Dr Gustav Jackson is a Guyanese and a representative of Greenpeace
October 15, 2001
I refer to the letter [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] by Mr S. Mohamed Kalamadeen captioned "Many residents affected by l995 spill are prepared to accept $40,000" (4.l0.200l).
Both Mr A. Hendricks' letter of 17.7.99 and Mr Francis Simon's of 22.9.2001 arose out of frustration. One is four years and the other six years after the cyanide spill in the Essequibo river. If I am correct according to these dates, nothing significant on Omai's behalf took place until 1999 (four years after the spill.) Mr A Hendricks' Committee's proposal came about because they heard that the communities residents were receiving $40,000 each (at the time.) Some early payments were made to fishermen but in Mr Hendricks' case four years was definitely too long.
If Omai had shown its willingness to compensate residents from the inception, perhaps these communities would not have had to solicit support from Dr Gustav Jackson and associates.
While it is good for Mr Kalamadeen to highlight Omai's generosity towards these communities, it would have been equally appreciated if he advised Omai to settle with these communities through their legal representative who would accept $40,000 or whatever is the sum total, speedily.
Mr Kalamadeen further disagrees with Mr Francis Simon's rallying support for Dr Gustav Jackson, and seeks to question the gentleman's credibility.
I can assure Mr Kalamadeen that I personally had the opportunity (in front of over fifty affected residents) to question Dr Jackson on his work and representation in this matter. I am convinced that Dr Jackson who is a North American based Guyanese Geologist/Environmentalist, represents the Green-peace Environmental Organisation in Guyana and is a patriotic Guyanese, who on previous occasions, and in similar circumstances, represented people in North America, Africa etc. As Cheddi Jagan and Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow championed the rights of the working class without any self-aggrandisment, Dr Jackson is doing the same environmentally.
Further, it was Dr Jackson who, at the time of the first spillage in March 1995 came and protested (one-man) outside Omai's office in Middle Street, risking arrest. Had his warnings been heeded, we would have never been in this predicament.
Mr Kalamadeen further questioned "if Dr Jackson is a leader of an indigenous group and if he is authorised to represent riverain residents." First let me point out that the affected communities comprise people of different ethnicities. Secondly, one does not have to be a leader of a particular ethnic group (indigenous) to be a representative. And thirdly, Dr Jackson did not come from outer space.
Mr F. Simon and others have the moral right to choose whomsoever they want to represent them. Mr Kalamadeen's diatribes remind me of the agents who mined the Greenpeace Environmental Organisation's ship "Rainbow Warrior" when it was monitoring nuclear tests in the Pacific.
Where was Mr Kalamadeen at the time of the spill? Did he pen letters on behalf of the affected residents as he is now doing on behalf of Omai? Where is his patriotism?
At this point I would like to congratulate Omai for their conributions to the various communities and hope that they will settle speedily with residents of the remaining riverain communities who were not compensated. Better late than never.