A leading Guyanese and Caribbean organization is arranging a high level conference in Washington DC next month to expose what it says is rampant racism and nepotism at the hands of the Indo-led Guyana government against locals of African extraction.
The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) said it has already secured the prestigious National Press Club on 14th street to stage its two-day conference from Sept. 27 for sessions in “promoting inclusive governance and economic growth, equal justice, social equality & sustainable development for all Guyanese in the era of oil and gas.”
The GCID that the Irfaan Ali administration has persistently accused of doing the bidding of opposition parties back home in Guyana, says that Hakeem Jeffries, the highest ranking democrat in Congress, will be the keynote speaker alongside a yet to be identified senior Biden administration official and others from State and Justice departments, the FBI and EximBank among other agencies. Jeffries is fairly familiar with the Guyanese social and political scene, having already attended and spoken at a number of Guyanese political and other functions in New York in recent years, building on his strong links with CGID President and political activist Rickford Burke.
Burke has been a thorn in the side of successive People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administrations, persistently accusing them of widespread corruption, linkages to the criminal underworld and of racism against Black Guyanese among other ills. Guyanese police have even put out wanted bulletins for him for seditious libel, inciting public terror, inciting racial hostility among a slew of other charges,
Congressional Black Caucus members have also been invited as well as senators, civil society leaders and other Guyanese organizations.
The conference is being organized amid simmering discontent in the Afro community. Leading attorney Nigel Hughes recently published a dossier showing that the majority of state contracts, commercial land transfers and other largesse are being given to people of Indo Guyanese extraction in Guyana.
“There is urgent and immediate need for redress including the cessation of future awards until a comprehensive plan to arrest this disproportionate and unfair allocation of state resources. The recent revelations disclosed by the analysis have confirmed what has long been suspected by several persons,” Hughes found in his analysis of the situation, noting that contracts “are awarded at a rate far exceeding their representation in the broader demographic statistics of the country. Additionally, this pattern is even more evident when the dollar value of the contracts is considered,” he said.
Another one done by local academics and social activists accused authorities of dishing out billions in state assignments even Trinidadians of Indian descent or foreign groups collaborating with Indo Guyanese business actors.
“There is clear evidence of ethnic discrimination in the award of tenders in Guyana,” said one study, pointing to data it said it had obtained from the national procurement and tender administration (NPTA).
The previous Donald Ramotar PPP administration had awarded ultra deep sea oil blocks to companies with zero track record in oil and gas exploration. None has been awarded to Afro groups, activists say.
“This conference is convened amidst concerns by the Guyanese diaspora that US policy on Guyana has not sufficiently promoted American values such as inclusive governance, inclusive growth; equal justice; social equality and sustainable development for all Guyanese. Oil and gas revenues are not used equitably for the benefit and upliftment of all Guyanese. Billions of dollars in government contracts mostly go to the ethnic supporters of the East Indian led and dominated PPP government, essentially shutting out the African Guyanese population from government contracts, and ensuring the transfer of state wealth to one ethnicity,” the CGID said in an announcement.