ICTimes June08

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Vol 2. No 6 June 2008

Tel: 416-289-3898

Canada celebrates Crime is driving out 100 years of Indo- Trinidad business Caribbean arrival people permanently

This has been a year like no other in the history of Indo-Caribbeans in Canada. Many in our community woke up in surprise on realizing that we have marked our first hundred years, and gone past 200,000 members in this country. That’s more people than any city in Guyana, Trinidad or Suriname, and more than most of the small nations in the Caribbean like Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent. We have grown up in more than numbers and time. First, second and even third generations of Canadian born Indo-Caribbeans are coming up.Their elders now know for certain that most of them will not be returning to the Caribbean for more than short visits. Our destiny is here, though we will long keep our memories and ties with the Caribbean. The Indo-Caribbean Times is proud to be associated with this historic celebration of Indo-Caribbean Arrival in Canada. We highlight some of the activities in this issue, and pledge to continue to focus on our community’s growth and progress in Canada.

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce says bluntly that business owners are leaving the country because of the continuing escalation of crime, even though there has been a significant reduction in kidnappings for ransom. Chamber president Ian Collier has said yesterday there is a broader concern about young people, including potential business owners, who leave Trinidad and Tobago and are "thinking twice" about returning home. Collier said at a press conference that some people are migrating and have been doing so since 2002 when crime levels first began to significantly increase. He acknowledged that kidnappings for ransom have gone down from its all-time highsm but he was not impressed by current efforts to control crime. He said there can be no real diversification of the economy if there is no significant reduction in the crime levels. “If you are going into a diversified economy, then clearly one would have to have a very secure environment. "

Guyana Festival on this weekend


uyanese and their friends from far and wide will be gathering in Toronto for the Guyana Festival on June 20-22, easily one of the largest gatherings of the Guyana diaspora in the word. Guyana president Bharrat Jagdeo will be dropping in to the L’Amoreaux Community Centre at Kennedy and McNicoll, along with numerous other Guyanese from the Caribbean, the United States and around the world. The two day extravaganze also attracts a fair amount of other Caribbean visitors and Canadians who have come to know and appreciate the tens of thousands of Guyanese in Canada. There is no shortage of activities to keep the attention of the 20,000 plus expected to attend. The trade show and tourism display,

the arts and crafts fair, the display of books by Guyanese writers, the cultural shows, the food festival, and the famous duck curry competition are just a taste. Sports minded folks have to take in the celebrity cricket match, the 20-20 cricket competition, the softball, soccer and dominoes tournaments, after which there’s the famous Independence lime. This festival also provides a rare opportunity for Guyanese to come together and renew acquaintances with others scattered throughout Ontario and every other province and territory in Canada. This greats sprawling country and its millions of people over thousands of miles is not as friendly to association as the Caribbean. May this festival be a memorable one.

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Guadeloupe Indians pay homage to Indian activists Indians from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe gathered recently to pay homage to two revered Indian heritage leaders Henri Sidambarom and Tamby Soupragen in song, and by erecting monuments in their honour. hoto courtesy Jean Sahai.

Bomb at Cultural Centre, hijacking of Aroaima bus by armed gang

Violent incidents rack up tension in Guyana

Bomb found at Cultural Centre

tA small fire at the National Cultural Centre (NCC) on Sunday night damaged the stage and curtains and led to the shocking discovery of an apparent explosive device underneath the stage. Just after 9 passers-by as well as persons in the vicinity of the cultural centre saw smoke coming from the top of the building and the Guyana Fire Service was summoned. The acrid fumes emanating from burnt wires and the stage curtains were contained about 20 minutes after firemen arrived. But just as they were assessing the damage in the presence of Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony, ranks began to break open parts of the cultural centre stage fearing that there might be a fire underneath. It was then that they discovered the device which sent everyone scampering for safety. The device comprised four small blue cylinders enmeshed in wires and part of it was covered in a black plastic bag. It appeared to have been deliberately set there so that the burning curtains might ignite it. The second and third blocks of the curtains were severely burnt and the debris was still smoking on the stage where it fell and also caused the stage floor to start burning. Firemen opined that the fire started on the curtains and as the burnt pieces fell, flames spread to the floor. The cultural centre is currently hosting a number of stage shows and is one of the

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Bus hijack

Gunmen have hijacked and robbed a busload of passengers travelling from Aroaima to Linden on the Aroaima trail and forced the driver to take them to a destination unknown. Police later arrested a teenager who they believed was part of the gang, but up to press time last night there had been no sighting of the others who hijacked the minibus. There are believed to be the men could be those who escaped with Rondell Rawlins from Christmas Falls after a surprise police attack on June 6. Police said they received a report that at around 4:30 am last Tuesday a number of armed men stopped a mini-bus which was en route from Aroaima to Linden on the Aroaima Trail. The armed men robbed the passengers, the exact items are yet to be ascertained, after which they took the passengers out of the vehicle and ordered the driver to take them to an unknown destination. The driver was later released, the police added. A teenager who appeared to be not older than 14 years old stopped the bus and pretended to be joining it when a group of other men approached the bus. The men were decked out in army-type clothing and wore bulletproof vests. Among g items taken from the passengers were their cellular phones and identification cards.


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South Asian Heritage Month in GTA

Mayor of Markham Frank Scarpatti, Amar Umadas president of Toronto Arya Samaj, Adit Kumar Chairman of Vedic Cultural Centre South Asian Heritage Committee, Anand Rupnarain past president TAS, Danny Doobay and Amar Erry president of Arya Samaj Markham share in the presentation to the Toronto Arya Samaj by Guyana Consul General Danny Doobay ( second from right).

Camille Ross is a first generation Canadian of Guyanese heritage. A recent graduate from the School of Journalism at Ryerson University, she is the creator and host of Guyana Beat, a weekly television programme in Toronto, Canada. “I studied journalism at Ryerson University and always had a particular interest in community reporting. While volunteering with a community television station, I learned they were searching for ethnic programming to reflect the various cultures in Toronto. When I found out that they did not have a Guyanese program- I pitched them an idea for a show, and they loved it. “I knew that with our active Guyanese Diaspora there would be more than enough content for a fresh and informative show twice a month. Given the diversity of Guyanese people, I decided to stay away from religion and cover the culture and activities of our nation’s six peoples as they live here in Toronto. Guyana Beat takes viewers inside the lively culture of the Diaspora in the GTA. Each week we go around the city to learn about the cuisine, entertainment, history, politics, social life, and more surrounding the community. The events that are put on by the Guyanese community each month are endless, Guyana Beat takes its viewers behind the scenes for a sneak peak. The show also features success profiles of members of the Guyanese community who are making their mark in Toronto. I’ve profiled some of the greatest; Auntie Comesee,

Camille interviews Adit Kumar of the Vedic Cultural Centre on the May 31 Indo-Caribbean Centenary celebration Captain Gerald Gouveia, and Bing Serrao and the Ramblers. In hosting and producing this program I have learned that there is no shortage of successful good hearted Guyanese in Toronto. This production shows young Guyanese what others have done, and what they can do too.lease take some time to visit www.guyanabeat.com and click on “previous shows” to see the videos. Please take some time to sign our guestbook afterward. We are embarking on a new Generation of Guyanese – hyphenated Guyanese. For me, I’m a Guyanese-Canadian and couldn’t be more proud. Camille was intensely involved in the Centenary Celebrations put on by the Toronto Arya Samaj at the Vedic Cultural Centre, and will be involved in the Guyana Festival coming out this weekend. She welcomes input from the community and can be reached at the program’s web site at www.guyanabeat.com or by e-mail at [email protected].


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Indo-Caribbean Times

ayor of Markham congratulated the Vedic Cultural Centre on its 10th Annual South Asian Heritage Month Celebrations held on May 31 The honorable Consulate General of Guyana, Danny Doobay who along with the Mayor of Markham declared open the cultural extravaganza at the Vedic Cultural Centre at its 10th Annual South Asian Heritage Month Celebrations on Saturday, May 31, 2008 recognized the Centre for its contribution in maintaining the heritage and culture of its ancestors in this Multi Cultural country. In his address he congratulated the organization and presented an award to the Vedic cultural Centre for its celebration of the 100th anniversary of Indo-Caribbean presence in Canada, 170 th Anniversary of Indian arrival in the western world and its 10th Annual South Asian Heritage Month Program. He acknowledged the organization for its role in forging greater linkages between Hindus and other communities and in building partnerships with other cultures aimed at creating a greater understanding, tolerance and a stronger Canadian Mosaic. Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti also presented a plaque to the Vedic Cultural Centre, on the occasion recognizing their achievements. The plaque reads as follows: “The Mayor and Council of the town of Markham extend congratulations and best wishes to the Vedic Cultural Centre as it celebrates and presents its 10th Annual South Asian Heritage Month Program recognizing your educational and cultural achievements”. He congratulated the organization for its outstanding contribution in promoting cultural diversity in the City of Markham and reminded the audience that Canada does not ask you to give up your heritage but rather encourages you to use those values to enrich the Canadian Mosaic. He also commended them for issuing a commemorative Canada Postage stamp recognizing 100 years of Indo-Canadian presence in Canada which was launched as part of the celebrations. Adit Kumar, Chairman of the Vedic Cultural Centre South Asian Heritage Month Committee accepted the award on behalf of the organization and thanked the Consulate General and Mayor of Markham for recognizing and acknowledging the work of the Centre in promoting cultural diversity in the town of Markham. Adit Kumar pointed out that the organization started this program 10 years ago to raise awareness to the 5th of May, 1838, the day that the first batch of Indian Indentured immigrants arrived in the Western World. They went to British Guiana now known as Guyana, the country of birth of many of the immigrants who have now migrated and settled in Canada. That inaugural program generated tremendous interest and excitement and the

JUNE 2008

Page 3

community encouraged them to make it an annual event. He added that MPP Raminder Gill who attended the first program was so impressed with what he saw that he went on to pilot the bill in Parliament that designated the month of May as South Asian Heritage Month and the 5th of May as Indian Arrival Day. Since then the Vedic Cultural Centre expanded its program to celebrate South Asian Heritage as a whole rather than limit it to Indo-Caribbean Heritage and the committee was renamed as Vedic Cultural Centre South Asian Heritage Month Committee which was tasked with producing this show every year, with this year marking the 10th successive year of the celebrations. Every year the committee chooses a different theme and this year the theme was celebrating 100 years of Indo-Caribbean presence in Canada, recognizing Dr Kenneth Mahabir and M N Santhoo who came from Trinidad and Guyana respectively as the first Indo-Caribbeans to settle in Canada. The exhibition which preceded the cultural show focused on the 100th Anniversary of Indo-Caribbean presence in Canada, recognizing Dr Kenneth Grant Mahabir and MN Santoo who came from Trinidad and Guyana respectively as the first IndoCaribbean immigrants to settle in Canada. Huge life size scrolls depicting several Indo-Caribbean achievers with their contributions and achievements were prominently displayed and a commemorative Canada Postage stamp recognizing 100 years of Indo-Canadian presence in Canada was launched as part of the celebration. The Indo Caribbean achievers who attended the exposition were each presented with a plaque with the keepsake commemorative stamp and they all paid tribute to the Indo-Caribbeans as well as all peoples of the Caribbean for their contributions and achievements and exhorted them to give back something to the community. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Michael Chan who declared open the exhibition read a message from the Premier of Ontario in which he offered congratulations to the organizers and the community on the occasion and also paid tribute to the contributions of the South Asians to the Canadian Mosaic. The exhibition also featured artifacts commemorating the 170th anniversary of the Arrival of Indians in the western world, the first batch of Indian immigrants having arrived in Guyana (formerly British Guiana) on May 5th 1838. The interactive booths and artifacts captured the immigrant experience in the colonies and a very popular booth was the mini logie which highlighted the living quarters of the immigrants.


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Indo-Caribbean Times is published monthly in Toronto by Indo-Caribbean Times Ltd. Editor/Publisher: Ram Jagessar

Editorial Committee: Reynold Ramdial, Gulcharan Mohabir, Lloyd Harradan, Sandy Kissoonsingh, Roop Misir, Deoraj Narine, Krishna Nankissoor, Rudy Lochan

Indo-Caribbean Times

Page 4

Dentist migrates Arrival in Canada stories need telling after second n this Centenary of Indo- and Montreal. robbery and There are tens of thousands of stories of Caribbean Arrival in Canada I’ve heard Indo-Caribbean arrival in Canada but we enough arrival stories to know so few of them. Our history is mostly spouse’s murder From the editor’s desk

Offi ficce: 17 Gaiety Drive, Toronto ON Canada M1H 1B9 Tel: 416-289-3898

E-Mail: [email protected]

Opinions given in this newspaper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Indo-Caribbean Times.

We welcome letters, e-mails and comments on matters relevant to Indo-Caribbeans in Canada and abroad, and also those at home in the Caribbean. All content must comply with the requirements of Canadian law.

A copy of this newspaper is posted on the internet in as a pdf file immediately after publication, and the entire contents can be read online by anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Past and current issues of the ICTimes can be found at http://www.esnips.com/web/Indo -CaribbeanTimes Readers are also invited to look at the website www.indocaribbeanheritage.com which contains abundant information on Indo-Caribbeans in Canada and our Caribbean heritage and history.


convince me we have a hidden treasure of oral history among us in the tales of the Ram Jagessar Indos who came to Canada.

Some are just funny “stranger in a strange land” episodes, like the Indo at Pearson Airport changing his mind about returning home immediately when a white porter took his bags and called him “sir”. There was the lady who for two years kept paying new TTC fares every time she made a transfer, without knowing she could get a transfer slip for free. One man recollects wandering around a giant mall parking lot for hours trying to find the car he had borrowed - he couldn’t remember where he had parked it, what make and model it was, or the license number, but only that it was red. There are the stories about finding a job in a place where your past experience means nothing, and sending in that first Trini style application “ I humbly beg to apply for the position of …” Who can forget those tales of trying to find a place to live, while puzzling over ads like “2 bdrm bsmt first & last, incl heat & hydro”. Young people have memories of entering schools where students were smoking in the school yard, nobody wore uniforms, and people assumed they could not speak English. We have wonderful stories about learning to adapt to an often frigid climate, with cooking curry acting like tear gas in apartment buildings, doing lawa in the basement, and the trouble of finding a decent mango leaf for a puja. There are tragic tales of Indos deciding to have nothing to do with others from the home country, only to realize ten years later what a mistake that was. Some of us have learned to remake a support group in Canada and make a good life here, while others have not, and live here hating every minute and thinking of going back but never managing to do so. Almost unknown are the stories of brave Indo-Caribbeans who have ventured into places like Calgary, Vancouver, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, London, Waterloo, Quebec City, Timmins and Whitehorse, far away from the huge mass of their fellows comfortably settled in Toronto, Mississauga

oral, so very few of those stories are written down and available. We have to do something about that, and make the effort to record the lives and experiences of the Indo-Caribbeans who came to live in Canada. It may sound strange, but we are the jahajis in this land, though most of us came by plane rather than by boat. The jahajis in the Caribbean mostly lived and died without anybody asking them about their lives and recording the answers. We can’t let that happen to us in Canada, so we have to do the job for ourselves. Since last year the Indo-Caribbean Times has been collecting arrival stories and publishing them in our paper and on the www.indocaribbeanheritage.com web site. But we have only a few on hand, nothing representative of the 225,000 odd IndoCaribbeans in Canada. We want much more, and we need them to be available for anyone who is interested. These histories and remembrances are not just for our youths to use as research in their school papers on their Caribbean heritage. The people who tell them often say what they have learned from being in Canada, what mistakes they have made and what successes they have had. They invite us to learn from their experiences and do the things that have proven to work in building up proud and confident IndoCaribbeans in a strong community. Those who come later don’t have to repeat their mistakes. The stories can be entertaining but teach us something useful too. That is why I’m inviting our community to get moving with pen and paper, computers, tape and video recorders to record our arrival stories, especially those of the Indos who came several decades ago. It’s our duty to tell the youth and the still arriving newcomers how we got here and what we did to make this our new homeland. We can promise them a place in the indocaribbeanheritage.com web site and possibly in the Indo-Caribbean Times. Either way, they will become available to the world via the internet. E-mail the results to [email protected], mail to IndoCaribbean Times, 17 Gaiety Drive, Toronto ON M1H 1B9 and we guarantee a place in our community history collection.

Crime crisis in Trinidad needs answers AIR INDIA OFFERS By Gillian Lucky, former MP

JUNE 2008

With detection rates at an all-time low and no significant strides being made in the fight against crime, the question on the mind of every law-abiding citizen is: what next? We cannot give up hope or throw our hands in the air signifying defeat or, worse yet, surrender our entitlement to live in a secured society. The complaint that this administration has failed miserably in the fight against crime is an indictment for which it has already been foundguilty as charged. Citizens from all walks of life have stepped forward including the business community and asked this Government to do something meaningful in ensuring that we are protected from the hands of bandits who know no mercy. The papers are flooded with reports of

the commission of serious offences and the statistics prove beyond all reasonable doubt that crime is not going away. The criminals do not fear the system and the police and other members of the protective and armed forces are ill equipped to match the resources of those they are meant to unearth, detect and arrest. My professional experience and the several years that I worked in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions tell me that the problem of unabated criminal activity is worsening and the time for implementation of viable solutions can no longer be postponed. If that be the case, then the immediate establishment of an implementation committee along the lines of the Criminal Justice Board (UK) is all that is needed to address the problem. [email protected]


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ust as dentist Dr Ella Mae Jurawan-John was putting her past behind her and getting over the robbery incident in which her husband lost his life almost one year ago, she again became the victim of a crime last month. This time, the consequences were not fatal, but equally life-shattering, as the culprits sexually assaulted a close friend. May 17 marked exactly one year since Jurawan-John’s husband Dr Russel John was fatally shot at the couple’s Madras Street, St James, dental centre. John, son of former trade unionist Selwyn John, fought for three days at hospital, but died almost at the side of his killer whom he managed to shoot in the exchange of gunfire during the robbery. And following the robbery at JurawanJohn’s home in Santa Cruz, the widow is now planning to migrate. According to Selwyn John, his daughterin-law is now fed up. In a phone interview, John lamented the fact that he would be away from his grandchildren, but said that it has now become necessary. “It is regrettable that people would have to leave,” said John. According to John, he would much rather travel abroad and visit his grandchildren than have them live in Trinidad and risk getting killed in a third robbery—which seems likely, given their luck, he said. He said he was saddened that his sixyear-old granddaughter had to face the gun again after having witnessed her father getting shot. John admitted that he, too, still had not come to terms with his son’s death. “I still feel like he is around me,” he said. John said he could not help but wonder why he was robbed of his son. A memorial service was held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Russel John’s murder. On May 17, Jurawan-John was at her Saddle Vale home with her children and two friends when an SUV pulled up outside the house. Three men alighted and announced a hold up. The men—one masked and two others unmasked—made off with several thousand dollars’ worth in cash, jewelry and electronics, but not before assaulting another woman, who was in the house. The vehicle was recovered at Aucono Road in Maracas soon after. Two men are awaiting trial for John’s murder.




Indo-Caribbean Times

Police and soldiers break the law in record numbers C

rime is reaching record breaking numbers in Trinidad and Tobago, and not just by criminals. Police and military officers are being charged with criminal offences almost every day for offences ranging from kidnapping to sexual assault to simple robbery. The Indo-Caribbean Times reviewed crime reports for the last month and found a worrying trend of law breaking by the guardians of the law. Some examples are: Woman police officer Choylin Salvary, 36, was charged with attempting to defraud the Telecommunication Service of T&T (TSTT) of $30,629.50 worth of mobile phones.t is alleged that Salvary and the two others pretended the T&T Police Service, Finance Branch, requested and authorised them to order and receive cell phones from TSTT. Cpl Nirmal Ramjattan and PC Kilson Wynn appeared in court charged with robbing a baker of more than $160,000 worth of items. They were charged with robbery with violence under the Larceny Act. Corporal Nirmal Ramjattan, 35, along with Constable Kipson Wynn, 32, are accused of beating and robbing businessman Horace Seedansingh, during an incident at Seedansingh's, Bowen Street home, in Tunapuna on April 6. The duo were part of the Tunapuna Police Station's elite anti-crime control unit. The detectives are alleged to have stolen more than $165,000 worth of items from Seedansingh, including $90,000 in cash and a $70,000 Nissan Almera. Three police officers attached to the Tunapuna Police Station have been charged with robbing a businessman who had just won $80,000 at the Grand Casino in Valsayn. They followed the man as he went home, beat him to get his personal identification number and bank card, and withdrew money from the man's account. A security camera at the ATM caught the crooked cops in the act Two soldiers from Teteron Barracks and Camp Ogden were arrested on Saturday night and charged with kidnapping a 19year-old man. The victim, Jerome Raymond of St Joseph was at his home on Saturday, when two men stormed his home and forced him into a waiting car. Raymond was robbed of his cellular phone, cash and jewelry. Raymond managed to jump out of the car and made his way to the St Joseph Police Station where he lodged a report. An all Points Bulletin (APB) was issued and the car with the suspected kidnappers was intercepted at Riverside Road in Curepe at about 10 pm.

Women warned to wear less jewelry in Port of Spain

Women visiting Port of Spain have been asked to temper down on the amount of jewelry they wear, so they will not attract the eye of bandits prowling the city. ASP Glen Hackett, of the Criminal Investigation Department, made the plea after a woman was robbed of her jewelry on Independence Square. The thief was caught on Henry Street moments later. "People should not make themselves too conspicuous by wearing an exorbitant amount of jewelry. This essentially makes you a target for bandits," Hackett said. Alocal newsaper asked various women in downtown Port of Spain what they thought of the ASP's advice. Most agreed, stating that they had already reduced the amount of jewelry they wear in public.

Killers took vacation during last elections

Cold statistics have confirmed the suspicion that criminal gangs deliberately took a murder break during the last general election and then went back to business once the election was over. Opposition politicians here have claimed that criminals supporting the ruling PNM party phased down activities during the campaign to benefit the PNM. Police statistics show there was a dip in homicides in Trinidad and Tobago last November, when the last general election was held, and in December, only to be followed by a disturbing 81 per cent increase in homicides from January 1 to June 11. Figures showed a steady rise in the number of homicides from around February 2007 to September 2007, when the election campaign started. Then came a dramatic fall just before, during and immediately after the November 5, 2007 general election. The graph also shows an equally dramatic 81 percent increase in homicides from January 1, 2008 to the middle of June. From January 1 to June 11, 2008, there were 226 homicides, as opposed to 125 during the first months and 11 days of 2007. More than half of those homicides, 59 per cent, for the first six months of 2008 were gang related, 11 per cent due to robberies, nine per cent due to altercations, six per cent due to domestic violence and five per cent classified as drug related.

JUNE 2008

Page 5

Rice mill sold as Sprint Airlines farmers gear up opens up route to Ft. Lauderdale to plant rice

Rice farmers were in a quandary last weekend after they learned the National Flour Mills had put its rice milling operations at Carlsen Field, Chaguanas up for sale. More than 150 farmers occupying 100 acres of land running from Clarke Road in Penal to Valley Line, Barrackpore had already invested in land preparation to resume rice cultivation after 10 years.

Pankaj Ramlochan said that he had ploughed five acres of land and awaited rice seeds imported from Guyana.

"Farmers have been meeting and making plans to get back to the lands again," he said adding that following the harvest of rice, farmers planted bodi, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber and other short term crops as their parents and grandparents had done before them.

"Our homes were always filled with food and our gardens were our pride and joy," he said adding that he missed the days when farming was a way of life. Nimchan Ramoutar said that farmers suffered anxious moments as they searched for rice seeds. "Just as we managed to get the seeds, we hear about the sale of the milling operations," he said.

He said that Penal farmers had ordered 5,000 pounds of rice seeds that would be arriving from Guyana soon.

Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture said that NFM received $400,000 a month from government to keep the rice mill open. NFM manufactures and sells flour, soybean meal, rice and oils and is listed on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange with 51 per cent of its shares held by National Enterprises Limited. According to market experts, the rice mill is valued at $14 million. Sale of the rice milling operations were advertised recently in the daily newspapers.

Water taxis ready by August

Passengers using the water taxi service in Port of Spain will be temporarily housed at the Cruise Ship Complex until a proper structure is built specifically for the hub, says Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert. He added that prefabricated structures were to be erected near the Breakfast Shed to accommodate the passengers but until they are ready, the Complex will be used. Three of the four vessels, should arrive by the end of the month via a heavy lift ship, Imbert said. The fourth vessel, to be acquired by government for the service, is still undergoing maintenance and should arrive by July, the Express was told. "By August, all four vessels should be in operation," said Imbert. The water taxi service would allow members of the public the option to travel from San Fernando to Port of Spain via the Gulf of Paria.

A new airline has entered the Trinidad market, hoping to make it easier and cheaper for Trinis to fly to the US. Spirit Airlines, which already works in several destinations throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States, made its first flight to Trinidad last week. With a reputation of being a low cost carrier, Spirit which will make a weekly trip from Piarco to Fort Lauderdale, Florida will be in direct competition with state-run carrier, Caribbean Airlines, (CAL).CAL began flying to Fort Lauderdale last month, offering four weekly flights to the city in South Florida.Spirit currently flies of over 40 cities within the Western Hemisphere.

Abortions equal births at 18,000

Girls are having sex from the age of nine, and there are 18,000 abortions a year in T&T. There also were 18,000 babies born, with 7,000 of the mothers being teenagers. The claim came from gynaecologist, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, during debate in the Lower House of Parliament. He said Social Development Minister Dr Amery Browne could confirm the statistic, a claim Browne did not deny when he wound up debate on a Bill to Amend the Children’s Authority Act, 2000. The hospitals were flooded with women seeking treatment for botched abortions; some died, and the internal organs of some were so”damaged” they were no longer able to become pregnant. At Port-of-Spain clinics, ten out of 15 women seeking pre-natal treatment were teenagers; in other areas it was ten out of 25. He said the fathers were men in their 40s and 50s who were, in fact, guilty of statutory rape, but who escaped punishment. In many cases, he said, they were not even taking care of their offspring. The State should set in place a plan to identify these fathers and hold them responsible, urged Gopeesingh, UNC-A MP for Caroni East. He said the medical fraternity was shocked to see women aged 20 suffering from cervical cancer, and that was because they started having sexual relations from age ‘nine or ten.” He also lamented that infant mortality was not at first world standard,and children who grew up would either face the fate of being kidnapped,or would die or be injured in road accidents because the breathalyser was not in place.

Celebrate 2008 Centenary of Arrival of IndoCaribbeans in Canada


Indo-Caribbean Times

“It could be anybody” murders have Trinidad rattled

It’s not the gang murders or the family squabbles that lead to homicides that have Trinidadians uneasy. These things happen everywhere. But a rash of “it could be anybody” murders, some of them clearly innocent, is another matter. Today we look at a small sample of 21 such murders that have taken place in the last month to understand the problem.

PENSIONER LEFT TO DIE Harry Gokool, an 84 year old pensioner of Fyzabad, was killed on Father's Day by a man who entered his home and stabbed him, leaving him dying with a knife left sticking out in his right eye. Gokool saw the man on his property around 5 pm in the afternoon and as he tried to chase him away the man ordered him upstairs to his bedroom.On the way to his room a scuffle broke out and the man whipped out a knife and stabbed him several times in his chest and finally in his eye.

PAID THE PRICE FOR STAYING A Suriname businessman who invested in Trinidad and stayed despite an attempt by arsonists who tried to burn him out, has been murdered at the gates of his Chaguanas warehouse. Dalip Kalicka, 55, was shot dead last week by unknown gunman as soon as he stepped out of his car. They stood over him firing repeatedly into his body. Kalicka came to Trinidad several years ago and opened a PVC ceiling trading company. On April 19, his warehouse at Charlieville was set afire and most of his stock destroyed, putting 50 people out of a job and causing over $1 million in damages. But Kallicka stayed on and rented another building in Edinburgh to continue his business. He was planning to return home to Suriname the day before his death, and complained that someone was robbing him. PENSIONER SHOT IN BED An 86 year old Rio Claro pensioner Alvarez St Rose was shot dead in his bed at 2.00 am on Sunday June 10, when an unknown gunman opened fire from outside a window. Police believe the shooting stemmed from an altercation involving a relative of the murdered man and another man at a pub in Rio Claro the previous Friday. St Rose's grandsons Elon and Robert, Elon’s common-law wife Gloria and the victim’s niece Nicole escaped unhurt. KILLED ON MOTHER’S DAY

Winston Budhram, 28, a Petit Valley audio visual technician with the Parliament Channelwas fatally shot on Mother's Day when two bandits stole his life before they drove off with his car. Budhramwas seated in his car with a female work colleague outside her home when the bandits dragged Budhram out of the car and made him lie face down on the roadway. He was then shot once in his head. SCHOOLBOY STABBED AT 8.30 AM

Schoolboy Alonzo Pierre, 15, a form four student of the Barataria Senior Comprehensive School was fatally stabbed near to the Arima maxi-taxi stand, while waiting for transport to school on the

morning of May 15. A 16-year-old Servol student has been charged with his murder.

DRIVER KILLED AS WARNING Basdeo Chunin, a 66 year old bulldozer driver of St Helena Village, Piarco was shot and killed at his Beetham worksite at midday on May 21.Chunin was shot in the left thigh and right calf while operating the vehicle on the southern side of the Beetham Highway in the vicinity of the New Beetham Waste Water Treatment Plant. .Chunin reported before he died that "a young man cross the highway, walked up to the backhoe and shot him. Before running off the shooter said 'This is a warning'." SHOT FOR PAYROLL

Central contractor Surendra Bridgemohan was was killed near his home at Cacandee Road, Felicity, at midday on May 23, after leaving home with a bag of money to pay his workers. A car pulled across his path and two men shot him through the windscreen. His vehicle crashed into a drain and he died before reaching hospital. CHOPPED ASLEEP IN BED A Chaguanas couple janitor Anthony Charles, 39, and pre-school teacher Antoinette Nedd,40, were sleeping in bed at 4 am on May 24 when an unknown person broke into their home and chopped them both to death. Charles was said to have been in an argument with a man in Chaguanas earlier that night.

WATCHMAN FOUND TIED UP Moonsie Shadrack, 61, a watchman of Hope Road, Princes Town, was found dead by a co-worker at his workplace, Union Steel in San Fernando on May 24. His hands were tied behind his back and duct tape was placed around his mouth.

HANDYMAN’S THROAD CUT The body of handyman Deonarine Lata, 31, was found in an empty lot behind the Roti King businessplace on St Vincent Street, Tunapuna on May 24. His throat had been slit from "ear to ear".

PENSIONER KILLED WITH ROCK Knolly "Papa" Nicholas, 75. a marac player who played alongside the legendary Daisy Voisin and famous parang group La Divina Pastora, was murdered, after a rock was bashed into a head repeatedly and he was left to die at the side of the road in Mendez Village, Siparia, on the night of May 23. He had left a Siparia bar which was being closed at 9 pm because of acts of vandalism by a another patron. It is believed the drunk patron followed Nicholas and assaulted him with the rock. CHILD SLASHED WITH KNIFE

Eight year-old Hope Arismandez of Chase Village, Chaguanas, was killed May 27 by a man she loved as a father. She had a knife slash across her throat, a stab to the back of the head, and a blunt object was used to pound her on the head-the injury that killed her. Hope's mother, Sherma Rajoon, 48, said she never believed the man was capable of such evil.

KILLED MAKING HIS COMMUNITY SAFE Coniel Providence, a Laventille based a liaison officer with the Ministry of Community Development, was shot dead near his home on June 1 after collecting a questionnaire about crime in his area. He was trying to make Laventille safer but was accused of being a police informer.

SHOT DEAD IN BED San Juan clothing store businessman Marlon Edwards never woke up from a sound sleep in his bed at Santa Cruz at 12.45 am on the night of June 3. Masked gunmen kicked down the door and without asking a question, shot dead the 33-year-old man, before robbing his wife who was sleeping next to Edwards.They took Edwards's life and $4,000 in cash and jewelry. BABY AND DAD KILLED IN TAXI

Five month old baby Zion Jones, died from gunshot injuries on June 7, along with his father, Anthony Jones. Zion was shot three times about the body. Father and son were seated in a car around 7.45 p.m. at Pump Trace, Laventille, awaiting the driver of the car who had gone into some nearby bushes to urinate, when two men approached the car and started shooting. The shooters then ran off. MISTAKEN IDENTITY A 22-year-old maintenance worker Patrick Dedier was shot at Raymond Street, Carenage, on the night of June 4 after leaving a nearby parlour where he had bought bread. Police believe this was a case of mistaken identity .

KILLED TO SEND A MESSAGE THE relatives of a Diego Martin resident Mark Edwards man were ordered to watch as three masked gunmen fired four times into his body on June 6. A shoot-out between local gang factions occurred on Friday, and one group went into the other's territory. When they could not find who they were looking for they pounced on Edwards, "to send a message" to their rivals. KILLED NEXT TO POLICE STATION

In the back seat of his car parked outside the family's home in Couva, businessman Riaz Majeed, 28, was shot multiple times on June 6 by people brave enough to murder within sight of the police station. At least 14 bullets were fired at the car rental businessman. RAPED, KILLED AT WORK PLACE

Nicoline Churaman, a 38 year old Forestry Division worker, never returned from work on June 4 after being dropped off by her husband Judson Reid. She was found with her face bashed in with a boulder in the forested, raped and murdered. Reid dropped heroff at the regular meeting point forworkers, eith colleagues only a few minutes away. She was found by the sound of her cellphone ringing in her backpack.

Naail never thought he would be kidnapped JUNE 2008

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Rafie Mohammed shows a picture of kidnapped nephew Naail Ali


oung Naail Ali was kidnapped in front of his father's Gasparillo furniture business on bright and early around 8.30 am on June 10. Naail, 25, who was the manager of the A&S Furniture Store was on hand to open the store for business when three men pulled up in a white station wagon, grabbed him, bundled him into the car and drove off. His uncle Rafie Mohammed said: "He never thought he would be a kidnap victim. He was a real hard worker and always felt such a thing could not happen to him." He was wrong. Kidnapping has declined but not died.

Schoolgirl Amrika released after $70,000 ransom paid

Kidnapped schoolgirl Amrika Ramdial was released on May 27, six days after her kidnapping, and police said $70,000 was paid for her freedom. Ramdial was let out of a car in St Helena, a village near the Piarco International Airport. Amrika, a pupil of the Holy Faith Convent in Couva, was walking near her home at Gaston Street, Chaguanas, when she was snatched by four men.A $1 million ransom was demanded. Amrika is the daughter restaurant owner Allison Squires-Ramdial and dry goods wholesaler Geewan Ramdial. Police said Amrika appeared to be in good health.




Sat: Govt. killed agriculture to destroy Indo-Trinis


ecretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Sat Maharaj, has charged Government with killing agriculture to destroy the Indo-Trinidadian people. "Government has destroyed the rice and sugar industry and has failed to give support for food crop producers. That is why Trinidad and Tobago is on the verge of starvation," he sharged.. He said that a month before Emancipation Day, Government had announced a grant of $3.3 million to the African-Trinidadian community, but had failed to provide for Indian Arrival Day celebrations yesterday. He said not a penny was received by over 300 groups celebrating Arrival Day. "A suppressed people becomes an inventive people," he said adding, "if they don't give us, we will put our hands in our pockets." Maharaj called on Government to give a subvention to poor parents to feed their children instead of the provision made in the school feeding programme. He also called on single parents not to depend on the State to support their children. "There are single parent mothers with six and seven children working in the fields and selling in the market to feed, shelter and educate their children," he said. Maharaj also questioned why the AfroTrinidadian community was not celebrating Indian Arrival. "The Indo-Trinidadian forms 42 per cent of the population and it is time for the rest of the nation to rise above race and religion to pay tribute to the people who came," he said.

Indo-Caribbean Times

Indians still face discrimination in jobs and housing

Valmiki Maharaj and the BVS group perform a poem in song at the Library

Library celebrates TT’s Indian poets

A day of Indian poetry, song and dance was held at the National Library in Port of Spain as NALIS focused on the celebration of Indian Arrival Day. Men, women and children came out to listen and learn about their ancestors, culture and heritage. They heard stories, poems and songs about the journey the early Indians made on the Fatel Razack; their struggles and triumphs for peace and equality. The Indians brought their food, dance, music and art to these islands. Roti, doubles, pholourie and several spices they brought over from India have definitely given us things that we have grown to love. The library also recognised the achievements made by Indo Trinidadians and Tobagonian poets. Contributing to the diversity of our twin island, the Indian community celebrated their arrival to Trinidad’s shores 163 years ago on May 30th. They are also celebrated 85 years since the first Indo Trinidadian poet Leslie Sankersingh got his first poem published 1921. The audio/visual room at the library was transformed into a visual feast with tiny lights, a unique display of running water and brightly coloured cloths that made the stage come to life.

Oppostion Leader Basdeo Panday, in an Indian Arrival Day address at the Couva Recreation Ground, Couva, said that said that Afro-Trinidadians do not want to remember the day they came to this country. “Africans came here as slaves, they hate the day they arrived here,” said Panday as he commented on the impact slavery had on thousands of Africans who came to Trinidad before Indo-Trinidadians. Indians arrived here on the Fatel Razack on May 30, 1825 and since that day indentured labourers and their descendants contributed positively to society in every aspect of public life, from governance to the home. Panday said Indians are still being discriminated against in public service jobs and housing. He criticised the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) for attempting to change the name of “Indian Arrival Day” to “Arrival Day”. Panday said it was mainly Indo-Trinidadian groups who fought for a long time for the recognition of East Indians before May 30 was granted as a public holiday. “Such is the hypocrisy of the PNM,” Panday said as he told the audience gathered under tents that Trinidadians must re-commit themselves to fight against discrimination. Ramnath also told the crowd he knew two Indo-Trinidadian families who have said they plan to migrate to Miami because of the high crime rate. Panday gave out several gifts, mainly to elderly women of East Indian descent, who raised large families in Couva.

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ASJA: Monitor children’s music

Parents were urged to protect their children yesterday at the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association’s (ASJA) fourth Indian Arrival Day celebrations held at Charlieville. “Parents hold on to your children,” was the message brought by Sheikh Majid Ali, a member of ASJA’s Indian Arrival Day Committee and co-ordinator of a popular Islamic radio programme called “Islam in Focus.” He advised parents to protect their children and to carefully monitor the music that they listened to on the radio, since music influenced behaviour. Ali condemned chutney music as a medium that promoted alcoholism and other “haram” or forbidden behaviour. He, however, commended radio stations that still held to the musical traditions that the ancestors of the Indian community had brought with them. He highlighted the historical evolution of the Indian community in TT, as indentured immigrant labourers who once sustained the prosperous sugar industry in the country, to a mobilised, educated group in society. President general of ASJA Haji Yacoob Ali said the celebrations were also an opportunity to “pay tribute to those who came,” The Indian Arrival Day celebrations started at 10 am and included a range of activities. There were several booths selling traditional East Indian clothing, food, ornaments and other items. ASJA primary and secondary schools were also given the opportunity to display art and craft items related to the arrival of the Indian community in TT. Atiman Ramjohn, who is 104, received a special award.


Remember Enmore martyrs Guns found at Goat Farm J

ust after sunrise on the morning of June 16, 1948 sixty years, five sugar workers were brutally shot to death at Enmore Estate in Guyana as they were demonstrating for better working conditions, fair wages, and for the recognition of a Union of their choice. The five workers who died became known as the Enmore Martyrs. They were Lallabaggie and Dookie from Enmore and Rambarran, Harry and Pooran from Enterprise/Non Pariel. One worker was shot in the back as he tried to flee from the scene. There were also fourteen other workers who were seriously injured. It was not the first time in Guyana's history that sugar workers were killed whilst demonstrating for better working conditions. The first incident occurred in 1872 at Devonshire Castle where five workers were gunned down by Colonial Police. In 1896 the Police shot five workers and seriously injured several others at Non Pariel. In 1903 eight workers were killed and seven injured at Friends, and in 1913 at Rose Hall, fifteen were killed and thirteen wounded. These shootings all occurred on individual estates where workers resorted to strikes and demonstrations in order to force the Sugar Estate owners to improve the working conditions. These prior incidents were not part of an industry wide action as was the case of the 1939 shootings at Leonora and the 1948 shootings at Enmore. In 1939 sugar workers at several estates went on strike as a last resort in order to influence the sugar estates to improve their working conditions; however, the strike and demonstrations were suppressed when police brutally shot five workers and injuring several others. After the 1939 death of the sugar workers, a collective bargaining agreement was put into place recognizing the Manpower Citizens Association (MPCA) as the representat iv e union for the field workers and the Guyana Labour Union (GLU) as the repreÂsentative union of the factory workers. Workers were dissatisfied with the representation they were receiving from the MPCA. On many occasions the MPCA sided with the Sugar Producers Association (SPA) in industrial disputes instead of fighting for the cause of the workers. Eventually, a new union was formed to represent the workers in their efforts to secure better working conditions. This new union, the Guyana Industrial Workers Union, (GIWU) was more vigorous and militant in representing the workers' demands and campaigned to win the support of the workers . The SPA instead continued to recognize the MPCA and did not want to meet with the GIWU. In 1948 the SPA introduced a system of "cut and load" as opposed to the original system of "cut and drop". In the "cut and drop" system one gang of work ers cut the cane whilst another gang loaded the cane into the punts for the factories. In the "cut and load" system the same gang that cut the cane had to also load the cane into punts for the factories. This new system which was introduced without consultation with the workers involved greater physical effort and was very strenuous, especially for older workers. This system would also facilitate a significant decrease of the work force needed for harvesting. The sugar workers represented by the MPCA were encouraged to try the new system if wages were fairly increased , however the SPA would not agree to a fair rate of pay to compensate for the additional

Indo-Caribbean Times

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belonged to massacre gang

Memorial to the Enmore Martyrs located in Guyana work so the workers had no alternative but to go on strike. The MPCA advised the workers to return to work whilst the GIWU encouraged them to continue the fight for the right to receive fair wages. The workers saw the GIWU as the only Union that was interested in fighting for their welfare; so they started to swing their support en mass towards the GIWU. At this critical time the workers intensified their efforts to secure the recognition of the GIWU as their representative union. The strike spread to most of the estates and climaxed at a huge demonstration at Enmore on the morning of June 16, 1948, where colonial police opened fire, thus killing five workers and injuring fourteen others. The Enmore Martyrs became forever etched in Guyana's history. Two years before the Enmore Martyrs inciÂdent, the political landscape of Guyana had started to change with the formation of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) headed by Dr. Cheddi Jagan, the son and grandÂson of indentured sugar workers. Dr. Jagan and his wife, Janet, had just returned from the USA and had initiated a gigantic effort to improve the social, economic and p olitical conditions of the working people. Dr. Jagan joined the MPCA but was disgusted at the corrupÂtion and hypocrisy that he saw within that union. He was instrumental with Dr.J.P.Latchmansingh and others in forming the GIWU to secure better working conditions for the sugar workers and also with his wife and political partner Janet, Joycelyn Hubbard and Ashton Chase formed the PAC to fight for political reforms. At the time of the strike in 1948 Dr. Jagan was the elected representative for the East Demerara District #6, having been elected to the Legislative Assembly as an Independent in 1947. Dr. Jagan and Mrs. Jagan were involved in the strike. They knew the workers who were slain. At the funeral a massive crowd was present and the procession was prevented from marching through Georgetown. The martyrdom of the workers at Enmore influenced Dr. Cheddi Jagan into making that solemn pledge th at he would not rest until his people were free from colonial bondage. The PAC was the forerunner of the People's Progressive Party (PPP) which became the vanguard of Guyana's struggle for indeÂpendence, and the GIWU became the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) which is today the recÂognized union of the sugar workers in Guyana. The martyrdom of the workers at Enmore and other estates must never be forgotten.

Police have said that one of the two rifles found on two gunmen shot dead at Goat Farm in the interior belongs to the army and were used in the Lusignan and Bartica massacres. The lawmen also disclosed that four men accused of harbouring the country’s most wanted man, Rondell Rawlins were arrested in a house in Linden on Tuesday. Police also confirmed yesterday that the two dead men whose bodies were flown out from the interior to Georgetown on Tuesday were positively identified by their relatives yesterday - one of them Robin Julius Chung called Chung Boy was only 15. His partner in crime Cecil Ramcharran called ‘Uncle Willie’ is said to be 54. In a press statement the police disclosed that following investigations, four men were on Tuesday arrested in a house at Retrieve, Linden, on suspicion of harbouring Rawlins. The police said the men are in their custody assisting with the investigations. Officials believe that Rawlins and his gang had spent time in the mining town after the January 26 slaughter at Lusignan and used Linden as a launching pad for the February 17 Bartica massacre. They were in Linden several weeks following the Bartica killings, before moving deeper into the dense jungle at Christmas Falls, located some 300 miles in the Upper Berbice River, the source contended. Meanwhile, using ballistic tests, police said they were able to link the two AK- 47 rifles recovered from Cecil Ramcharran and Robin Chung at Goat Farm, Berbice River, on Monday to the killings at Lusignan on January 26, 2008 and at Bartica on February 17. One of the weapons they said is the property of the Guyana Defence Force. The rifle was stolen during an ambush of a team of soldiers by armed men at Buxton on Jan-

uary 23, 2008, where Corporal Ivor Williams was shot and killed. The police said the weapons were also used at the robbery/murder at Triumph, ECD, on December 16, 2007, where Fazal Hakim and Rajesh Singh were killed. Ballistics tests are still being done on exhibits collected at other scenes, the release added. Police had linked the two massacres to the Buxton/ Agricola criminal gang being headed by Rawlins and a diary left behind when police first confronted the gunmen at Christmas Falls two weeks ago reportedly bore details of Rawlins planning and executing the massacres for the alleged abduction of his teenager child mother. Reports are that following the June 6 shoot-out at Christmas Falls the gunmen numbering over ten split up into two groups. One of the groups was headed by Ramcharran and was intercepted following the hijacking of a minibus on the Aroaima trail on Monday morning. Rawlins and another group of gunmen are said to have headed in another direction. On June 6 members of the joint services responding to intelligence reports that Rawlins and his men were hiding out at Christmas Falls some 300 miles up the Berbice River, descended on the forested area. Once there they came under fire from around seven men, one of whom was Fifee who was shot and killed. The other six men, including Rawlins however managed to escape leaving behind a cache of arms and ammunition, some of which have been confirmed by police as having been stolen from the Bartica Police station the night that community came under siege by gunmen. They had foodstuff to last several weeks in a large kitchen, which also had a gas stove, generator and solar energy. In addition, there were six portable tents, four hammocks, three mattresses and other supplies.

Guyana starts driving Chinese JAC cars GUYANA NEWS

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds (third from right) and CEO of National Hardware Eddie Boyer (second from right) and others inspecting the new JAC vehicles.


uyana has started importing Chinese made JAC motor cars, which are being sold at affordable prices to Guyanese customers, with single and double cab pickups costing about $1.9M ($9, 826 Canadian) duty free. SUVs and freight trucks cost about 2.6M duty free, equivalent to $13,447 Canadian. The vehicles are fitted with Isuzu and Toyota engines. Minister of Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad was optimistic that the vehicles will be sold “like hot cakes,” as they are already popular in Colombia and neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

Helping 30, 000 single parents

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has already received over 30,000 single-parent registration forms from across the country for use in its $100 million program to help vulnerable singe parents.Minister Priya Manickchand said the data collection should be completed in another month, and then government will be able to see what kinds of interventions that are needed and who are the neediest. It is hoped that the interventions made will put single parents in a better position to provide for their children.

Essequibo Tri-lake villages exploring agro-tourism

The Essequibo region in Guyana is moving ahead with an innovative agro-tourism package aimed as bringing in a new kind of tourist to the South American country. Government and the Inter American Institute for Cooperation (IICA) are working on a pilot project involving the the Essequibo Tri-lake communities of Capoey, Mainstay/ Whyaka and Tapacuma/St Denny. Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai said recently that agro-tourism ventures in the hinterland have great potential for rural villages and especially in empowering women. The Tri-lake communities for example have immense possibilities for organic pineapple and cassava production, craft making, culinary arts and the development of a heritage trail.

Online passport forms

Guyanese applying for the new machine readable passports can now access the application form online at the Guyana Police Force website. Immigration and Passport Offices across the country will phase out the sale of the forms at the offices over a period of time, a press release from the force said. The form can be accessed online at www.guyanapoliceforce.org.

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Jagdeo, Corbin Port Georgetown Guyana Times gets F in World launched June 5 finally meet Guyana's latest daily newspaper is the A top appointment in the Police Force Bank report Guyana Times, a $30 million US heavyand concerns about national participation in

‘…it still takes 35 days to clear customs and 11 documents were necessary to complete a transaction in 2007’ Several Caribbean ports, including Guyana’s, have received a failing grade in a global survey on seaports and customs effectiveness called the Logistics Performance Index (LPI), said the BBC in a report. The study was carried out by the World Bank and is contained in a report called titled “Connecting to Compete: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy.” The article said that of the 150 participating countries, Guyana, Haiti and Jamaica ranked at 141, 123 and 118 respectively. When contacted the Shipping Association of Guyana said that it is cognisant of the shortcomings in Guyana’s shipping. An official of the SAG, Ian D’Anjou, said that the body is discussing the report’s findings among its executive before a formal statement is issued. The BBC report said that the country with the highest ranking in the Caribbean was the Dominican Republic at 96. “However, seaports in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean countries and the Dutch and French Caribbean, were not included,” the report said. The report also ranked countries based on other indicators such as efficiency of customs operations, infrastructure, logistics competence, tracking and tracing and timeliness, among others and again Caribbean countries in general were ranked very low. The report highlights the fact that the region is failing in its efforts to develop a competitive supply chain framework, the article said. I n an analysis of the findings, Caribbean Central American Action noted that: “one of the most important reasons noted for the low performance of the region is the lack of efficient customs practices in the region.” According to the BBC report, its Executive Director, Anton Edmunds told BBC Caribbean that as it relates to logistics - the actual movement of goods in and out of the region - the Caribbean ranks relatively low. He said one of the areas of under performance was the (lack of) speed in which “goods are loaded, off-loaded, customs cleared and get into the market-place. “It’s really where it shows the region is deficient,” he pointed out, according to the article. According to another World Bank report: “Doing Business 2008” although Guyana has one of the lowest costs to import a 20foot container, compared to other countries within and outside of the region, it still takes 35 days to clear customs and 11 documents were necessary to complete a transaction in 2007. In the same report, Jamaica has one of the highest costs to import a container of similar size despite the country’s recent upgrade in customs technology and developing its infrastructure. The article said that although the number of documents necessary for imports were almost half that of Guyana, it still took at least 22 days before the shipment can be released from Jamaica’s customs. The slow customs clearing process – from the wharf to the customs house processing – remains a bugbear among businesses.

weight that is sure to shake up the media world in the South American nation. The Times was launched June 5 at an eleborate ceremony in Georgetown that was attended by President Bharrat Jagdeo and many other powerful figures in the country. Queens Atlantic Investment Inc is the parent body for the paper, which comes with a modern press capable of (QAII) launched the publication together with a modern full colour press that can also handle commercial printing jobs. Guyana Times is selling at $50 for the daily edition, and a Sunday edition is in the works. President Jagdeo welcomed the new paper, saying there was room for a “serious” newspaper, one that can be critical, truthful, fair and sees public officers as fair game “but a paper that stays away from scurrilous attacks on people.” He said that for too long “we have feasted at that table.” “It is not enough to criticize the ills in society…I hope the newspaper recognises the good in the country,” he said, adding that the efforts of people should not be sacrificed on the altar of sensationalism. “I think people with a corporate interest will benefit from a country that is viewed in a positive light,” Jagdeo said. Chairman of the Board of Directors at QAII Ramroop Ramnarain said that the company recognised that there was need for a different publication. “This is why we made a conscious business decision to publish a new newspaper,” he said.

Carifesta were among matters President Bharrat Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition Robert Corbin discussed this week.. The two leaders met at the invitation of President Jagdeo at the Office of the President. Corbin told the media after the meeting that, “We discussed some matters related to the service commissions, one of them was an appointment in the Police Force, details of which I would like to discuss when I have formal communication on it.” Asked whether the appointment was that of a Commissioner of Police, given the current acting appointment of Acting Commissioner of Police Henry Greene, Corbin would not elaborate except to say that “when one gets an indication of what one is thinking the other gets the opportunity to think on it. I am at that stage.” He added that consultation in the context of the Constitution requires certain procedure.”Greene was appointed Acting Commissioner of Police in July 2006. As PNCR leader, he said that he also took the opportunity to discuss the subject matter of the party’s recent marches and demonstrations and the devastating effect of the cost of living and the relief of measures needed to be put in place to stem the high food prices. He recommended the reduction of the Value Added Tax, relief for pensioners, relief for vulnerable persons, and special intervention to cushion rising fuel and transportation costs.

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Mortgage life insurance not always a sure thing I

f you have a mortgage on your home, chances are good you also have mortgage insurance. The idea is that if you should become seriously ill or die before paying off the mortgage, the coverage will kick in and pay it off for you. It’s meant to offer peace of mind and to reassure you that your family will be able to stay in your home if anything should happen to you. The reality falls a little short of that. The CBC's Marketplace investigation, we meet two families who bought the coverage and thought they were protected, only to have their claims denied when they became sick or died. In each case, the insurer said the applicant person had lied on their initial application form. It turns out a routine test at the doctor could be reason to deny your claim, if you don't mention it. Had a cuff inflated on your bicep? That counts as being tested for high blood pressure. The bank staffers selling mortgage insurance are unlicenced and rarely trained to explain the details and legalities of those insurance products. The result is people who pay premiums and think they are covered, only to realize later that they are not. How to buy insurance that really will protect you is simple. Be sure you qualify. There are many terms and exclusions associated with credit insurance policies. Learn what they mean and how they apply to you. Call the insurance company directly

Indo-Caribbean Times IMMIGRATION FORUM

(NOT the bank that sold you the coverage) for clarification about pre-existing medical conditions. Call your doctor to clarify details of any pre-existing medical conditions you may be concerned about. Know that you can get out. You usually have 10-30 days to review your policy after the initial purchase (this is known as a "cool-down" or "free look" period). If you have already purchased your credit insurance you can cancel anytime. Keep in mind, however, that you may lose premiums already paid. Shop around. Consider buying from a licensed insurance broker who will explore any medical issues upfront. Consider buying or topping up an individual life insurance policy to cover your mortgage. Know your coverage. You may already have adequate insurance coverage through your work or other policies. Insurance experts say it's better to buy one traditional insurance policy than purchase a number of small policies for a variety of products. Be sure you need it. The purpose of credit life mortgage insurance is to protect your loved ones from making mortgage payments if something were to happen to you. This type of insurance may not be applicable if you do not have any dependents who would need to keep your home if something happened.

Understand how lending works in the marketplace

By Ijaz Hosein

If you structure your financial life so that everything has to go right in order for you to stay afloat, you are asking for trouble. My goal is to empower families to take control of their financial lives when the going is good and to prepare for worst case scenarios.

The formula used by the lending institutions is fair and if we were to keep within the guidelines life would be less stressful. The two ratios that you would see a lot are the Gross Debt Service Ratio ( GDSR) and the Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR).

These are the guidelines used to determine how much of your gross income should be allocated to service your debts. Most lenders allow a GDSR of 32% and a TDSR of 40%. This means that a maximum of 32% of your gross income is allowed for mortgage (principal and interest), property taxes and heat and a maximum of 40% is allowed for this plus all other debt (credit cards, loans etc.). A family with gross income of $75,000.00 would be allowed $24,000.00 as the GDSR

and $30,000.00 as the TDSR. If property taxes is $3000.00 and heat is $1000.00 then $20,000.00 (1) will be allowed for the mortgage, however if you were to have $20,000.00 owing on your credit cards and a car loan payment of $600.00 per month then you would be allowed $11,600.00 (2) for the mortgage to keep within the guidelines. This means that in case 1 you can get a mortgage for approximately $270,000.00 whereas in case 2 this would only be about $160,000.00 (These numbers are approximate)

There are many lenders out there with a multitude of programs to suit every need. Some lenders allow a TDSR of 75% with no GDSR requirement, others allow stated income for self employed and there are equity programs where no income verification is required.

There are also numerous ways to structure your finances to maximize your borrowing power. Here is where you would sit with your broker or financial advisor and understand the various requirements and select the most appropriate product for your financial situation. Ijaz Hosein is a Financial Advisor with BoosterLink Financial Inc and can be reached at 647-401-1608

JUNE 2008

Page 10

Applying for Refugee Status- Part 1


By Balwant Persaud

nder the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, refugee protection is given to someone who is found to be a Convention Refugee or a person in need of protection. A Convention refugee is a person who, by reason of a well founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, (a)is outside each of their countries of nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of each of those countries; or (b)not having a country of nationality, is outside the country of their former habitual residence and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country. A person in need of protection is a person in Canada whose removal to their country or countries of nationality or, if they do not have a country of nationality, their country of former habitual residence, would subject them personally (a)to a danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture; or (b)to a risk to their life or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if (i)the person is unable or, because of that risk, unwilling to avail themself of protection of that country. (ii)the risk would be faced by the person in every part of that country and is not faced generally by other individuals in or from that country. A person needs to prove to the Immigration and Refugee Board that if they return to their home country their life would be in danger.

High gas prices will hit Caribbeans’ travel plans

Canadians across the country are expected to alter their travel plans this summer as gasoline prices continue to reach historic highs. Caribbean Canadians may find prices shooting up for flights to places like Guyana and Trinidad and affecting plans to visit relatives and friends in their home countries. A recent survey by CAA-Quebec found that 84% of its members are being affected by the high cost of gas at the pumps. The Quebec survey found 47% of the 2,711 respondents plan to reduce their number of vehicle trips, while 29% say they will choose a vacation spot closer to home. Only

They must also prove that the authorities or law enforcement agencies have failed in their duty to provide security to its citizens. Last November, I was successful in gaining refugee status for a Guyanese family of four because the State had failed to provide adequate security to its citizens. In that hearing, the panel member of the IRB, had this to say: “ Nations should be presumed capable of protecting their citizens. Security of nations is, after all, the essence of sovereignty.” In that case the claimant was threatened to be killed by rogue elements in the Guyanese society and the police failed to respond or arrest the accused elements. The applicant fled Guyana when justice was not given to him by the law protection agencies, namely the Police force. Another case where refugee status was granted to a Guyanese family involves a former ROAR Party member who was beaten by activists of the ruling PPP government. The police failed to arrest and charge the perpetrators of this crime. This was a clear case of political persecution. The positive decisions in many of these refugee claims is by no means an indication that Canada is now accepting Guyanese as refugees as a norm. Each case has to be proven on its own merit. Caribbean countries are not considered as refugee producing countries according to the UN Convention on Refugees but the Refugee Board in Canada would consider claims for refugee status if these claims have merits. The onus is on the applicants to prove that the state has failed to offer protection to them and that if they return to their country their life will be in danger.

Balwant Persaud is a Certified Immigration Consultant and a Member of The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants. For answers to your problems on this forum, send all enquiries to: [email protected] or call at 416-431-8845 and in Guyana: 225-1540 www.canadaimmigrationbpa.com 8% of respondents say they plan to visit another Canadian province and only 12% plan to travel to the United States. The Resorts of Ontario association is expecting fewer American visitors to the province this summer due to the high Canadian dollar and rising gas prices, but noted that will be offset by more Ontarians planning to vacation within the province. "Numerous Canadians will also be sticking closer to home this summer, due to rising travel costs," said Grace Sammut, managing director of resorts of Ontario. Airlines have imposed hefty fuel surcharges and this combined with the addition of an average of 10 to 15 per cent to the cost of North American flights could have an impact, experts say.. Food prices are rising, and whatever must move by truck or plane, which is just about everything.


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Indo-Caribbean Times

Page 12

Indian Arrival Parades liven TT A participant dances along the Debe Main Road, during the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Indian Arrival Day parade Eight churches were among the scores of religious and cultural groups parading throughout a number of districts in Trinidad in honour of the East Indian immigrants who first arrived in Trinidad 163 years ago. Councillor Kenneth Ragbir (Hindustan/Indian Walk/St Mary's) said villagers took time to pay their respects on Indian Arrival Day, to honour their ancestors who laboured night and day to build a better future for their children. "We walk in the footsteps of our ancestors and renew our vows to hold the dream," he said. Residents of the Mandingo and Realize Road Village Council took their Arrival Day parade on the village roads to the sound of tassa drumming. The parade started at Strivers Sports Club, Mandingo Road, and travelled to Realize Junction Road, Lengua Settlement, Sahadath Road and back to the residence of Cherry and Jello Hosein, where a cultural programme was held followed by a community lunch. Prominent businessman of the area, Nazaf Ali, delivered a feature address in which he went back to India to find out why the Indian came. "The Indians were being driven out of their country by the colonial rulers. They did not come to find a better living," he said. He said that "jahaji" (the brotherhood of the ship) bonded men and women in strong ties that resulted in the "pumpkin vine culture" that contributed to the history of Trinidad and Tobago.

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"We must cherish the gifts given to us by a people who practiced an extra-ordinary oral tradition and whose sacrifices gave us the inspiration to work hard and build a better country," he said. The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha banner was held high in one of the largest parades from several villages ending at Parvati Girls High School, Debe, Penal. Secretary General, Sat Maharaj, said the Indo-Trinidadians were walking for solidarity, unity, peace and prosperity. "We renew the vow to walk on the right path, never to forsake our brothers and sisters and to ensure that there was food as long as we stay on the land," he said. Councillor Nalini Roopnarine (Lengua/St Julien) celebrated at the St Croix Road Community Centre in Princes Town. She said that in honouring Indian ancestry, the people were stronger. "If you don't know or care who you are and where you come from, it is unlikely that you will know where you are going in life," she said. Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar hosted an Arrival Day cultural programme at her office ground in Siparia with music, song and dance. Indian Arrival was celebrated widely throughout Trinidad and Tobago throughout the month of May, with most of the major events coming near May 30, the anniversary of the arrival of the first Indian indentured immigrants on the ship Fath- al Razack in 1845. Some 143,000 indentured Indians came to Trinidad up to the year 1917.


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Indo-Caribbean Times

Monument to Guadeloupe pioneer

A prominent activist in the Indian cause, Henri Sidambarom,

is fondly remembered in the French territory..

Order of Canada to replace TT’s disputed Trinity Cross

This is the suggested design for the Order of Canada aimed to replace the Trinity Cross as Trinidad’s highest award. The design seeks to acknowledge the people, culture and flora and fauna of the country.

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New executive for Canadian Indo-Caribbean Association ( CICA)

Satya Jyoti Cultural Sabha took part in Luminato, a huge multicultural festival at Harbourfront in Toronto on Saturday June 14th, 2008. Satya Jyoti represented the Hindu community and portrayed the return of Ram and Sita from the forest. Ram, Sita and Latchman were dressed in their full authentic Indian costumes, they came in a beautifully decorated chariot accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the Satya Jyoti kids singing Chowtaal and the Diamond Cutz Tassa group. They were all part of a huge parade and the chariot and beautifully dressed participants were a big hit with the audience, especially the tourists who came by to take photos of Ram and Sita and the eye catching Chariot. The night was a huge success and this marks the second year that Satya Jyoti is a part of this increasingly popular event. Photo by Judy Gayadeen.

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HE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 50 PLUS AND SENIORS ORGANIZATION OF CANADA will be having their annual picnic Sunday 13th July 2008 at Earl Bales Park . The fun starts at 10.00am and goes to 8.00pm with games and activities for the entire family. For more information please call Farouk Hydal at 905-608-0239

THE TARIC ISLAMIC CENTRE in its continued effort of putting on various events for the Muslim community, is seeking volunteers who can assist with various projects and events. If you are interested in volunteering some of your time in the path of Islam, please reply to this email with the following infomation: Name: City where you live: Telephone Number: Cell Number: and reply to [email protected]. CARIBBEAN CHILDRE’S FOUNDATION holids its Sixth Annual Boat Ride aboard the Enterpsie 200 on Sunday July 6 is the annual TCCF boat ride. This year we will be boarding at the Cherry St. Dock. Tickets are $35, that includes lunch buffet and a gift for all TCCF supporters who come out to support this fundraising effort. All proceeds to towards helping sick Caribbean children obtain medical services. Contact Arvin Ross for tickets (416) 5609366 CARIBBEAN CHILDRE’S FOUNDATION Charity Garage Sale takes place on Saturday June 21 from 8.00 am to 3 pm at 160 Richvale Drive (at Bovaird), Brampton, For info contact Ramesh at 416-7407014

Indo-Caribbean Times

D’EDWARD VILLAGE DAY IS on Saturday, July 19, 2008 in Mississauga, Canada. Lots of activities are planned. Be a participant (not a spectator) & register for one or more events. * Come for the fun, Come for the lime * Picnic * Kite competition (bring a kite) * Raker competition (bring a raker) * Short-four cricket competition * Throw-in-the-ling competition Contact Fred Lall (Budhoo Lall) [email protected] 905-794-5423 or www.dedwardvillage

RAMAYANA FOR YOUTH SUMMER PROGRAM starts Monday July 7 - Friday July 11, 9 a.m. 12 p.m. Cost is $ 150.00 includes art materials This program will be implemented by senior University of Toronto students. who have have completed the third year Hindu Epic course.. This Summer the focus will be the first chapter of the Ramayana, namely the Balakanda. The divine teachings of the Ramayana will be made accessible to the today's generation utilizing innovative, interactive and hands-on teaching methods. More information will be made available at the Parent information session on Saturday June 21, 2- 5 p.m. Scarborough Civic Center. Interested persons can contact Professor Sudarshan of the University of Toronto at s 416 - 554 7564. or by email at [email protected] for info and to enrol.

CANADIAN CARIBBEAN BUSINESS NETWORK CLUB June meeting is at s Elite Banquet Hall at 1850 Albion Road, Etobicoke, ON M9W 6J9 at 7:00 PM on June 26th. This is a great opportunity to grow your business by networking with fellow entrepreneurs and business associates. Contact Devi Ram at Cell:416 207 0039.

JUNE 2008

Page 15

Families and individuals will be making offerings to God for the health and safety of the nation of Canada, under the direction of Sri Gopeesingh. After the satsangh we will stay on for a family day and picnic in the park (vegetarian and non-alcoholic). Come and join with Hindus from the GTA in offering heartfelt prayers for the nation on Canada Day and start a tradition of praying for our country on our national day. There is no cost to attend this satsangh, though gifts of canned food for the needy would be welcomed. For information or to contribute towards organizing this satsangh & hawan, contact Tenny Ramkissoon at 905-672-2138, or Ramnanan Gopeesingh at 416-261-6793, or Ram Jagessar at 416-289-3898. E-mail at [email protected]. We would appreciate a call if you plan to take part in the satsangh & hawan. On the day of the satsangh you can contact Gopeesingh by cell phone at 647-294-6793 or Ram at 414-554-3451, Tenny at 416-7885054.

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Massive clearance sale continues in the factory outlet (same location)

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Centenary celebration at the VCC ENTERTAINMENT

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Indo-Caribbean Times

Dialogue radio aims at Trinidad diaspora

Announcing a new weekly radio program planned with the Trinidad Diaspora in mind “Dialogue” airs every Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Power 102 FM in Trinidad, but is broadcast live on the internet at owww.power102fm.com. It plans to link callers from communities of our tt/Caribbean Diaspora with our national audience in Trinidad. The program started on June 4 and will run initially to December 31, 2008. Canadian Trinis can call into the program at 868-62POWER (627-6937) or check the internet site for a Canadian number to call. Host/Producer: Dr. Eugenia FrankllinSpringer has invited Trinidad and Caribbean diaspora people from all over the world to support the program. She says that “Many of our diverse population have settled in various parts of the global village, adapting to new homelands. Whether in English speaking countries, or non-English speaking countries, our people of Trinidad and Tobago, in particular, and the Caribbean, in general, are making significant contributions at varying levels in the societies they know as their home away from home. During “Dialogue”, to be aired on Wednesdays from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, listeners of 102 FM will hear: 1. from members of different ethnic communities here at home, about their history, national experience, and their representatives in the Diaspora*. 2. from community representatives in the Diaspora about contributions being made by members of their group in their adopted homeland and elsewhere; 3. discussion of issues of relevance to the Caribbean region. 4.from authority T&T/Caribbean region.



5. weekly summary of news from the Caribbean region and from the Diaspora.

Listeners would be granted the opportunity to call in to the program. This program attempts to address issues of mutual interest to the Diaspora and the homeland.

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JUNE 2008

Page 16

POET’S CORNER Coolie Mother By Professor David Dabydeen

Jasmattie live in brukDown hut big like Bata shoe-box, Beat clothes, weed yard, chop wood, feed fowl For this body and that body and every blasted body Fetch water, all day water like if the Whole slow-flowing Canje river God create Just for she one bucket.

Till she foot bottom crack and she hand cut-up And curse swarm from she mouth like red ants And she cough blood on the ground but mash it in: Because Jasmattie heart hard, she mind set hard.

To hustle save she one-one penny, Because one-one dutty make dam cross the Canje And she son Harrilal got to go school in Georgetown Must wear clean starch pants, or they go laugh at he, Strap leather on he foot, and he must read book, Learn talk proper, take exam, go to England university, Not turn out like he rum-sucker chamar dadee.


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Indo-Caribbean Times

JUNE 2008

Page 17

The British ‘caste system’ is Four year old Vrishni learns more prevalent than the Indian Hanuman Chalisa in Sanskrit NAVA-DURGA


By Edward Hamala n response to the letter by Roger Williams captioned “The Rig Veda does refer to caste” I thought I might share a few points with your readers. The Indian “caste system” that has so outraged Mr. Roger Williams, makes me wonder if he is equally outraged by the British “caste system” that is even more prevalent, although it is well hidden and “invisible” in the British and some European societies, where the nobility still exist, than it is in India today, where all noble titles have been abolished. I would like to ask Mr. Williams when ob jecting to birthrights why has he failed to raise the same objection to the British Nobility and the Landed Gentry’s birthright, inheriting their title, social status while they are also guaranteed perpetual political power by inheriting a peer-ship and a seat in the British House of Lords, the highest legislative body of the land? Few of us believe the existence of a truly egalitarian society in the west today or anywhere for that matter!When was the last time that Mr. Williams had a drink at the local pub with Lord Spencer? Or had tea with Prince Phillip? Did you know that the English nobility are distinctly noticeable by their education and grooming in institutions such as Wetherby, Ludgrove, and Eton or the Royal Academy at Sandhurst? They even speak a different language, the King’s English, free from colloquialism and dialects distinctly separating them, and distinguishing them from ordinary commoners, as soon as they open their mouths. May I also remind you that the Indian Social Structure as it was depicted in the Vedas Millenniums ago, made it an edict to leave Tribals and Adivasis alone and not to impose Hindu religion, culture or values on them.The word “caste” my friend is an English word! The Sanskrit word for “caste” is “Varna” and it means vocation or occupation and does not mean “caste” as it does in the English interpretation or translation of the term! Likewise, “untouchable” meant not to go near them, don’t touch them, don’t intermarry with them and don’t corrupt their culture don’t try to conform them. Leave them alone! The Eastern Indian social structure was designed that different castes served each other, each with a distinct duty to perform for the benefit of the whole of society. It was a farmer’s duty to teach his son to be a good farmer and the merchant’s to teach his son his craft, while the warrior was trained to be the protector and defender of all… It is also noteworthy that governance was the duty of the Kshatryas not to rule by whims and despotism as it was the rulers privilege in the “civilized west” but to rule in accordance with the Vedic principles. Yet the highest caste, above them all was not the Kings who were given the highest social position. It was the Brahmans who were the custodians of all the Vedic Sciences and knowledge and their duty was to teach and to preserve the knowledge of Vedas. The teachers, the priests, the doctors, the scientists and philosophers the poets and the writers were all Brahmans whose duty also included giving moral guidance to the Kings! It is simplistic to believe that a farmer or a potter would be capable to teach their children nuclear science or medicine

or the Vedas! This educational system assured the proper training and apprenticeship of all with a life time of gainful employment for all the participants. This, Mr. Williams, has established an interesting value system in India, alien to the west! The most valuable asset was not money or power as it is today in the western value system! It was knowledge and wisdom that took decades to learn and a life time to acquire! And it was the society’s duty to support the Brahmans to afford their study providing food, clothing and shelter to them. I am sure Mr. Williams is familiar with the existence of the “unwashed” wretched underclass in Dickens’s Britain or Victor Hugo’s France as it did exist in most of Europe……… Well, such a thing did not exist in India and these facts are well documented by historians all the way back to Alexander the Great’s visit to India and was minutely recorded by Greek Historians such as Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch and Strabo, accompanying Alexander. One thing these historians also commented on, was the absence of slavery that was an integral part of Hellenic culture! Today, most Indians are alienated and mostly ignorant about their culture, the Vedas and their history, and few understand the Vedic philosophy or its teachings or the highly advanced science it encompasses. They know little else about Hinduism, besides the ritualistic traditions. This Vedic social structure was put in place at the time when in the rest of the world slavery was rampant and pivotal to every European Empire! Don’t forget slavery was widely practiced in the United States until the Civil War to the 1860’s and desegregation only started in the 1960’s and the prejudices still exist until today. So I think, Mr. Williams your indignation is somewhat ill placed and perhaps it would serve a better purpose if you dealt with more dire social issues that you may be more knowledgeable about, and better qualified to deal with.

Ramayan Yagya at Divine Light Org.

The Canadian Hindu Divine Light Organization holds its 16th Annual Ramayan Yagya from July 13 to July 20, at the Hall of Peace, 80 Nashdene Road, Building B, Umit 207 in Scarborough. Nashdene Road is off Markham Road, north of the 401 and past Finch Avenue. Sessions start at 7.30 pm on Monday to Saturday and on Sunday July 20 they start at 9.30 am. Symbolic RamJanma Puja takes place on Wednesday July 16, Rameshwar Puja is on July 17 and Guru Purnima is July 18. Officiating are Pundit Dharamraj Maharaj and Pt. Vijay Maharaj, assisted by the CHDLO Kirtan Group. For further information contact Vidya Dindial at 905-619-9836 or Gurumai at 905-686-9784 or Ruma Mahabir at 416674-8999 or visit the web site at www.chdlo.org.

Four-year-old Vrishni Sanjanaa Maharaj has accomplished a feat that many people much older than her could not do-memorise the 40-verse "Hanuman Chaalisa" and numerous other Hindi and Sanskrit verses. The little pre-school pupil was honoured for her achievements during the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha's (SDMS) Indian Arrival celebrations at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port of Spain. Although she did not understand what the word "honoured" meant, she knew she was going to be the "queen", at least for a night. Daughter of Aneal and Indira, of Gulf View, San Fernando, Maharaj attends the Reading Rainbow pre-school. She dances with the Susan Mohip Dance School at the Krishna Mandir, Todd Street, San Fernando. She also sings, listens to stories,

swims, plays football and plays with her dolls. Nicknamed the "Jagriti Kid", Maharaj's voice is heard daily on Radio 102.7 FM reciting the Mantras (sacred verses) of the day or chanting the "Hanuman Chaalisa". She started reciting the mantras at the age of three, and by the time she reached her fourth birthday, she knew the 40-verse Chaalisa "by heart". Chatting with a Trinidad newspaper, Maharaj said: "I learn prayers from my mummy. And sometimes I teach my daddy." She also sings religious hymns (bhajans) and her favourite is "Jai Ganesh..." dedicated to the remover of obstacles. She is looking forward to learning new mantras, bhajans and going to "big school."

On worship with the murti By Swami Suryadevananda

One can realise God through worship of murti (or idol). The worship of the Lord in saguna (concrete) form is a great aid for vedantic realisation also, and for the realisation of the Lord in His all pervading, formless aspect. The worship of the murti is very essential for the purpose of concentration and meditation in the beginning . Such worship is not in any way a hindrance to the attainment of God consciousness. Those who vehemently attack murti puja (worship) are groping in the darkness of extreme ignorance. They have no real knowledge. They enter into vain debates to show that they are learned persons and have not done any sadhana (spiritual practice). Idle talking is their real profession. They have unsettled the minds of countless persons. The whole world worships symbols and murtis in some form or other. As one BHAGVAD GITA FOR EACH HOME Bulk distribution centres.

The Gita can be available in bulk at the following contacts: Donations are expected to fund further copies; any individual or organization wishing to assist in this project can contact us.

CANADA Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton Ramnarine Sahadeo 905 671 9233 e-mail [email protected], Omesh Sharma [email protected], Chandan Persaud at 416-754-2382, Gulcharan at 416 481-5777 [email protected], Ram Jagessar at 416 289 9088 or [email protected]

advances in meditation, the form melts into the formless and the aspirant becomes one with the formless essence. Empty vessels only make sound. A practical man who does meditation and worship, who is full of knowledge and real devotion, keeps always silence. He influences and teaches others through silence. He only knows whether a murti is necessary in the beginning or not. Prasada is `that which gives peace'. During kirtan (chanting), worship (puja, havan and arati), milk, sweets and fruit are offered to the Lord. Puja is done with bael (wood apple) leaves, flowers, tulsi (basil), sacred ash, and these are later given as prasada from the Lord. They are charged with mysterious powers, by the chanting of mantras (sacred hymns) during puja and havan (worship with the fire as the sacred symbol). RICHMOND HILL Omo Persaud at [email protected] 905-886-1724 Winnipeg: Ajodhya Mahadeo 204-661-6643

British Columbia Chameli Seegobin 604-945-9510, e-mail address [email protected], and Naraine Mohabir at 604-274-8938

GUYANA: Saraswati Vidya Niketan ph. 2760013/14

Heritage Day celebrations in an East Toronto School WORLD NEWS By Roop Misir, PhD

Students of Indo-Caribbean origin join with others to mark Heritage Day as our new country Canada recognizes and celebrates cultural diversity. During the month of May, Asian Canadians participated in events marking South Asian Heritage Month as well as Asian Heritage Month. This afforded mainstream Canadians with numerous opportunities to attend cultural shows and partake in sumptuous delicacies. Others simply did what their neighbors, friends or colleagues normally do —attire themselves in traditional Asian garb and join in the fun. In the greater Toronto Area (GTA), schools staged concerts featuring music, song and dance. Of course, the usual favorites (food) and costume (fashion) were present. As well, other aspects of culture such as art, craft and ancient technology were showcased. Sir Robert Borden BTI

Students and staff at Sir Robert Borden BTI are from culturally diverse backgrounds. Many hail from the Caribbean (including Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago); however, growing numbers also come from war-torn Afghanistan, and India, Pakistan and other parts of Asia including the Middle East. From Africa, students come from the Horn (Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia); from the East (Tanzania, Kenya), West (Nigeria, Ghana), and South Africa. It is said that the school serves as a microcosm for life in the community of East Toronto. Here, residents make effort to rediscover ‘culture’ and accept others for what they believe. At school, students are taught to show mutual respect, and to work together in peace and harmony as they learn to become contributing members of the greater society. Heritage Day Tradition at Borden

Usually, students and staff join with the community to celebrate cultural diversity every year. Like so many other schools in

South Asian Heritage Month (From Page 2)

The heart health booth produced by Dr Vivian Rambihar and Vanessa Rambihar also attracted wide attention and interest. Indo-Caribbean authors and their publications were also on display. There were also live karate and yoga demonstrations as part of the program with karate instructor Dr Harry Persaud, a 3rd Degree black belt in Matsubayashi Karate, pointing out that karate had its origins in India when Bodidharma took the art of selfdefense and Buddhist Philosophy to China 3000 years ago. He pointed out the word “kata” which is a stylistic series of karate exercises is related to the word “Kathak” an

Indo-Caribbean Times

the GTA and elsewhere, Sir Robert Borden used to celebrate “Heritage Day” before May was designated as South Asian Heritage Month and also Asian Heritage Month in 2001 and 2002, respectively. These celebrations provide opportunities for young Canadians to reflect on and appreciate things cultural—theirs and others, as well as those of the founding the British and the French pioneers (whose contribution are unquestionably exemplary and enduring). In recent times, the official celebrations of Asian Heritage is meant to be acknowledgement of the accomplishments and the growing prosperity of “newer” Asian Canadians (including Indo-Canadians) who may finally be getting well-deserved respect and recognition. Heritage Day at Sir Robert Borden

The theme for this year’s Heritage was “Culture through Art, Dance and Food.” For Heritage Day events, a group of dedicated Teachers and students spent long hours rehearsing dance items and carefully choosing costumes for the fashion show. The concert and displays were held in the school on May 29 2008. There were artifacts from many parts of Asia including Armenia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Philippines and the Caribbean. And of course, samples of mouth-watering delicacies provided a taste of the flavorful cuisine from these regions. Displays in the main foyer

Prominently featured were highly attractive and hugely popular posters—the work of ESL (English as a Second Language) students. Prior to coming to Canada, many of these students had been unable to attend school on a regular basis. For others, this is the first time they are attending school in a formal setting. Now with a new start at Borden, many of them are learning fast under the capable tutelage of dedicated teachers— Mesdames Mokabel, Anastasiades and Adamson. During Heritage Week, their carefully colored posters depicted life and culture in their former countries—far away from Canada. For fellow students, this provided a unique opportunity to gain information first-hand from the new young Canadians themselves. Other displays included writings from the Armenian language, posters of agricultural practice in the Philippines (e.g., terraced rice paddies), the Taj Mahal (one of the new wonders of the world), modern India on the move, and examples of ancient Indian construction technology—the kind that is still

Indian dance form. Yoga instructor Sanjeev Kumar also pointed out the values of yoga for health and well being. An authentic West Indian and Indian food bar complimented the exposition. One of the highlights of the cultural stage presentation which followed the exhibition was a keynote address by Nalini Mohabir, who is doing her PhD studies at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. She made an express visit to Toronto for this occasion and spoke on connecting peoples and places. She did her Masters at Ryerson University in Immigration and Settlement studies. A skit depicting the peer pressures that kids of immigrant families experience was also presented. It was written, directed and

being used in the construction of modern Hindu temples and other buildings. A wallsized photo depicted the world’s famous Swaminarayan Temple (New Delhi, India). During the concert afterwards, the screening of a 15-minute DVD highlighted its construction and universal appeal. BAPS Toronto Temple Featured

The BAPS Swaminarayan Temple Toronto opened its doors to the public on July 27 2007. It is located near Highway 27 and Finch Avenue, West Toronto. It was constructed using ancient Hindu technology and rules that predated the use of steel and nails. To construct this masterpiece, s o m e 2 0 0 0 craftsm e n u s e d Tu r k i s h limestone and Italian marble. The temple was built at a cost of $40 million, raised from members of the Hindu community worldwide. It shares its home with the Canadian Museum of Cultural Heritage of Indo-Canadians.. Surely, as a living example of cultural expression, this temple demonstrates that “Unity in diversity” is alive and thriving in Canada.

BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, Toronto (Opening Day) World Learning from Asia

As a percentage of world’s total, the combined population of peoples of Asian origin is over 50 %. The impact of the peoples of Asia are being felt world wide as Asians are now settled in almost every country of the world. Now Canadians may be recognizing is that the cultures of Asia were thriving long before the era of Lord Buddha (The Light of Asia), Confucius (The Great Teacher) and Mahatma Gandhi (World Famous Advocate of Non-violence). In these times, growing globalization, greater trade and more migration are collectively making the world a flatter place by the day. Is it accidental perhaps that this radical shift to recognize the contributions of Asian Canadians also happens to coincide with the emergence of new Asian powers like China and India? Perhaps, Canada is coming of age. performed by students of the Vedic Cultural Centre. Another highlight of the show was fashions of different regions of India produced by Ajit Wadhwa. A commemorative magazine was also launched at the show. For further information contact Norma Jainarine 905 472 3012, Nola Singh 416 748 1661 or Adit Kumar 647 866 1926.

SAMEER MISHRA WINS 2008 SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE CONTEST Thirteen-year- old boy of Indianorigin, Sameer Mishra, won the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee contest, beating 288 children in the 8 to 15 age

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Are Canadians becoming One Family?

There is an ancient Sanskrit dictum: "Vasudeva kutumbakam” which means, “The entire world is one family.” Yes, the history of India shows that it has always offered sanctuary to peoples from everywhere, e.g., Jews, Zoroastrians from Persia, and Tibetans led by the Dalai Lama. Yes, Canada may be living up to this noble ideal. It is seen as a place where anyone from everywhere can find a home. With an annual immigration intake of approximately 300,000, Canada is fast becoming a destination of choice as Indo-Caribbean and other peoples from far away lands come to this vast country to seek a better way of life. One consequence is a kaleidoscope of colors and cultures within the Canadian mosaic. Perhaps the policy of official multiculturalism is instrumental in allowing peoples of diverse backgrounds to retain their cultural traditions as they adjust to their new life here? Thus, as newcomers settle down to earning a living here, the pace of cultural change may be picking up. Before we know it, we may be rapidly moving closer together and become an integral part of the growing Canadian family. Thanks to celebrations of Heritage Days in schools like Sir Robert Borden BTI and elsewhere in the GTA, in community halls and elsewhere, Canadians are appreciating the cultures of Indo-Caribbean peoples and other newcomers. Like some multicultural countries of Asia (e.g., India) our new country Canada may be serving as a model of cultural accommodation and diversity for the rest of the world to follow.

(Dr. Roop Misir is an Indo-Caribbean Canadian who hails from Guyana. He currently teaches at Sir Robert Borden BTI. He wishes to thank Mr. Douglas Patterson (Principal), Mr. Duncan Leblanc (Vice Principal), members of Borden Heritage Committee, administrators and other staff, and students for their efforts to make this year’s Heritage Day celebrations a big success. Swami Nityavivek of the BAPS Temple Toronto kindly provided posters, brochures and bookmarks. You may contact Dr. Misir at [email protected]).

group. The 81st spelling bee competition was aired on the ABC television station on Friday May 30th. The magic word was "Guerdon", which means victory. The eight grader asked the judge for the definition of the word, and then confidently spelled it out correctly to the thunderous applause from the audience. It was a shining moment for Mishra, whose fourth time for the championship was the charm. He carted off not only the engraved trophy, but also $30,00 in cash and $2,500 worth of US savings bonds from Merriam-Webster with a complete reference library. He was trained by his elder sister Shruti, who herself is a spelling enthusiast. Mishra, from West Lafayette, Indiana, had his parents and sister stood proudly behind him as he was awarded the coveted trophy

My arrival story in Canada INDIAN ARRIVAL IN CANADA

Indo-Caribbean Times

Dr Deoraj Narine, Manshad Mohammed, Josie Dr Deoraj Narine

I came to Canada from Guyana on September 1st 1979 to attend Acadia University in Nova Scotia for an Msc in C h e m i s t r y. At that time you could fly from Georgetown to Trinidad, Bermuda and Halifax. I landed there all dressed up in this polyester suit and it was freezing cold in Halifax at the end of August. Halifax as you know is next to the ocean. I settled in there and it was quite nice but very, very cold. There was loneliness of course. If you were there you wished the plane would land and you could step out of there and fly back to Guyana. But it didn't happen. You know we have to live out our dreams. One of the funny things about conditions under colonialism is that you never see white people dig a drain. You never see them doing manual work. You see them riding on horse with cork hat or driving in jeep. The next day I was going to register at the university. There I was walking down Main Street in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and there was this white guy digging a drain. You may not believe this but I stood up for about three minutes staring at this guy. Believe it or not. It was embarassing! The guy came up to me and asked if something was the matter. I say no no no. It was so fascinating to see, here's a white guy digging a drain. But as a colonial I was totally brainwashed! I had never seen a white person digging a drain!Then you realize what was normal here wasn't normal in Guyana. That was one of my seminal short term experiences in Nova Scotia . Later on my family came down, my wife and two kids and we got a place to live. The average Nova Scotian was very friendly. One family gave us a plot of land to plant a small garden. The garden was so spectacularly successful we told the owners to pick as much as they wanted! During the fall myself, my wife and two kids picked apples and raspberries. We were paid per basket, but this was mostly for fun. I had a scholarship and my wife was doing typing theses for students. She was doing OK. One of the most amusing stories we had was on a trip to PEI with my visiting brother-in-law and his family. We rented a Crown Victoria car and we loaded everyone inside. They was eight of us , three kids and five adults. We drove to Bathurst, New Brunswick, took the boat to PEI and we got off at the Ferry in Charlottetown. We drove to Summerside and it was getting late. We were looking for a place to sleep and after some searching we located a bed and breakfast place. I went to the owners- two middle aged white ladies and asked if they had space. When the eight of us went in there these two people got scared. But they wanted us to stay because it was $125 for the night. They apparently wanted the money. But this was the first time they had

seen so many brown persons for the first time and they were a bit cautious. What was funny was that we had two little babies and every time the babies would get up these two ladies would come out looking to see if you use the spoon or the cup or anything like that. They thought we would walk away with the place. They seemed to wake for the whole night. Next morning they were so drowsy. In the morning we were given bread and butter and tea. We paid the $125 and repacked the car and were about to leave and you visibly see the relief on the faces of those ladies. We had a good laugh at the experience and moved on. We had this other experience when my son was a little baby and my neighbours, a white family, fell in love with this guy and they wanted to adopt him. And we say no, you can't adopt our child. They actually wanted to steal this boy and adopt him! So we had some problems there and had to make sure not to go to their place. It was really hilarious. These are some of the stories. Fortunately, I found the Nova Scotians were very friendly people, so we hadn't any of the racial problems you had in Toronto. When we were there we heard of problems with Paki-bashing and all these things we had to undergo. We have borne it with stoicism and we have overcome. Now we are a successful group of people over here and as people have said, you could put us anywhere and we will thrive. Because we are producers, we are creators and we will do things to make ourselves better. I finished the Masters and moved on to a PhD program at Dalhousie University. I've been in Canada since then.


The first time I came to Canada I was four years old. I came with my parents and my sister. I don't remember much about the beginning of these years except that it was cold. We lived at first on a house shared with more families than my mother can remember now.n We slept together as a family on the floor in a corner of the living room with my parents taking turns sleeping against the wall to keep the cold from getting to my sister or me- I remember the cold coming from the wall, I remember water drops on it and black stains. I remember living in a few basement apartments after that. I remember my mother always wanting a house, not an apartment. I remember the smell of the cold on her when she walked in the door after work. We didn't stay in Canada, but went back to Trinidad four years later. I came back four years ago to to to university. Being for the most part raised in Trinidad, coming back was a culture shock no one would have warned me enough about. In Trinidad I was and am- Indian. In Canada I am Trini- I look Indian but I don't speak Hindi or Urdu or Bengali- languages people come up to me speaking in the subway asking for directions. In Canada I'm Trini- I know chutney and dhalpourie. I don't know pakoras or eat yoghurt with most of my dishes. Here I'm

Trini. Now when I go home I know there's a difference between Trini and Indian. Today my sister is back in Trinidad in her final year of medical school. My mom is here with me again proudly waiting for my graduation ceremony from university in a few weeks - Honours BA in political science and economics. Everyone back home still thinks once you get to Canada life is easy- they don't know why Mom is so proud of my degree. They didn't see her work two jobs, they didn't see me work two jobs and go to school full time, they didn't see how much work and support to get just one degree. For now Canada to me is still a very hard place to live. People here are lucky now there is family and a Trini community to reach out to. But for me still it's too cold for too long a part of the year. For me still there's too much tying me to home for me to stay here. Mom will stay though- I think- she prefers to the cold to baking in the heat. She's educated two daughters through so we can afford to visit when we want to. She'll stay and work as she always has- soon enough she'll have her house.


On arrival in Canada there was this steel stairway that kept going up up up all the time. And would not stop. I said to myself ”what the hell” but stood there looking. Finally I got on and to my surprise was pushed off this end and I bump into this guy in front of me who fell. Like a true Trini instead of saying I'm sorry, I laughed my head off. The gentleman got up, look at me, smile and said , “Your first time - right? I was still laughing and he kept on walking.

Manshad Mohammed

What talk a lot about the migration from India to the Caribbean but what we should be thinking of is the second migration from Trinidad or Guyana to Canada. I remember when I was a little boy going to Piarco Airport on a school outing. That was the first time I saw the Canadian flag, the Maple Leaf, on a jet propeller plane called TCA . Trans Canada Airlines, eventually became Air Canada. But that dream I had as a little boy to come to a country where the Maple Leaf flag was waving never left me. I am a product of the Canadian Mission in Trinidad. The school was called the Canadian Mission primary school and then I went to a secondary school called Naparima College and then I became a teacher and went to Naparima Teachers College. So all this time I was with people who were Canadian missionaries who knew a lot about service and giving, I said to myself this country must have a lot of nice people that they would leave their beautiful country like Canada to come to a sugar cane plantation like where I lived. So when I was growing up and it was time to decide what I want to do for the future, my parents ask me why do you want to go away? I say for two reasons, I want to go to a university to get a degree and I admire those people over there. Next I wanted a social change. My father say social change? What is that? What is

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that going to get you? I couldn't give him more answer than that at the time but now I understand what I meant by a social change. It's not a knock on my past or my country or anything like this but those of us who are in a position to help make a difference by recording our history and encouraging our people and by motivatManshad Mohammed ing and stimulating interest in what we do. We should look at the broad terms and do these things We are so lucky that after 163 years we have kids here who are playing Indian music and understanding what they are doing and it is as strong as ever and as strong as it was when I was their age. That was the time when I was singing Jim Reeves. Now I have a greater love for Indian music than I ever had before because I am understanding it more. t is an interesting topic of discussion among Indo Canadians as to why they chose to migrate to Canada as opposed to England or the USA.In the 70’s there was need to get a visa to visit the USA but not to Canada or to the UK.Many young Indo Caribbeans went to the UK and were absorbed readily in schools for nursing,as a career.. They were provided with places to stay and with meals,for a nominal cost and were surrounded by friends and neighbours.My sister,Roma was one of those students who learnt her skills well enough to be called by the most prestigious name,”Sister,” which also was in line of being a Matron.She was married to an Englishman and has shown no interest whatsoever to return to Trinidad and Tobago to practice Nursing as she is now happily retired. My younger brother Harold was an Apprentice at Texaco in Point –a – Pierre . He became specialized as an Instrument Technician and was grabbed by Kodak as a full time Employee,upon his arrival in Canada.He remained there until his retirement.He was a Scout Master in T&T and continued to show leadership in Mississauga.He knew his prospective wife in T&T and that romance blossomed into marriage in Toronto . My plan in arriving in Canada was to get a University degree and head back to T&T and resume my career in Teaching which began with the Presbyterian School Board in 1959.I was employed at Hermitage Canadian Mission(CM) School,Picton CM School and later at Grant Memorial School in San Fernando.I also attended the Presbyterian Institutions of Naparima College and Naparima Teacher’s College.The years of contact with Canadian teachers and visiting Missionaries had a huge impact in my life and helped to choose Canada as my new home.The humility and caring of the Canadian Missionaries had a huge impact on me as I saw their genuine interest in educating people without any form of coersion or pressure,"To be one of them' this did not happen to a young man who liked to sing Jim Reeves songs together with Mohammad Rafi,Mukesh and others.I never had to become a knife and fork Indian. ( Cont’d on Page 19)

Curry leaf is a natural cure-all

Curry leaf is a a natural remedy in every way!!!! When you enter a South Indian home or restaurant, the lovely aroma that assails you is usually the lemony smell of fried curry leaves. The curry leaf is not only popular but an essential part of most dishes cooked in South India, and now, in many parts of Asia as well. These leaves are deep green in color and belong to the citrus family. They grow easily in a tropical climate. The leaves when fried have a unique aroma. Fresh green leaves are best; when unavailable the dried variety is used. The leaves are dried in the shade and stored in airtight containers when they dry to retain their flavor. Sometimes they are powdered and used in chutneys. Curative value

When a person suffers from digestive problems, the leaves are pounded together with cumin seeds and added to buttermilk. It works wonders. The buttermilk after a heavy meal helps digestion. When you feel sick because of a heavy meal the previous night, the buttermilk helps on an empty stomach. For severe nausea during pregnancy, one teaspoon of juice extract, mixed with one teaspoon of honey, or half a teaspoon of limejuice can work miracles. This can be used two to three times a day - depending on the severity of the nausea. A paste of these leaves can be applied as a poultice on burns and bruises. The leaves are also useful as a hair tonic. Add twenty leaves to a cup of coconut oil and heat the oil till the leaves turn black. Apply this oil to the scalp 2-3 times a week. This helps hair grow and also stops graying. When we come across a curry leaf floating in a South Indian dish, we nudge it aside - the next time it would be better if we chewed the leaf as it is said to control the cholesterol level in the body.

LCBO bans plastic bags in Ontario

Indo-Caribbean Times

We waste tons of food every day

Try to imagine 35,000 hulking African elephants barrelling down Yonge St., and you'll come close to picturing the quantity of food we throw out each year in Toronto alone. That's more than 210 million kilograms of food. Most of it edible. Much of it still in its original packaging. And that's just residences, the largest single group contributor to food waste. Try to conceptualize that others – food manufacturers, restaurants, grocery stores and commercial enterprises such as schools or hospitals – together discard even more. Food waste is taking on growing significance as food prices skyrocket. The sad stories of food shortages sparking crises and riots around the globe stand in sharp contrast to what might be considered a tragicomedy of the Western world: the incredible volume of edible food that is simply thrown away. A British study released this month provided perhaps the most comprehensive look ever at the problem of food waste. After analyzing the trash of more than 2,000 households, the study determined that more than 6.7 million tonnes of food, or about one-third of the food bought, is thrown out in the United Kingdom every year. A 1997 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found a similar result: 27 per cent, or 44 billion kilograms, of edible food is never eaten – about a half-kilogram of waste per person per day. (The data is currently being updated.) I n Toronto, the picture is not all that different. Single-family households each produce about 275 kilograms of food waste each year. Toronto's expanding organics composting program is capturing about 75 per cent of that volume. The rest, about 32,000 tonnes, heads to Michigan, in those dripping garbage trucks, to be dumped.

"" Paper or plastic?" will no longer be a question at Ontario's liquor stores. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has anounced that it won't hand out plastic shopping bags once it exhausts existing supplies.. Some stores have already run out. Customers are being encouraged to bring their own bags or buy a reusable bag. Stores will still provide paper bags or cardboard boxes. The LCBO's bags, thicker than grocerystore style plastic, have both been praised for being reusable many times over and criticized for using too much plastic. The LCBO hands out 80 million bags a year – a fraction of the some 3.5 billion the industry estimates are used in the province every year – but the government hopes the move will have a domino effect. "We try as a government to demonstrate the kind of behaviours that we want others to emulate," Public Infrastructure Minister David Caplan, who is responsible for the LCBO, said in an interview. "Here, with a government agency taking this bold step, we're certainly laying down a challenge for other retailers to take similar kinds of steps." Ontario liquor stores are the first to implement a bag ban, but the inspiration comes from Nova Scotia – Canada's leader on recycling. Last month, Nova Scotia announced its liquor stores would stop handing out plastic bags this fall and Premier Dalton McGuinty said it was something Ontario should think about. The LCBO, which had planned to cut in half the number of plastic shopping bags by 2012, decided to dramatically accelerate those plans, Caplan said. "The premier indicated that Ontario should be open to this and the LCBO took that very much to heart," Caplan said, referring to McGuinty's praise of Nova Scotia. Caplan, who uses a cloth bag for his occasional LCBO purchases, said he wasn't concerned there'd be a backlash from consumers over the lack of warning. "Consumers are ready for this and have

JUNE 2008

Page 20

been asking for and looking for alternative packaging," he said. Liquor stores in Quebec are phasing out both paper and plastic bags and will only be using reusable biodegradable bags by the end of the year. With a staggeringly high number of plastic bags used every day, organizations and jurisdictions around the world are grappling with what to do about it. Plastic shopping bags, on average, are used for only 20 minutes and take nearly 400 years to break down, according to Environment Canada. Last year, Ontario introduced a voluntary, industry-led program to cut in half the number of plastic shopping bags used in Ontario by 2012. At the time, the government said if the voluntary program wasn't successful, the province could force the issue with mandatory per-bag charges or outright bans. When asked yesterday whether all retailers in Ontario should stop using plastic bags, McGuinty responded: "I would encourage all retailers to find ways to move away from plastic bags or reuse plastic bags or better inform shoppers about the alternatives that are available." Last year, the tiny town of Leaf Rapids, Man. – with a population of just 539 – made history when it became the first North American municipality to ban single-use plastic bags. This year, China announced a national ban on shops giving out free plastic beginning in June and an outright ban on ultrathin plastic bags. The LBCO has taken steps recently to improve its environmental image, such as switching to a new bag with 20 per cent less plastic and encouraging customers to forgo plastic by offering cloth bags for purchase. They've also pushed Tetra Paks, which the government says are green because they're lightweight and easier to transport, but others say are an environmental disaster because they're very difficult to recycle.


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Indo-Caribbean Times

How I arrived five years after landing

Arrival story

t what point in my life can I say that I arrived in Canada?. Depends on whether we are talking about the physical action of landing at Pearson or the psychological moment when I ‘arrived ’ in mind as well as in body, at the place I wanted to get to and stay. Did my arrival happen on my first threeweek visit to Toronto as a tourist in July/August of 1981? While I was impressed somewhat by all the usual touristy things I experienced (you know – stuff like the CN Tower, the Ex, Ontario Place, Science centre, the Toronto Islands, Niagara falls by day and night, shopping malls, all this and more), the lasting impression that remained with me was something less grand – something that did not seem to exist in Trinidad – i.e. the clean streets of the city and the (seeming) mandatory patch of flowers (usually red geraniums) in front of every residence, condominium or apartment edifice, business place or government building. For a few weeks after returning to Trinidad, walking down dusty, dirty city streets, driving along main roads bordered by grass encroaching upon the asphalt on the road, or passing a deserted stretch of a minor road, made into a garbage dump by residents from near and far who had no garbage pickup services, I could not stop thinking I wanted to live in some place which were as clean and beautiful as Toronto was (at the time). Or did my arrival occur eight years after that first visit, when I, with two teenage children in tow, left Trinidad for good, settling initially in Scarborough because that’s where our closest relatives lived. Three months after arriving, I began work for a well-known immigration consultant, himself formerly from Trinidad. A fairly large part of his clientele were IndoTrinidadian or Indo-Guyanese, either seeking to assist relatives back home to come to Canada, or themselves applying for permanent residence from within the country. As part of my responsibilities, I listened to stories about their reasons for wanting to live in Canada – stories that varied from the mundane, to the exciting or even the horrifying. Emotionally, I identified or empathized or even rejected belief in some of their stories, but at all times I understood that they were confident their lives would be improved if they could live in Canada. Did this daily dealing with people of my background, people with the same dream of a better life in Canada reassure me that I had made the right move leaving my native country for a new one? Yes, I think, but maybe I wondered just a little ... I was very proud on the day my family (two children and myself) received our Canadian citizenship. Proud of the inconsequential things, such as the fact that the three of us finished our written test ahead of everyone in the room and got all the answers right. And proud of more significant things such as we could now actually refer to ourselves as Canadians, not just Canadian residents; we could carry a Canadian passport and we could be part of electing those who would govern of our city, our province and our country. Was that day our real arrival day? In 1993, I had my first job in a non-profit organization – one that provided services to the Toronto South Asian community. For

With lots of hard work and support from my wife Ramdaye,who was a stay at home Mom,I was able to get Bachelor of Arts degrees(York) and a Master of Education from U of Toronto and several In service diplomas from the Ministry of Education..This helped to increase my salary as a Teacher with the Toronto Board of Education,now called the Toronto District School Board. I passed the qualifications to become a School Principal in the early 1980's. I was short listed for the next few years but never received that promotion,in spite of my glowing qualifications and recommendations.You see equql opportunity for promotion of a Non White Administrator was at least 10 years ahead of its time..You had to demonstrate that you had sterling leadership skills. Meanwhile,I became a member of Ontario Studies for Services to Indo Carribbean Culture (OSSICC) and served a a Cultural Advisor and Writer for the annual Heritage Day and Indian arrival ceremonies. and celebrations. even at public places ,Mandirs etc.We arranged to celebrate Indo Caribbean Heritage occasions and invited noted novelists and Caribbean lecturers to keep us on focus.Some of these speakers were Dr. Cheddi Jagan,Hon.Basdeo Panday,Hon. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj,Rev. Roy G Nehall,Sonny Ramadhin,Joe Soloman,Dr.Hedy Fry,Neil Bissoondath, and various musicians including Karamchand Maharaj,Harold Boodoo,David Singh,Ricky Ramnarace,Rajmanee Maharaj,Tony Ramesar and Seetal Persad and yours truly ,among others.Most of these Heritage Days celebrations were held at Winters College,York University as one of the founders of OSSICC was Dr. Frank Birbalsingh,a Professor on Staff.Other strong leaders of this group was the late school Teacher, Deo Kernahan. And Dr. Unus Omarali.I served as Cultural Advisor for many of these functions.In 1988,the Indo Caribbean World newspaper,published by Harry Ramkhalewan began highlighting the efforts that OSSICC were making in the community and this continued for many years until the eventual demise of this special group of people who now belong to a variety of other organizations.Television programmes were produced by Fareed Ali ,Buddy Singh and the late Ken Singh. and Sylvan Amichand. and Jai Ojah Maharaj who is still live on Saturday nights on Chin Radio.100.7FM.The l;ate Mervyn Hassanali and Reaz Baksh broadcasted from CIUT Radio on weekends.Imran Hosein was a most competent radio and television hosts ,over many years. Life in Canada has been very good.


By Indra Ramkissoon

the first time I had dealings with with so many East Indians from so many different countries. To my dismay as well as amusement, I discovered that many South Asians from India and Pakistan and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and even some from diasporic countries in East Africa, regarded us Indocaribbeans as culturally tainted. The flip side of this were Indocaribbeans I met, who declined to accept the label South Asian, on the grounds that that their experiences of life made them a different people from those who came to Canada directly from South Asia. Some Indocaribbeans believed themselves superior because they had been exposed to and influenced by the best of both the Western and the Eastern world. Partly because my job required me to be sensitive to people of diverse cultural backgrounds, for the first time in my life, I began to really reflect upon my own cultural identity – I was Indian, Caribbean and Canadian, but was I equal parts of each of these three, or was I more of one than the other? Then, several years after first coming to live in Canada, I returned for my first visit to Trinidad. I ran into someone I used to know – a person I had admired as a selfmade individual, who had overcome the disadvantages of an extremely deprived childhood and through hard work, had achieved considerable economic success and respect in the community. Part of our conversation went something like this: He – (poking fun at me)So how are you, Canadian? Me - (feeling somewhat foolish) I am still Trinidadian, you know. He – (a trifle disdainfully) Whatever made you decide to leave Trinidad? I, for one, will never want to live in Canada Me – (in irritation) Why? He – I will never live where I would be a second-class citizen. Me – (suddenly very, very outraged) – Well good for you buddy, that you live here where you believe you are a first class citizen! And good for you that you know I am a second class citizen in Canada though you don’t know anything about my life there now, or what my life was like here before I went there!. Have you evern even been there for a week to know what it is like to live there? Regretfully, for a minute or two, I launched into a rant about all the things that work well for me in Canada and all the things that didn’t when I lived in Trinidad. And then stopped, reminding myself that all the time, people, me included, form opinions based on the information they do not have. There are wonderful as well as negative aspects about the country where I was born and lived for the first part of my life, and there are wonderful as well as negative aspects about the country I have chosen to live the rest of my life. But that conversation was the defining psychological moment of my arrival in Canada. I had arrived bodily in Canada several few years before but it was at that point that I arrived mentally and emotionally as well. And funnily enough, it happened while I was on Trinidad soil. It just came to me very naturally to be disturbed at criticism of the country I had chosen to live, by someone who had never lived there. At the end of that visit, while my niece was seeing me off at the airport, she asked, :”So when are you coming back home for good?” Without even thinking about it, I replied “I am going home now”.

(continued from Page 19)



JUNE 2008

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Arrival in Canada A view from 1990

Excerpts from”Indo-Caribbean Life in Guyana and Toronto” by Bruce Ally

The (political) situation in Guyana coincided with the removal of discriminatory immigration regulations in Canada, and in 1967 a flow of Indo-Guyanese immigrants began to arrive, most of them settling in Ontario. They were mostly educated or skilled, but their initial encounter with Canadian racial discrimination and their frustration with the lack of recognition of their trades and professional credentials tempored their sense of arrival at a safe haven. In addition, they had to adapt to a new social situation and to re-establish family and community life in this new and exotic country.... The Guyanese of Indian descent who uprooted their lives and transplanted themselves in the West Indies as migrant labourers, losing their roots but certainly not their culture or their courage, became in a mere hundred years a political and economic force to be reckoned with and developed a social system that maintained individuals as part of the collective whole. The second migration to Canada has reproduced the old challenges, the old struggles, and the necessity to re-establish themselves in a new and alien society..... The cosmopolitan diaspora in Ontario has provided a unique reunion of Indians whose ancestors migrated from the subcontinent in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with those who have immigrated directly from India during the last thirty years. While they all share a common source culture, distance and generations of living in another society have produced inevitable differences. Language-the most vulnerable legacy-is often lost. In Toronto, prayers and sermons are often in Indian languages not understood by Indo-Caribbeans. This also serves to alienate them from their organized religious practices, as well as leading to the formation of cliques of people who speak the same language.... In the last twenty-five years there has been a rapid increase in the Indian population of Caribbean extraction in Toronto. Initially, when they arrived, they were fairly well treated because they occupied the menial jobs that no one else wanted. However, as they were given the opportunity to perform tasks at higher levels, in competition with their Canadian counterparts, they have faced new challenges. Despite the incredible odds, the IndoCaribbean family has thrived, and there are members of the community who have sought office in federal elections. There are members who are professors, doctors are becoming recertified, and many lawyers are now available. As our community has continued to grow, we have once again stretched our boundaries to surpass our psychological mindsets and have once again realized that we are our own most valuable resource, and that we exist not only to support our community, but also to regenerate our support systems to provide whatever is required to achieve our potential as a unified group. This recognition should grant us the freedom we desire; the freedom to realize that any and all issues affecting our community are ones which we have the opportunity to choose and solve. As soon as we recognize what it is, we will no longer empower others to control our destiny. The challenge before us is to integrate our renewed Indian identity into the mainstream of Canadian multicultural life.

Tribute to immigrant #1 Kenneth Mahabir

Over the last hundred years the number of IndoCaribbeans in Canada has grown to around 225,000 from just one. That one is Kenneth Grant Mahabir, and he is our immigrant number 1, our jahaji number 1 who travelled by boat from Trinidad to Canada in the year 1908. He opened up the door for all of us and we must remember him and honour his memory. Immigrant number 2 was the mysterious M.N.Santoo, a 25 year old clerk from Demerara who arrived on the SS Dahome in Halifax, Nova Scotia on his way to Montreal as an immigrant, also in the year 1908. We know very little about him. The one we know, Kenneth Mahabir, was a remarkable young man from a remarkable family who came to Halifax, Nova Scotia as an 18 year old student headed for Dalhousie Medical School to become a doctor. When he stepped on the boat to come to Canada indentured Indians were still walking off the boats to work on the sugar estates in Trinidad and 11 other colonies in the Caribbean. They couldn't speak English and knew nothing about the place they were going to. They would be going to live in barracks or logies as they were called in Guyana, or mud houses with grass roofs that we called ajoupas. Indians were the lowest of the low in the Caribbean at the time. They were despised and abused by everybody in the society. Young Kenneth and his family were different, and they owed that to their Canadian connection. Kenneth was named after the Canadian missionary Rev. Kenneth Grant who came to Trinidad in 1870 to form the Canadian Mission. Kenneth's grandfather Lakha Sawh was a jahaji, an indentured Indian worker, who was one of those early Indians whom Kenneth Grant converted to Presbyterianism. Kenneth's father James Mahabir was the organist in the Susamachar Presbyterian Church in San Fernando that Rev. Grant set up, he married Kenneth's mother Kate, a professional photographer, at that church in 1885. Kenneth went to the elementary school that Grant set up on the same spot, later called Grant School, and also to Naparima College, a secondary school that Rev. Grant started in San Fernando. Rev. Kenneth

Indo-Caribbean Times

Grant taught Kenneth Grant Mahabir in Naparima College and recognized that the boy was a brilliant student who could be anything he wanted. The grandfather was an illiterate estate labourer, but the grandson was good enough to get admission in Dalhousie to study medicine. This was our immigrant number 1, one of the brightest and the best in Trinidad. When Kenneth entered medical school in Dalhousie they soon realized he was also one of the brightest and best in Canada. He was a brilliant student here too, and he graduated as a medical doctor in 1912. He also got a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree. Later on he earned a Masters of Science degree and was put in charge of the bacteriological laboratories for entire Eastern provinces of New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia. In 1914 World War 1 broke out and Dr Kenneth Mahabir volunteered to join the army Medical Corps, where he served in Europe saving the lives of Canadian soldiers. As a foreigner he didn't have to join the army but he did it anyway, and came back loaded with honours as an army captain and war veteran. He started his medical practice and became one of the most respected physicians in Halifax, married a Canadian woman and settled down to a lifetime of community service. When Rev. Kenneth Grant retired from his work in Trinidad and returned to Nova Scotia, you can guess who took care of him until he died. It was of course Dr Kenneth Mahabir, who regarded Rev. Grant like a father. We have no doubt that Kenneth Mahabir created such a positive image of the Caribbean immigrant in Eastern Canada that all Caribbean immigrants benefitted from it for a long time. And it is a fact that many of the immigrants from Trinidad and other Caribbean countries who followed him had similar connections with the Presbyterian Mission in the Caribbean. Young Kenneth took the brave step of leaving the country of his birth to make a new life in Canada, and he showed that it was possible to do that without much pain and hardship. He opened up the Canadian door for us, and that is a debt we cannot repay. The least we can do this year and every year hence is to remember his name and tell his successful Indian arrival story in Canada to generations to come. Ram Jagessar


Players of all skill levels (beginners to advanced) are invited to participate. Tournaments held every month during the winter.

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Page 22

Indian Arrival Committee blasts cartoon on old Indian woman IAC blasts ‘highly offensive’ Stabroek News cartoon, registers complaint with ERC

The Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) has registered its “strongest condemnation” of a cartoon published on page 6 in the Sunday Stabroek edition of June 15, 2008. The body has registered its concern with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC). T he offending cartoon, the body notes, shows what appears to be an elderly woman of Indo-Guyanese origin being interviewed by a bespectacled member of the media. “The old East Indian woman is drawn barefooted, sitting on a stool and wearing an undecorated rumal (Indian Headwear), an earring, a pair of bangles and a foot ring and an “I Love Guyana” badge while peeling what appears to be an agricultural product taken from a large wicker basket. At her feet is a bag with what appears to be the peeled product. In the cartoon the interviewer first asks the old woman: “How do you feel about a BLACK MAN being PRESIDENT?” After an extended pause while appearing to wait for the old woman to answer, he adds: “of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA of course!” When the old woman finally answers she exclaims: “OH! The UNITED STATES! WELL…” The IAC opined that the interviewer is drawn as being anxious to extract an answer from the old woman. “The IAC feels strongly that the interviewer is portrayed in such a manner as trying to extract a negative answer from her during his extended pause. The IAC, which deals with issues and concerns of persons of Indo-Guyanese origin, views this cartoon as highly offensive in the following ways: 1. The old East Indian woman is portrayed as belonging to a past era historically: The IAC interprets this portrayal to mean that Indo-Guyanese are a backward ethnic group. 2. Since historically Hindu women have worn the rumal its depiction in the cartoon is interpreted by the IAC to mean that Hindus are a backward group. 3. The old East Indian woman is drawn wearing an “I Love Guyana” sticker badge: The IAC interprets this portrayal to mean that Indo-Guyanese are not inherently patriotic. 4. The old East Indian woman is drawn in the act of peeling something with her hands: The IAC interprets this portrayal to mean that Indo-Guyanese are technologically backward. 5. The interviewer is shown in an anxious manner to extract a negative answer to his question: “How do you feel about a BLACK MAN being PRESIDENT?”: The IAC interprets this portrayal to mean that Indo-Guyanese are alarmed at the notion of having an Afro-Guyanese as President of Guyana. The IAC emphasized that it “not only finds the cartoon racially offensive but denigrating to persons of Indo-Guyanese origin as it can stir up feelings of social hostility against Indo-Guyanese by promoting and perpetrating negative stereotypes of IndoGuyanese”. The Committee noted that it had registered an official complaint with and urged the Ethnic Relations Commission to deal

with the matter expeditiously. The IAC also called on all social, religious and political organizations to condemn what it described as “this racially inciting cartoon”. The IAC concluded its statement by indicating that it continues to be a champion of cultural and ethnic harmony whilst at the same time celebrating the rich heritage and contributions of Indians to the development of Guyana.

Caribbeans dominate GOPIO Upper New York Chapter

The newly established GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter was formally inaugurated at a prominent and well attended dinner event held on the evening of Saturday, May 10th, 2008 at the Elegant Rose Hall in the Bronx, New York.

The inauguration occasion was also used by GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter as a commemoration of 170th Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Guyana.

GOPIO of Upper New York chapter officers were introduced: Satruhan Sukdeo, President; Netram Rambudhan, Vice President; Rodney Gocool, Secretary; Premnauth Singh, Treasurer; Lloyd Lochan, Director; and Ramesh Budhram, Director. GOPIO of Upper New York chapter president Satruhan Sukdeo chaired the proceedings.

"Remembering Our Forefathers" was an expression of honored tribute and gratitude to those who made the first journey as indentured laborers from India to British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1838 aboard the Hesperus and Whitby. Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General of GOPIO International, congratulated the chapter executives and membership on the inauguration of the chapter, conveyed greetings from GOPIO International Secretariat and "warmly welcomed the GOPIO of Upper New York chapter into the GOPIO family", pledged the support and guidance of GOPIO International and extended wishes for much success to the chapter's effort at outreach and community activities. Prominent Guyanese born historian Dr. Basdeo Mangru, author of several books on indentureship and its role in Guyana's history, was the keynote speaker.

He spoke about Rev. C. F. Andrews who generated "the indentureship report" which described the harsh conditions endured by the indentured laborers and the situation of Indian workers on the sugar plantations of Guyana. In his presentation, Dr. Mangru discussed housing, education, Indian marriages and other social problems faced by the Indian Community at that time. Dr. Mangru plans to publish a book based on the "the indentureship report" by Rev. Andrews.

Indo-Caribbean Times

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Letter to the Editor: Weeping for Wakenaam


ast month’s rural rape-murders have again highlighted how low the level of human security is, particularly for women and girl children, in certain areas of this country. These serious crimes have exposed the seeming inability of the administration and its educational, law enforcement, social welfare and youth services to comprehend the causes of the crisis. As a result, no policies are likely to be put in place to ensure the safety of the country’s most vulnerable citizens, the very old and the very young. The nation awoke on Independence Day to the news of the rape-murder of 79year-old blind, shut-in Dhanwantie, known as ‘Auntie,’ at Sans Souci on Wakenaam Island in the Essequibo. That tragedy rekindled memories of the gruesome rape-murder of 12-year-old Julie Sooklall on the same island of Wakenaam in November 2004. The girl’s body was found, still dressed in her school uniform, not far from her home. Three adolescents were found culpable of the crime. There was also another vicious rape-murder of 75-year-old Millicent Subechen, known as ‘Aunty Milly,’ at her home in Wakenaam in September 2001. Another adolescent was found guilty and imprisoned.

How is it that such a small island of 45 km² with a farming population of a mere 3,000 families, most of whom are familiar with one another, could be the arena for such atrocities? In fact, Wakenaam is not alone. On the smaller island of Leguan a short distance away, Bibi Farida Khan, known as ‘Monica,’ had also been savagely raped, murdered and dumped in a canal at Blenheim in July 2006.

Across the Essequibo River channels, the rape-murders of 17-year-old student Sharon Sooklall at Naamryck near to Parika on the East Bank Essequibo in February 2001, and of 46-year-old Fazila Mohamed of Johanna Cecilia on the Essequibo Coast in June 2005 are still ruefully remembered. Earlier last month, residents of the Corentyne Coast were revolted at the rape-murder of Deokali Peter, an 18-year-old waitress. She had been gang-raped and left to die after her assailants tried to drown her in a canal at Port Mourant. There have been similar crimes of violence in other villages on the Corentyne. At Maida, three brothers broke into the home of 32-year-old Achama Madramootoo, dragged her to the backdam raping her repeatedly on the way, and drowned her in a canal in September 2003. At Warren, 16-year-old schoolgirl Roshini Pertabsingh was raped and killed

in a home in June 2006.

Elsewhere, 18-year-old Anita Persaud of Good Faith, Mahaicony, in August 2001; Rohana Wilson, a 24-year-old mother of two of Mahdia, in October 2006; and 9year-old Sade Stoby whose violated body was found a mere 500 metres from her home in the village of Mocha-Arcadia on the East Bank Demerara in November last year, have also been victims of rapemurders. Many of the assailants have been adolescents. The list is long and bloody but, with all of this evidence, exactly what has the administration done? The Ministers of Education, Home Affairs, Legal Affairs, Human Services and Social Security and Culture, Youth and Sports must surely realise that something has gone wrong among the young.

These ministers have the responsibility to remedy the problem. It should be clear, also, that some sort of study or inquiry should be initiated to determine the causes of this particular type of cruel criminal conduct.

The administration’s primary responsibility should be to ensure human security by protecting citizens and communities from criminal violence and by preserving vital freedoms to ensure people’s ability

to live in dignity. Its cherished policies for community policing, neighbourhood policing and citizens’ security now seem to have been misdirected against some imaginary non-community threat when the real problems reside among the idle louts next door. Many women and girl children have become victims of violence in their own homes and communities. Over the past 15 years, the administration has promulgated a National Youth Policy and sponsored an array of nicesounding youth schemes – the Guyana Youth Development Association; National Youth Council; National Youth Parliament; President’s Youth Choice Initiative; President’s Youth Award Republic of Guyana; and the Youth Employment Scheme – for example. But it is clear that they have not been able to significantly improve employment opportunities or curb criminal activity among the young.

If the lives of the young are to be changed, and if women and children are to be saved from savagery of rape-murders such as those which have afflicted Wakenaam and elsewhere, the administration needs to refashion its patchwork youth policy. The problem will not go away of its own accord.

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