National Front Alliance urges rational criteria for national holidays
Stabroek News
March 12, 2004

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The National Front Alliance (NFA) wants the National Holidays Committee to enunciate, as a priority, clear and rational criteria for the institution of national holidays.

The party says further that the committee should apply those criteria in the evaluation of future claims or requests for national holidays as well as in the review of current holidays. "Such a procedure may relieve the committee and its successor organisations of the burden of emotive judgements," the NFA added.

These views were expressed by the NFA on February 11 when the party appeared before the Special Select Committee appointed by Parliament to review public holidays, according to a release from the party's leader, Keith Scott. The party presented oral evidence in support of its written submission on the Review of Holidays, the release said.

The party contended that the granting of national holidays to accord recognition to the country's various race groups based on what it termed "their assumed relative contributions to development" of the country is a subjective exercise and one which can only exacerbate existing tensions in the society.

According to the NFA, the "proposal to glorify the presence of Indians in Guyana by celebrating an 'Arrival' obscures the reality of the coercion, duplicity, brutality and dehumanisation of the human cargo, practised in the process, often with the active participation of the members of their own community (race)." Above all, the party said, there was no element of voluntarism in the event.

"It would be an act of masochism," the NFA contended, "for their descendants to celebrate the suffering and degradation of those captive people as, indeed, it would be for any people subjected to similar circumstances."