I refer to a letter which appeared under the caption “Britain was unable to hold its empire, there was no real struggle for Independence,” dated 01/01/07. This letter written by one Leah Lawrence, who claims to offer a few correctives to my letter captioned, “Black nationalism did not inspire violence against Indians.” Lawrence’s letter is littered with historical fallacies. Yet Ms. Lawrence writes with finality about Caribbean history which deserves a response, lest young students reading her letter may come away with a distorted view of history.
I take it that Ms. Lawrence did not properly read my letter and in her reply has not only misconstrued the premise of my argument but has misconstrued history; here is what she wrote. Ms. Lawrence: “European peoples came to the Caribbean, suffered great hardships, invested their money over the centuries, peopled the place with Africans, Indians and others, created the economy of the territories, gave the territories their law, languages, political institutions, administration, education and to a large extent their culture. Europe even gave the territories their thought-process and world-view.”
Reply: This is clearly a callous and poor analysis of history. Europeans came to the Caribbean in search of wealth, found existing civilizations of indigenous peoples (Amerindians) and subsequently murdered entire generations and tribes of Indigenous peoples before embarking on the slave trade and the political economy of slavery, which is arguably the most inhumane venture in the history of humankind. At the end of slavery in 1834, indentured servants were invited to work under the most sub-human conditions. It is important that Ms. Lawrence knows that every non European group of people who came or were forcibly brought to the Caribbean came with language and culture, existed in prior civilizations (with exception of the Indigenous peoples, who it is believed crossed the Bering Straits 50,000 years ago) older than the Europeans. Africans, the original people, are known to have the oldest civilizations on earth. Therefore the Europeans did not give the people whom they brought here anything, what Europeans did was force upon people their way of life in order to control and subjugate them. In a book I am currently working on “Toward Reconciliation, a Case for Guyana” I deal in part with the impact Europeans have had on ethnic formation and subjugation in Guyana.
Ms. Lawrence: “Mr. Wiggins is being deceived into taking the line propagated by Burnham and Jagan and other Caribbean politicians that they were the strugglers for and achievers of national independence. The truth is different