by Rev. Seopaul Singh CEM
August 28th marks the fortieth anniversary of the massacre of the seven Jaikarans at Chance, Mahaicony in 1964. More than one year before, on April 1, 1963, the PNC launched a Terrorist Security Organization as detailed in the X-13 Report: http://guyanajournal.com/x_13.html . By May 1963, the X-13 plan of extermination and ethnic cleansing was leaked, but not shut down. Thus, throughout 1963, over 19 incidents of bombing were planned by the leadership of the PNC, and executed by the ‘soldiers’ of the Plan. Supt. Paul Britton Report of August 1964 on the X-13 plan refers. (These were not "tit for tat" actions, as Mayor Green would make of lesser issues during the 1964 sugar strikes of GAWU.)
The following year on May 23 and 26, 1964 the X-13 plan was again executed town-wide at the inland mining town of Wismar, Upper Demerara River. This accounted for the first phase of ethnic killing at Wismar. For this reason, many detested the fixing of the Independence date on May 26. On August 9 1964, after several escapades of terror in the city, Immanuel Fairbane, called Batson, was arrested with a quantity of terrorists' arsenals in Elizabeth Guest House at Charlotte and Wellington Streets, Georgetown.
Genesis of the Atrocities
The foregoing however did not show the genesis of the atrocities of the Sixties. The conflagrations in Georgetown of February 16, 1962 however marked the full-scale campaign of the Machiavellian PNC Leadership, supported by the UF, the TUC, the American CIA, some Afro-Caribbean Leaders, Local Police, Volunteer Force and Riot Squad against the PPP-led Government. The American Anti-Communist Crusade was launched full-scale against Indians being supporters of the Cheddi Jagan and the PPP. Since then the PPP never had a chance to govern.
During the eighty-days strike, no one dared to break that massive 1962 blockade that resulted, and the TUC/PSU in the PNC/UF opposition to the PPP's Kaldor Budget and the Labor Relations Bill. Black Friday, February 16, 1962 rocked the City of Georgetown. The PNC/UF/TUC shut down the country. Yet, in spite of few very solitary attempts at strikebreaking, Indians were targeted and battered if found on the streets. Several Indian businesses were razed to the ground in Georgetown. Here, there was not 'tit for tat'. It was more candidly one-sided wholesale terrorism against Indians. The incidents were more than isolated,
April 1, 1963 saw an already very badly battered society becoming the launching pad of the atrocious PNC terrorist X-13 plan. Yet, there was a significant measure of development in Agriculture, Drainage schemes, UG, Education, Health Centers, etc. in the nation. The catalog of achievements is numerous. But following the launching of the X-13 plan, that year also marked the most atrocious ongoing series of bombing (planned by the hierarchy in the PNC). The main targets again of the bombings were several Government buildings, Indians properties (including the Doreen and Plaza Cinemas), Private Homes and Liquor Restaurants.
By March-April 1964, the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) was in the throes of a strike in the sugar industry to have workers determine which union would represent them. There was a concerted effort between the Sugar Lords, the MPCA and the PNC/UF supporters to break the strike. Efforts to stop a truckload of scabs resulted in the death of Gunraj and Monroe, an Indian and an African. While this was purely industrial and not racial, the African racist elements armed with weapons immediately pounced upon the Indians at Tain Settlement.
Early in 1964 also the Governor ordered the detention of most of the leaders of the PPP at Sibley Hall. The Indian supporters of the PPP were left vulnerable virtually at the mercy of the Riot Squad, Volunteer Force, Police and later the British Army. The 'tit for tat' snowballed into a nationwide dimension. Nesbitt Changhur immortalized the national tragedy in the words of his famous song, 'Guyana Lament': "Tain public road the beginning // When in the lorries they come // Out of the darkness is pelted // Out of blackness comes the bomb // Negroes and Indians screaming // Onto the roadway they fall…"
By May 26th 1964, the execution of the X-13 plan gave the nation the first real taste of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Indians were battered, routed and murdered in Wismar without any avenue of escape or any iota of resistance. By mid June 1964, life in the township of Wismar was simmering after the first phase of major displacement of Indian residents. Before the end of June 1964, the operatives of the PNC X-13 plan targeted the remote farming community of Mahaicony. Also, around that time the Police Commissioner Peter Owen reported to the Governor Sir Richard Luyt of the X-13 Report that, "It was organized thuggery centrally directed." Nothing was isolated.
In June 23, 1964, the first spate of ethnic violence was launched on the Indians at Perth Village, Mahaicony. This accounted for the first phase of displacement of the Indian minority residents there. Contrary to Hamilton Green's account recently in the press, the victims were not the Africans majority. And the shooting of Waldron took place at No. 10 in a counterterrorism move. Many Indian homes outside of Perth, from Fortitude to Supply, were razed after the displacement. Those houses, which remained standing in Perth, were not burned because of their proximity to their Africans neighbors. By the end of June many (including my family) were already settling at Vryheid's Lust Squatting Scheme near Montrose.
In July 1964, within a month later, the Sun Chapman, laden with weapons of mass destruction (dynamites), allegedly being shipped to complete the demise of Indian houses at Wismar, blew up, killing an estimated forty-five Africans and ten Indians commuters. This accident was followed by two major coordinated reprisals in the furtherance of the PNC X-13 plan. First was an irate town-wide battery, rape and murder of Indians, and accounted for the second phase of ethnic killing in Wismar. An attack was executed at Freedom House in Robb Street. The bookstore at Freedom house was bombed. Michael Forde was killed. Note that all this time Perth Village was already rid of Indians.
Life in Mahaicony was also simmering after the first phase of ethnic displacement in June. In July, a few residents who remained in Lower Branch Road continued some measure of farming until August. By the end of August 1964, the second incident rocked Mahaicony. This farming community, too, was again jolted with a second phase of ethnic killing directed against Indian families. The thugs of the X-13 plan began a systematic extermination of unarmed Indians. Two members of the Sooknanan family were shot without the murderers being caught. Four members of the Ally family were shot by the Sergeant of the Mahaicony Police Station, who was tracked down by Police dog Rio. The sergeant was whisked away to Lethem.
Then on August 28th 1964, an armed 'Vigilante' Group comprising some known local residents and members of the Guyana Volunteer and Police Forces entered the homes of two families of the Jaikarans, and indiscriminately shot mothers and fathers with their babies in bed. The following day, August 29, 1964 the Guyana Graphic reported the incidents with graphic pictures in the front page – seven of the Jaikaran family were killed. Incidentally, that same page of the Guiana Graphic carried the story of the defense of Emmanuel Fairbane, called Batson, by H.D. Hoyte.
It has been forty years since the killing, but the family could not find closure for their grief and bereavement. Although the killers were identified and arrested, they were never brought to justice.
Seopaul Singh spoke with Sabitri Prashad nee Jaikaran of the Jaikaran family:
Seopaul Singh: Sister Sabitri would you please identify yourself for our readers. Just tell us who you are and where you were during the Mahaicony tragedies of 1964?
Sister Sabitri: My name is Sabitri Prashad and I am the fifth child of Mr. and Mrs. Seewah Jaikaran of Plantation Chance, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, Guyana, South America. I lived with my husband Balram Prashad in Bush Lot Village on the West Coast of Berbice, which is predominantly Indians.
SS: Sister Sabitri after the shocker of widespread ethnic violence, rape and killings of Wismar on May 26, 1964, the nation was again jolted by the most outrageous massacre in a single family by members of the Volunteer and Police forces aided by civilians. Tell us what you remember of the events, which led up to this tragedy in your family.
SP: In June 1964, Africans moved to rid Perth Village of all the Indians there. We saw the flames of many houses that were burnt nearby during the last week of June and later. During the counterattack, following the burning, Waldron was shot. Then in July 1964, my brother Rajpaul Jaikaran wrote the College of Preceptors Exam. Upon completion he immediately arrived at my home to stay with me [at Bush Lot], because racial disturbances had for the first time started in our district. Later that same month my eldest brother Dhanraj Jaikaran brought his wife, who had just days before given birth to a baby boy at the Public Hospital Georgetown. The next day he went to Chance, Mahaicony and brought the rest of his children. All of this was because of fear in Mahaicony, where the blacks and Indians were living next to each other in some places. My brother stayed to assist with his family.
SS: There were two major incidents of killing by 'Vigilante' Volunteers and Police in Mahaicony before those in your family. Do you remember those?
SP: Yes. Two members of the Sooknanan family were killed at Backdam, Mahaicony. This was followed by the killing of four members of the Ally family, which was witnessed by a son, ten years old, who identified Sergeant Anderson of the Mahaicony Police Station as the killer. Police dog Rio tracked Sergeant Anderson to the Police Station and jump on him. These two incidents caused much fear and worry among those who remained in Branch Road. It was as if all our lives were in the hands of the armed Vigilantes. My brother Bhoge Jaikaran, who was one year older than me, took his wife Phulu and their two children Indra and Seenarine, known as Son-Son, to stay in the Mahaicony Creek area, with his wife's relatives. Bhoge returned to his home at Chance, Mahaicony, feeling a bit relieved that his family was safe in the Creek. There, the residents were all Indians. In late July my sister Moti Devi Pritipaul, better known as Raadhi, who was one year younger than me, came to my home along with her husband Latchie Pritipaul and their three sons – Parsram six years, Terry three years, and Sathram Pritipaul who was only four months old. My brother-in-law Latchie spent the night and the next morning, he too, like the others, left for his home at Chance, Mahaicony.
SS: Four armed Africans were reported killed in Mortice backlands while they were driving out cattle in floodwaters. Do you know of this incident?
SP: Yes. We heard that some black men were driving cattle out of Mortice when they were met and killed in a gunfight. Their bodies were not recovered.
SS: (I must tell you that this week [in July 2004], I spoke to the Ally survivor who is now in his fifties. He gave me much details of the killing of the family). Now Sister Sabitri, let us move away from the tragedies a little. Tell us what was the kind of atmosphere at your home in Bush Lot? How did the news of daily reports of violence in the country affect your family?
SP: Now, my house or home, I should say, was full with love of my family being there; but in the mind we were all fearful of what we might hear of our family who were elsewhere especially in the Mahaicony area. This was mostly because of the news of racial killings we were hearing over the radio. Everyday seemed so long. The nights seemed longer, and at that time I was five months pregnant with my fifth child. My sister Raadhi used to sit and listen to all the news. She knew the news hours. Some time I would say to her, "Come, let’s do this or that so she would forget about the news," but she never did. She'd reply, "When the new is finished I'll come." Her husband Latchie would come and spend an overnight with us just to cheer up his family, especially his three children, and let them know he was all right. But his wife and I always took it very hard.
I remember quite vividly the last time he was leaving my home, I said, “Latchie please be careful and take good care of yourself. I do not want to hear the worst thing happen to you.” He said, I quote "If you hear I got killed; please you all do not come or they would kill all of you and who will take care of the children," and he left for his home at Chance, Mahaicony. My sister Raadhi and I watched him go as far as the eyes could see and little did we knew that that would be the last time we would be seeing him alive.
Our parents, the late Sewah and Chandrabally Jaikaran, took the rest of their children and went further down the road to stay at my mom's niece, Soda; and to be among her relatives, the Moosais, because there are only Indians living there. There the children were a bit happy to be with their cousins and other children playing games, etc. As everyone in Guyana knows schools were closed.
SS: What was the situation in Branch Road, Mahaicony then? How did this affect your family's livelihood?
SP: Indians could no longer use the Branch Road to go to Central Mahaicony because to pass through that road where the negroes (sic) were, was risking your life. Everyone used this road before, day and night, without fear. Now, if anyone had to go to the Doctor or Hospital, they had to travel backwards to road end, and cross the Mahaicony River with small boats, and go through Burma Road. Then from there they could go either way to Georgetown or to Berbice. This way was much longer, but the Indians had no choice. The milkman Jura Persaud, as we all called him, used to drive his own van in Mahaicony Branch Road to Central Mahaicony where the milk was being treated and then taken to Georgetown. Now because of the distance, Jura's son Baab or Bob, who was just in his late teens had to spend the nights at my brother-in-law Latchie. He started his milk collection at the Jaikarans. He then traveled towards road-end, as it was called, from where he and his father Jurah would transport hundreds of gallons of milk to Central Mahaicony by launch. These people were trying to make an honest living, very hard working, and at the same time they did not want to lose their customers. It took them a much longer time in transportation of the milk. For me I would say the risk that was taken by my family and the milkman was not worth it in the end. As you would later hear what happened. I still cry... and sometimes loudly.
SS: Was there any sign of normalcy returning? What became of the farming activities with cattle, livestock and rice cultivation during the unrest? Were they able to attend to all of these?
SP: Now my brother Bhoge and brother-in-law Latchie kept watchful eyes on the four houses, livestock, a big herd of cattle and the cultivation of rice, which was near reaping. And most importantly they would keep watch in the nights, thinking their presence there would prevent any rampage, looting and arson and the killing of innocent people. All this later proved wrong. By the beginning of August, my brother Bhoge together with others formed a vigilante group and they started patrolling the Mahaicony Branch Road until midnight. This was no easy task. Great risk was involved and they continued night after night. Bhoge loved his country and would do anything to try to prevent it from destruction. He was not a coward. I knew my brother well. He would not run and hide. He would rather stand up and face whatever comes his way, even if he had to die; and in the end that was what happened to him.
SS: Your family went through a lot, actually living under the shadow of death. How did they cope with the fear and separation during the period?
SP: Everything seemed to calm down and my brother brought back his family home. One day my sister Raadhi said to me, "I want to go home and be where my husband is. What is the use of living if Latchie got killed while I am at Bush Lot! It is better if all of us are together, and if death comes, let us all die together. In this way I will rest in peace." So she and her children went back to their home.
The next week my eldest brother Dhanraj Jaikaran and his family left my home and they stayed in my parents' home because his house was a little farther away from the others. He told my parents when they came back he would go to his home. My parents said, "In a week and a half time they would be returning too. That would be the first week in September 1964. On the night of August 26, my teenage brother Rajpaul Jaikaran told me and my family that he really wanted to go and see our parents and siblings. He loved his parents, brothers and sisters, especially the younger ones. I did not feel good hearing him say how much he wanted to see the family at Mahaicony.
I tried desperately talking him out of it, but he promised me one thing, which seemed to me at the time to be quite reasonable. That was, "Tomorrow morning I will go and I will spend only one night and early the next morning I'll come back to Bush Lot. I will also bring back at lot of stuff that is perishing at Mahaicony with my cousin John Moosai' s car." I said to him, “If they come that one night what would happen to you?" He replied, "They will never get me. I will let myself down through the back window of the bedroom with a sheet, and I will hide in the rice field so I will be safe." As he said that he left for Mahaicony in the morning of August 27, 1964.
SS: Was there any protection for the people from the Police and Volunteer Force at Mahaicony? Who kept the peace in the situation? What gave your family the confidence to do vigilante work?
SP: The British Soldiers had set up a base at Mahaicony Cottage Hospital Compound. Their job was to drive through the Branch Road any hour of the day or night to keep peace. On many occasions during the day they would stop at my parents place to drink water from the young coconuts and chat with my brother and brother-in-law Bhoge and Latchie. They loved them not only for the large numbers of young coconuts they have around the houses, but more so because they too were trying their best to keep the peace by patrolling the road every night in groups up to midnights.
SS: Can you describe the kind of relationship which existed until the fatal night? Was it the usual workers and employer relationship?
SP: My family was very friendly people. They employed a lot of black people to do almost all the work. They dug the trenches with shovel and made dams for drainage and irrigation of hundreds of acres of rice land. They tended the cattle, put calves in the pens in the evenings. In the mornings some of them would milk the cows, getting about sixty gallons of milk. Some of them were paid to pick coconuts by the hundreds and remove the husks. This was being done all year round. Then when mangoes were ripe the black ladies along with their sons or husbands would pay my parents according to the size of their baskets and the quantity. My father trusted them. They were allowed on the farm and no one from among us had to go along and keep an eye on them as to what they were doing.
SS: Tel me more about the lifestyle of the people as a community. How did they live before the tensions in the Branch Road? What relationship existed and how did they treat one and other?
SP: We, two races, lived like one family. Some of them who worked all day with my dad would be given dinner before they leave for their respective homes. They loved our kind of food. When a few of them had wedding for their son or daughter, my parents would give a cow as a wedding gift. This was the way we lived. My parents were fairly rich compared to others and they never liked to hear any of their workers need something and we didn't give them. They were allowed to catch fish in our fishpond, free milk, coconut, greens and provisions. Sometimes my father would give them extra money on payday more than what they worked for. My parents were very generous. Their motto was to help anyone.
SS: Your dad was a great father, bringing up eighteen children with your mother. What other activities was he involved in?
SP: Although my parents were proud of their eighteen children, eight boys and ten girls, my dad was a great sportsman. He played cricket. Many times when Chance hosted the game the Governor would come to Mahaicony and declare the game open. He would toss the coin and the team of the captain who won the call would bat first.
SS: I remember many times I went to watch cricket at Chance on Sundays. My dad was the Captain of the Chance Cricket Club. The team had Indians, Africans and Whites. I remember men like Nagle Ross, Kempton, Victor Baldwin, Jeff, Muni, Krishna Persaud (aka Richie Benaud). Your dad was a great batsman. With my dad they made quite some record last-wicket stands. (I was even registered to attend Ashram High by Pandit Usurbudh on that Cricket Ground at Chance, Mahaicony).
SP: Our family gave the land for the Cricket Field and a Pavilion was built for the benefit of everyone who wanted to come and watch the game. There used to be a lot of music and food. It was a lot of fun. My dad was good at wicket keeping also. He won several medals, gold and silver, and we were all very proud of him.
SS: I know that we are getting to the harder part of the experience, but please tell us what happened the night of the massacre of your family?
SP: On the night of August 27 1964, after the patrolling was over, everyone from the vigilante (watch) group returned to their homes and was in bed with their families. At approximately 1:30 am, my brother-in-law Pritipaul came out to answer a rapping at his front door. Bob, the milkman, and my brother Rajpaul Jaikaran were sleeping on the floor of the living room on a mattress. Latchie asked loudly, “Who are you?” The reply was very loud, "The Queens' soldiers." Without hesitation he opened the door and in an instant was shot in the chest, and he fell to the floor bleeding. Rajpaul and Bob in an instant dashed in the bedroom and bolted and locked the door. These people were not the British soldiers as they said, but were the Black renegades, some of whom were Police Officers and Volunteers and ordinary black people (some of whom were working with my father). They shouted, "Whoever is in the bed room open the door." Bob was telling Raj, "Hand me the cutlass." They heard this and shouted, "Open the door." Although the door was locked and bolted Bob and Raj were bracing it from the inside. One of them placed a gun on the door and fired, but it did not hit any of them. So they moved away and my dear loving brother Raj hid under a mattress that my sister Raadhi and her family were sleeping on. They slept on the floor to avoid being hit in case people were shooting at the house. With the pressure from bracing the door the nails on the lock and bolt came out and Bob grabbed a chair to bar the gun, but he was shot. Immediately he fell in front of the bedroom entrance and the dresser. He expired right there. Now all the men were in the bedroom. They shot my sister Raadhi and she pretended to be dead. Oh, how it aches me to tell this again! Her baby started to cry and one of the killers by the name of Festus (whose father used to work for my parents and ate everyday by us) was shouting "Raj, come out of your hiding. Raj, we would find you." But my dear brother just stayed still and they did not find him.
You see, there were two mattresses on the floor where my sister and her three sons were sleeping, and the pillows and sheets prevented them from seeing the bump on the mattress. They searched the room and felt that Raj was not there in the house after all. The baby was still crying and they started to shoot like madmen at the children. One shot rang out and the baby stopped crying. Once again they shot my sister and she still lay like dead. When they left she hugged her baby and then she realized that the baby was dead. She could hear my brother across the road in his home shouting for our eldest brother Dhanraj Jaikaran saying, "They are shooting at our sister Raadhi home." All the dogs were barking.
These people went across the road and called upon my brother Bhoge to open the door. He did not. So they broke the glass window and put their hand in and open the lock. Once again they went right in the bedroom. They shot my brother who was hugging his daughter, then his wife Phulu who was pregnant and hugging their eighteen-month old son Seenarine. Their daughter, who was three years old, was screaming, and they shot her in the head blowing out her brains. Then they shot my sister-in-law Phulu on the abdomen killing the unborn child too. Although my brother Bhoje had a chance to get away through the backdoor whilst they were shooting at my sister's house, he remained with his family and awaited death in silence. This was how I knew him all along and until his dying day.
SS: Are you saying that the two families were actually trapped with no place to run or hide?
SP: Whilst all this was going on my eldest brother said he thought of taking his family out of the house or one of his sons, but he got an idea. He left all the doors wide open, and he ran down the road to Mortice to tell our parents. When he reached there he fainted upon seeing my mom and dad. He fell down, and when he was revived, all in the Moosai's family was there. No one could get a good night sleep. My brother told them that the black people were shooting at Raadhi's house and then Bhoge's house, but he believed that Bhoge had enough time to get away.
During this time, my sister said she could hear the groaning of her husband and like he was choking. She could not move because she was shot in both her thighs. So she silently asked Raj who was still under the mattress, to please give her husband a little water to wet his throat. Raj replied that he was afraid and told her to be quiet; that maybe the men will come back to see if any one is still alive. Raj remained there and my dear brother-in-law died. After the black people were coming down the road, the first Indian home they went in was a relative of my dad. The residents were outside in the yard. When they saw vigilantes they went in the pond with their heads barely above water. So the wicked murderers poured gasoline and set the house on fire. That house was the property of Ganga Persaud aka Dougla Alfred. It was the house before my families' homes. By then the fire was raging and my sister Raadhi thought it was her house. So she said to Raj that we would now all be burnt. The night sky again lit up. That was a new house and soon it was to be painted, but no lives were lost there.
My brother Dhanraj said he got away from the crowd that was building up at Mortice, Mahaicony, down the branch road and ran all the way to our brother's house hoping to find Bhoge alive somewhere. He was disappointed to see Bhoge hugging his daughter and beside him his wife all three dead. Their son was covered in blood crying. At this point he said to himself that the child that was crying would soon die.
So he darted across the road and went up the steps of my sister's house. He was calling out for Raadhi. Upon entering the house he saw his brother-in-law in a pool of blood, dead. Raadhi's voice called from the bedroom 'Biah' (the way we all call our eldest brother), asking him to give her some water to drink. She was bleeding profusely and was thirsty all the time. Raj was still under the mattress. He also told Biah our eldest brother how he was bleeding. He got shot in his knee, and could not move. The Guiana Graphic of the next day August the 29th noted that six were dead in the shooting at Chance, Mahaicony.
SS: Sister Sabitri, I want to thank you for finding the courage to sit through this interview and give this account of the details surrounding the massacre of the seven members of your family. I hope to gather much more details of the Mahaicony experience in future meeting with survivors. Thanks again.
The two immediate survivors of the shooting, who were hospitalized, Rajpaul Jaikaran and Raadhi, signed statements identifying several of the murderers, some of whom were formerly employed with the family, and members of the Police and Volunteer Forces. The British soldiers rounded up fifteen of the named suspects and took them for identification parade at bedside of the survivors at the Hospital. The two survivors independently identified the killers. They were handed over to the Police, but were never charged for the murders. However, the politics of the day never dispensed justice to the family. All the suspects were released within that week.
An unborn baby was killed in the womb of the shot mother. The massacre of the Jaikarans resulted in a drastic move by the British Soldiers to reverse their policy against Indians. Both the survivors died at the hospital under very suspicious circumstances. The arrangements for the funeral of the deceased were made under strict security precautions. Because of the tensions many friends and family members could not have attended the funeral. Efforts to have the announcements broadcasted were also thwarted by the partisan Radio of the day. Even the effort to have the memoriam published was met with objection when Sis Sabitri stated that she hated the murders of her family. She had to state that she forgive the murderers of her family before the newspapers carried the memoriam.
The legal proceedings, which were initiated in the wake of the trauma, were frustrated with delays from day to day. They were calculatedly allowed to fall through with no proper mechanism to pursue the case during the continuing racial strife in the nation. The judicial system then, still under British control and manipulation, was not kindly disposed to Indians in general and the supporters of the PPP party specifically. The matter eventually died a natural death just as the people whose lives were counted as nothing in the eyes of the rabid monsters in their mad struggle for control of the government in the emerging nation of Guyana. One baby, who survived the shooting, grew up 'autistic' with bullet scars all over his hand and abdomen. He died at the age of twenty-seven years never recovering from the trauma.
Many, who sought to set the record straight (e.g. Hamilton Green), missed the chronological details of the two phases of ethnic conflicts in both communities of Wismar and Mahaicony. In the review of Guyana's history nothing is ever mentioned about the massacre of the unarmed Indians by the Police and Volunteer Forces in Mahaicony. Those who glibly advocate that the nation forget the past are grossly deceived in themselves.
To date there has been no closure for the massacre of the three unarmed Indian families at Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. Police dog Rio tracked the Ally's murderer to the Sergeant at Mahaicony Police Station. He was flown away to Lethem. The murder of the Sooknanans remained uninvestigated. The murderers of the Allys and Jaikarans were 'legally' identified and arrested; yet they were never brought to justice. The death toll among the three families alone was thirteen.
As long as the crimes of known criminals remain un-prosecuted, there will be no catharsis for the families of the victims and the nation as a whole. Some of the guilty culprits have since met their demise in poetic justice. Rebels in the Rupununi uprising shot and killed Sergeant Anderson. Criminal(s) were/are still known, but nothing was/is done to bring them to justice. Ballot Box martyrs in Corentyne, Father Darke, Vincent Teekah, Walter Rodney and a host of political opponents of the PNC, met their demise during the heyday of the PNC dictatorship. Only those who experienced the losses and injustice are in a true position to tell of the grief and pain which overshadowed their lives over the past forty years.
While the politics back then was openly anti Indians, what of the politics now? Is there still an reluctance to investigate outstanding crimes and bring closure for the traumatized families? Would there ever be healing to such wounds?
One of my aunt still alive in Canada, use to live in central Mahaicony was rescue by my grand father after their house was torched ... she also has some interesting narratives of being attack by their loving neighbors....
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