August 2,2016 Source
Yesterday I looked at discrimination against African Guyanese after the PPP came to power in 1992. It started with the Jagan Government, continued when Mrs. Jagan became President. But it was under Bharrat Jagdeo that racism against African Guyanese became an unofficial policy. We must remember it began with Cheddi Jagan in 1992.
In a previous column, I wrote; “Jagan in office after 1992 saw immense touches of unfairness. There were witch-hunts, vendettas, incestuous politics, ethnic preferences that erased the positive legacy he was once associated with.”
The scale of the PPP’s witch-hunt against African-Guyanese cannot escape the label of racism. Under Dr. Jagan , the first seven of the Customs hierarchy were removed. Their names are on the top of the list below. The remaining names are not offered in order of seniority at the time of dismissal.1 Clarence Chue, Harold Bahadur (African), Loris Bankcroft, William Holder, Patrick Hyman, Douglas Linton, Iola Issacs, Walter Roberts, Rose Kirton, Lawrence Dundas, Brentnol Hickens, Christopher Mathias, Shelly Brian, Paul Prescod, Michelle Mathias, Georgiana Patrick Roberts, Steven Daniels, Hatty-Ann Scotland, Yonette Austin, Richard Prince, George Beaton, Dexter John, Watson Grey, Assaye Greenidge, Gordon Watson, Rhonda Glad, Rayanne Van Lewin, Paula Caleb, Ewart Austin, Howard Paul, Karen Bobb-Semple, Simone Herod, Fitzroy Thomas, Paula Sampson, Vanita Bovell, Keon Price, John Cameron, Julian George, Colin Moore, Dawne Benn, Gem Callender (demoted)and Jackie Payne (demoted).
The pattern of decimation at Customs and Excise was replicated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. African Guyanese were systematically removed from that Ministry. Some of the names include long standing Foreign Service officers who served Guyana with distinction and without involvement in party. Dismissed or harassed or by-passed for promotion included the following names
Ronald Austin, Arnon Adams, John Hutson, David Hales, Jimmy Matheson, Rawle Lucas, Aubrey Norton, Cedric Grant, Paulette James, Sharon Collins, Donna Culpepper, Janice Benfield, O. McMillian, Colin Davies, Frank Goodman, and Elizabeth Kingston.
One very blatant dismissal was the then Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Hubert Thompson. Before joining the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Thompson graduated from Jackson State University with distinction in Financial Studies. He was removed from the Ministry and transferred to the Office of the President and suffered the humiliation of having to perform the duties of approving application for use of the swimming pool at Castellani House.
The following African Guyanese took the Jagan Government to court over their sacking courts; Bridgette Hinds, (Palms); Gemme Hinds (Palms); Feubia Monfort (Palms); Dionne Jones (Palms); Christine Barlow (Palms); Brian Belgrave (Min of Human Services); Clendon Fogenay (Min of Human Services); and Denise Jones (Office of the President).
Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte in an eight page dossier wrote; “Having studied the available abundant evidence, I cannot but conclude that the PPP regime has mounted and is executing in a systematic and ruthless way, a project harass and marginalize persons of African descent…not only were over fifty officials of African descent dismissed summarily and unlawfully but, as an act of sheer, they were denied their termination benefits… In every government ministry the same policy of ethnic cleansing has been pursued with varying degrees of intensity …”
Reacting not only to racist processes in the public service, Mr. Hoyte focused his attention to racism against African people in general. He went on to state; “The major enterprise now being accelerated in every Region (is) to evict persons of African descent from state lands…the policy entails the revocation of state leases and the denial of new leases to them…I am not talking only about large leases, but also house lots and small farmsteads…as the occupants are ousted or threatened with ouster, PPP supporters are being brought in from distant geographical locations to replace them…on the Essequibo Coast where I visited a few Sundays ago, I found many persons greatly agitated and distressed, their occupancy of state land had either been terminated or threatened …”
These statistics and names tell the tragic story of Cheddi Jagan’s politics after he became President in 1992. I have consistently polemicized in the columns that what the post-Jagan protégés became when they got power under Jagdeo, they inherited from Cheddi and Janet Jagan. The Jagan underlings that took over after 1999 when relentless protests from the PNC forced Mrs Jagan out of office, knew that what they were doing were right because they saw their leader, Dr. Jagan doing it.