Date First Published January 9, 1987

Mute Youth Stows to New York

A MUTE 15-year- old who frequents the airport and is well-known to the airport commun­ity, including secur­ity personnel, just missed his chance of migrating to the US.

The youngster eluded airport secur­ity, Tropical Air­ways staff, the air­line’s crew and boarded the carrier’s December 16th flight to New York without passport, a visa, tax clearance, travel       ticket or other documents.

Tropical officials report that the juvenile probably hid under the seat of its Boeing-707 or in the rear lavatories before making his grand appearance in the forward cabin among startled passengers and scared flight attendants, 60 minutes after take­off.

He was wearing only a rumpled short pants and an old slipper accord­ing to Tropical offi­cials.

“But the frighten­ing aspect about this affair, was that he had a kerosene tin with a strap around his neck. At first the hostesses thought it was some kind of explosive and they were scared to death,” a senior Tropical official told Stabrock News. The tin bearing a plea for financial help for “this poor dumb boy.””

Embarrassed Tro­pical management have submitted a full report to the Civil Aviation De­partment which they say has been copied to Prime Minister Hamilton Green.

CONSPIRACY

Police say they gleaned from pain­staking investiga­tions involving sign language and writ­ten questions, that a passenger on the same flight conspir­ed to smuggle him on board, gave him an unspecified amount of money, helped him to fasten his seat belt then disappeared in the upper cabin after the take-off.

He was rescued by a Kennedy Airport ground staff who saw him wandering about without warm clothing in the freezing December weather, given ap­propriate clothing, and put up to rest. Tropical says it was forced to buy a Guyana Airways ticket to ensure his return on the na­tional airline the next day.

And again he made a spectacular appear­ance only this time it was Timehri. Im­migration staff told ‘Stabroek News’ that he came off the airline smiling, clad in a new outfit with lots of foodstuff and chocolates and the owner of some US currency.

“There was very little we could do. He can’t talk. We couldn‘t find out who helped him on board, nor could we charge him,” a police official told Stabroek News.

It is understood that he performed a similar stunt on a GAC domestic flight earlier this year.

Stabroek News has also learnt that the last FAA inspection at Timehri late last year resulted in some criticism of the airport security systems.

 

Letters…

Cheddi Sets The Record Straight

The Editor,

Your edi­torial ‘Regional Inte­gration?’ (December 19, 1986), stated: “Dr. Jagan had not joined the Federation. Some attributed this to him being the odd man out ideologically, others, notably Mr. Eusi Kwayana (then Sydney King) to his unwillingness to be swamped in a predom­inantly African group­ing.”

To set the record straight, I wish to make the following observa­tions:

  1. I supported fully the decision of the 1945 Montego Bay Con­ference for a West Indies Federation with Dominion Sta­tus and internal self-government for each unit territory.
  2. After the start of the anti-communist Cold War in 1947, the Caribbean lead­ership was co-opted, leading to the dis­bandment of the militant Caribbean Labour Congress (CLC) in 1951, a retrograde step which I tried to prevent.
  3. The PPP went into the 1953 general elections, which it won with 18 out of 24 seats, in favour of a West Indies Fed­eration, with the proviso that a refer­endum would be taken before entry. This formula was adopted to take the controversial issue of Federation out of the elections, be­cause the PPP leader­ship was being at­tacked by racialists from two sides: the East Indian Association stating that I was selling out to the African L.F.S. Burnham, and the Indians would be swamped in a predominantly Afri­can Federation; the League of Colour­ed People stating that Burnham was selling out to ‘coolie’ Cheddi Ja­gan. I have no doubt that if such a re­ferendum had been carried out without British gunboat ac­tion in 1953 and the split of the PPP in 1955, there would have been, unlike Ja­maica later, an over­whelming vote in favour of federation.
  4. The West Indian leadership praised the conservative Bri­tish government for removing with mili­tary force the PPP government in October 1953. When Burnham and I were going to London, the Trinidad and Barbados govern­ments refused to al­low us to pass through intransit. This soured the re­lations between the PPP and the West Indian leaders.
  5. The British govern­ment persuaded Burnham to take­over or split the PPP. The latter took place in 1955 mainly, but not wholly, on racial lines among the PPP followers.
  6. Arch-conservative and viciously anti­communist Lionel Luckhoo, a member of the puppet In­terim Government, was persuaded to form the National Labour Front. This pro-imperialist front organization was aiming at our support – it was to operate to an anti-federation in the countryside.
  7. In 1958, the Carib­bean leaders jettison­ed the Montego Bay dominion status stand on Federation, and accepted a crown colony status.
  8. In such a regional and local environ­ment, it would have been politically/tact­ically unwise if not suicidal for the PPP to enter the Federa­tion.
  9. This did not mean that the PPP was against regional in­tegration. Or, as some put it, that it had turned its back on West In­dian unity for a “continental des­tiny” after I had led a PPP govern­ment Goodwill Mis­sion to Venezuela in 1958. Actually, the Venezuelans had got rid of the Perez Jimenez 10-year dic­tatorship, and both the Venezuelan gov­ernment and the Brazilian govern­ment under Janio Quadros were play­ing progressive roles, especially towards the Cuban revolu­tion. The PPP Govern­ment maintained Caribbean links with the Oils and Fats Agreement, the Rice Agreement, and the informal Heads of Government Meet­ings.
  10. The Federation would have collapsed, with or with­out the PPP. Apart from its colonial constitutional struc­ture, there were in­herent differences and disunity.

Some wanted a strong central Government; others wanted to retain full powers in the various units.

I recall Wills Isaacs, Minister of Trade and Industry, threatening at a Heads of Government Meeting to walk out if Jamaica was not al­lowed to give a 15-year tax holiday to a foreign oil refinery. Ja­maica was in disagree­ment with a common incentives policy.

The Federal Economic Planner told me that the Federal Ministers would not read, much less discuss, his Report. He wanted overall planning and territorial spe­cialisation, especially to help the 10 less de­veloped territories which together had only about 10 per cent of the income of the region.

Even under Caricom, this kind of overall planning and develop­ment is not forthcom­ing. Dr. Eric Williams expressed his disgust that one of his region­al schemes, the Trinidad/Jamaica/Guyana bauxite/aluminium pro­ject, did not materialise.

Political unity of the Caribbean including Guy­ana is a must. But we have a long way to go. And Ja­maica is not the only stumbling block. It has to do with traditional leader­ship, which in theory agrees with political/ideological pluralism, but does not practice it. It praised the British government in destroying the PPP govern­ment in 1953, remained silent when the CIA de­stabilised the PPP Govern­ment a decade later, and joined with the Reagan ad­ministration to smother the Grenadian experiment two decades later.

A political federation will materialise and survive and lead to social progress when a new breed of lead­ers set their sights on a truly independent course. Maybe, in the same way that the upheavals starting in the late 1930s ushered in a limited independence and regional integration movement, so too the up­heavals of the late 1980s and the 1990s will bring about a united political and free Caribbean.

Yours sincerely,

Cheddi Jagan

 

Govt Hires PR Firm, But…

Minister Cannot Say What It Does Or How Much It Costs

THE Guyana Gov­ernment, in an effort to combat what it calls “untruths” and ‘evil propaganda’ about Guyana abroad has recruited the ser­vices of a North American public rela­tions firm, according to Yvonne Harewood-Benn, Senior Minister, Informa­tion and the Public Service.

‘This is no secret,” Ms. Harewood-Benn said in Parliament last week, but it was the first official announce­ment by Government of an overseas public relations firm in its employ. “We had to counter untruths and evil propaganda about Guyana abroad and we had to spend money in this area,” she said adding, “we have to employ this firm.”

Prime Minister Hamil­ton Green also said 1986 was “a very try­ing year and we had to keep people abroad informed.”

Confirmation of the Government use of a foreign PR agency came when the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Working People’s Al­liance (WPA) question­ed additional expenses of over half-a-million dollars sought by the Information Ministry for “the procurement of services overseas.”

The Information Min­ister said she was not in a position to provide details on the work of the firm for the government but pro­mised to keep Parlia­ment posted on its op­erations from this year. She could also not say how much, on average, was paid to the PR agency and could not give details on the sums spent in various areas in the exercise.

Both the PPP’s Dr. Cheddi Jagan and the WPA’s Eusi Kwayana suggested the State-owned Guyana News Agency (GNA) could have provided the ser­vices rendered to the government by the North American firm,

Ms. Harewood-Benn said she was not in a position to provide the opposition with de­tails on the amount of money spent on the GNA and she did not know the size of the Government subvention to the agency. She however declared that GNA “has its functions which it continues to perform…its function is necessary.”

Jagan suggested it was a waste of time spend­ing foreign exchange on hiring the overseas PR firm but said even this move would “not solve the government’s pro­blems.” He contended Government would be hard put to counter “bad propaganda” abroad with the thous­ands who he said continue to “flee the country.”

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