Why was workshop held in Indian village?
Stabroek News
December 20, 2001

Dear Editor,

I am angry at the insensitivity shown by the organizers of the University of Guyana/Clark Atlanta University workshop on Conflict Resolution on Thursday November 29th and Friday November 30 at Rose Hall, Corentyne. The workshop dealt with the theories and techniques used in resolving conflict between groups.

I am angry because the organizers chose an Indian village to showcase their first workshop when everyone knows Indians have not been the aggressors.

The organizers were all African Guyanese and connected to the PNC. For example, Dr. Mark Kirton of UG ran on the PNC/REFORM ticket in the last elections. Dr. Michael Scott also of UG who assisted Dr. Kirton with the workshop used to work for Mr. Hoyte at the Presidential Secretariat. Dr. Cedric Grant, now at Clark Atlanta University of the USA, was the Ambassador to London during the Burnham era and later worked for Mr. Hoyte at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Of the nine persons involved with the workshop, eight were African Guyanese, the ninth was an East Indian.

Since the project is using UG's name, the university should investigate it. It must set up a committee to make sure that contracts of any kind are not given to persons or businesses because of their ethnic or political connections.

I hope the US embassy will also investigate this project.

Yours faithfully,

Suraj Persaud

Editor's note:

Dr Kirton says that the decision to hold the first workshop in Berbice was taken at a brainstorming session of all the potential participants in the programme that was held in Georgetown. The workshop was not restricted to political conflict but included suicide and other social problems.

The workshop was well attended and the participants enthusiastically participated in the discussion.

The project is being funded by the United Negro College Fund Special Projects Inc. which involves historical black colleges and universities in partnership with a college /university in a developing country.

The funding is being provided in tranches based on successful completion of the various tranches.