The Federation of Indian Americans should not be endorsing a Guyanese presidential candidate

 Dear Editor,

I write this letter in response to the Federation of Indian Americans (FIA) executive member Mr Nirav Mehta’s one (‘India Day Parade invited President Jagdeo to participate’ SN, August 10) in which he sought to repudiate my contention that one of President Jagdeo’s staff sent an email asking that Mr Jagdeo be invited to the India Day Parade and other events. My source has reiterated that an invitation was sought. I stand by my account. However, the question of the invitation is no longer important to me. What matters now is the contents of Mr Mehta’s letter.

It is quite evident from his letter that Mr Mehta hardly knows of Guyana, and I am of the view that whatever little he knows was gleaned from his association with Mr Vishnu Bisram who sees Guyana through a narrow Indo/Hinducentric prism. That must be the only explanation for the bias and arrogance reflected in Mr Mehta’s missive. His invitation to President Jagdeo’s handpicked PPP presidential candidate, Mr Donald Ramotar, is tantamount to an official endorsement by the FIA. In a multi-racial society such as Guyana, where we have large segments of African Guyanese, Mixed Race and Amerindians, the political and electoral support for the candidate of the Indian Guyanese group by the foreign Federation of Indian Americans must be seen as gross interference in our domestic affairs.

The FIA’s endorsement of Mr Ramotar comes at a time when his and Jagdeo’s popularity cannot be lower. Messrs Jagdeo and Ramotar will use the FIA sponsored activities for cheap narrow political propaganda amongst Indian Guyanese to boost their campaign, and no doubt they will take advantage of photo ops with Bollywood stars with their implications that the stars support them. This may in turn influence Indian Guyanese to vote for Mr Ramotar. The FIA therefore will be influencing Guyana’s elections in a big way, and will effectively be aiding Jagdeo and Ramotar’s party in its continued modus operandi.

Please note that when a few months ago an African American  scholar and political activist from the Nation of Islam, went to Guyana to talk with young African Guyanese, the Jagdeo regime responded by unlawfully arresting and detaining him. If African Americans cannot disseminate information to African Guyanese how can we allow the FIA to endorse the PPP’s Ramotar?

According to Mr Mehta the FIA, “considers it an honour to have a president of a country grace our event.” No consideration is given to the character of the president. Mr Mehta wrote: “His [Jagdeo’s] eminent presence enhances the image of the parade.” Here is what PPP propagandist Mr Bisram did not tell Mr Mehta and the FIA. Under the guise of a public Hindu wedding ceremony Mr Jagdeo informed the nation that he was married to Ms Varshnie Singh. A few years later Ms Singh told the country that Mr Jagdeo on several occasions had postponed signing the documents to make the marriage legal. She alleged that Mr Jagdeo threw her out of the bedroom, verbally abused her, and finally threw her out of the house.  During the period of President Jagdeo’s government drug cartels operated death squads that killed hundreds of citzens, including Indians, but most of whom were African youths. Currently, Mr Jagdeo’s close friend Ed Ahmad is charged by the FBI with mortgage fraud. Would the FIA invite an Indian or American politician with President Jagdeo’s record? I think not.

As regards Mr Ramotar, Mr Mehta and the FIA were not told by Mr Bisram that Ramotar and Jagdeo’s party still, in the modern era, practises Stalinist democratic centralism and that the party depends on capturing Indian Guyanese votes to win elections. Mr Ramotar was handpicked by President Jagdeo to be the PPP’s presidential candidate. The party membership had no say in the matter. The party’s 30th Congress is constitutionally due now, but it has been arbitrarily cancelled. Messrs Jagdeo and Ramotar cannot face their own party membership.

After 19 years of PPP rule Guyana only has one radio station, and Mr Jagdeo may be in the process of banning an independent TV station. Would the FIA tolerate such ‘democracy’ anywhere in India or the USA?

Yours faithfully,
Malcolm Harripaul

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