or that when the 5th project is approved, more has been negotiated for them. It is now almost the end of April, and from nowhere, Guyanese are greeted with two pieces of news relative to their oil patrimony. First, CEO Hess reported that oil has been found in the Lancelet-1 exploratory field. The second is that, within hours of Hess’s big announcement, Guyana’s oil czar, Bharat Jagdeo unveiled his own bigger announcement: the 5th project’s pending approval by the Guyana Government.
What is conspicuous is that Jagdeo is trying to make the Guyanese people believe that it is a government decision, and not his alone. By now, most Guyanese laugh at that piece of leadership acrobatics. What is also crystal clear is that the project’s approval was indeed a mere formality (like the Japanese said earlier). This late April approval by Jagdeo is part of the lip gloss applied to put a neat sheen on the process, when it was a done deal all the time.
It is obvious that the PPPC Government, and the Vice President, do not care how their stewardship of this precious national commodity is seen and evaluated. It was the Vice President himself who said that his party is prepared to lose some votes, if that is the consequence that follows. Stated differently, there is no care regarding how the Guyanese people react, and what they do to register their disapproval. What matters above all else is how he is in total sync with ExxonMobil and its partners (Hess Corp and the Chinese company) with this oil wealth of Guyana, by giving them what they want, when they want it, and allowing them to decide how much they are going to pay for it.
Guyanese know that the 5th oil project is to cost US$12 billion at the minimum. But beyond that they do not know much more at this time, when Guyana nears approval. From all indications, it doesn’t matter to the man managing the oil, Bharat Jagdeo that these new projects being lined up for approval provide openings for Guyana to explore for its advantage. Nor does it matter that these projects could be used by Guyana to give it significant leverage in extracting some comparatively better terms from what this country has been getting from all of its previous oil projects. To sign-off on this 5th project with the equivalent of our hands tied behind our backs is the worst way imaginable to represent the interests of the Guyanese people.
When all this is given careful consideration, it is now beyond doubt that Guyana’s Bharat Jagdeo is as one with ExxonMobil’s Routledge and Hess Corporation John Hess. He is closer to them than the Guyanese people where this oil is concerned. It gives new meaning to all the ducking and dodging that are now constant with him, whenever he is asked for real answers and genuine truths about the nation’s oil. The other projects being lined up for approval look similarly foregone, meaning, done deals under the same vile terms.
Ramakant-PThe editor of Kaieteur News is a joke. He didn't say what is Guyana's take on all this. He is grasping at straws. Approval of a deal or contract is no big deal. The Guyanese people are better off now than they were in 2020. [ more ]
SAVITRI Sooklall is a small business operator, a cake maker, who caters to events with her creative designs in icing cakes and cup cakes made to order and she does it right from home.
Sooklall is a resident of Stewartville South, West Coast Demerara and a single mother of two, who was once employed at a supermarket in Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo.
The 32-year-old told the Pepperpot Magazine that her last catering job, a specially made icing cake was for a birthday on Easter weekend.
She stated that she separated from her husband 18 months ago, and she has to earn to support her children.
Sooklall resides at the home of her father, a cane harvester, and she does the cooking for him.
Even though making icing cakes isn’t an everyday job, it is still an income and also not a big money earner.
“It was always my desire to become self-employed and when I could, I started out on my own, utilising my skill to bake cakes and icing it to suit customers,” she said.
Sooklall has a lovely home which is very clean and tidy, complimented with a well-kept yard.
Ganesh Sooklall, the cane harvester Meanwhile, her father, Ganesh Sooklall, 54, a sugar worker attached to Leonora Sugar Estate, was at home relaxing that day and he was reclining in the outdoor hammock.
He is a local of the village and he pretty much stays to himself and doesn’t mix up too much with the neighbours.
Sooklall likes the quiet of the community and is pleased that their once mud dam was upgraded to an all-weather road.
He reported that the village has developed since he first moved in the street and is quite happy about the changes that have enhanced his life.
The NDC Stewartville/Cornelia Ida Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) manages six villages and oversees developmental works in all the communities that come under their catchment area.
Overseer, Savitri Gopaul of the Stewartville/Cornelia Ida NDC told the Pepperpot Magazine that internal streets are being upgraded, and some are completed while drainage and infrastructural works are ongoing in all the villages.
Gopaul said the six villages that come under the Stewartville/Cornelia Ida NDC are Stewartville, Leonora, Groenveldt, Edinburg, Anna Catherina and Cornelia Ida.
She reported that they have five new housing schemes in these villages and under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) they have been trying their utmost to maintain the drains and parapets.
Gopaul added that they have partnered with the Ministry of Infrastructure to upgrade many internal streets in the six villages.
She related that 20 councillors including the Deputy Chairman, manage the Stewartville/Cornelia Ida NDC.
The Overseer pointed out that the NDC controls building, infrastructure and the collection of rates and taxes.
She stated that they have 10 constituencies and also process building applications, approval and recommendations, and cleaning of drains and parapets.
They do not do any garbage collection since they do not have a landfill site in the region, and it is too costly for the undertaking because they do not own a garbage truck.
Gopaul added that they have a tractor/trailer with a slasher and that is often utilised for the maintenance of parapets along the main public road, schools and community centre grounds.
Recently they were gifted a brand-new tractor via central government for community development, but they desperately need a mini excavator to upgrade the drainage and irrigation network in the catchment villages they oversee.
The Overseer told the Pepperpot Magazine that they need skip bins for garbage collection and residents have been slow in paying up their rates and taxes.
She disclosed that only 90 per cent of locals pay up and it is not enough to do any real developmental works in the villages.
Gopaul reported that the new housing scheme of Stewartville South will accommodate more than 1100 house lots and that development is expected to occur soon, since allocation was done.
She noted that even though some people do not pay any rates and taxes, they make demands and they still have to provide services.