No group must feel superior or inferior
- PPP/C in Indian Arrival day message

Guyana Chronicle
May 5, 2001

GUYANESE of Indian descent are feeling the pain of being in a diverse society "as a constant reality" but they have to dig deep to help find solutions to the current problems, the governing People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) says.

In a message to mark the 163rd anniversary today of the arrival of Indians here, the alliance recalled that they came on the vessels, the Whitby and Hesperus, as part of the Gladstone Experiment to ascertain whether Indians could fill the vacuum left by the African slaves for labour on the sugar plantations, after Emancipation.

"As we commemorate the arrival of the first Indians, we note with pride the contribution of their descendants to the social, economic, political and cultural development of this country which they share with their fellow Guyanese", it said.

But, the PPP/C pointed out, "we cannot be unaware that their presence here makes this society a culturally plural and a politically dual one."

"The challenges inherent to such a society as it gropes towards national inclusiveness, political stability and cultural tolerance are numerous.

"The growth to unity in diversity is slow and painful. People of Indian descent have felt and are feeling that pain as a constant reality", it said.

Recent events in the country remind people of Indian descent that "they must dig deep beneath their psyche and probe deeply into their tradition and culture to help find solutions to the current problems that exist in this land that challenge the integrity and cohesion of our country", it urged.

The PPP/C said the anniversary should also serve as a reminder to all Guyanese that "we are a nation of people who, other than our Amerindian brothers and sisters, were all brought to these shores."

"No group or community must feel either superior or inferior. Guyana belongs equally to all of us."

The PPP/C recalled that the socio-economic conditions created by the indentureship scheme were also most similar to that which existed during slavery.

"In spite of the inhumane conditions and tremendous sufferings, Indians were able to make an enormous contribution to the country's economic development.

"Indian Immigration Day must serve to heighten the awareness of the contribution of Indians to Guyana's rich cultural mosaic", it said.

The PPP/C added: "As we commemorate this 163rd anniversary of the Indian Arrival on May 5, it is important that we recognise that the month of May witnessed the arrival of Portugese to Guyana.

"We also salute their outstanding contributions to the socio-economic and cultural development of Guyana.

"All Guyanese must be inspired by the sacrifices of our foreparents and dedicate ourselves to the noble task of building our beloved country."