Some hoped-for Emancipation projects

-Creole Cheddi-beyond August

At the very real risk of upsetting my friends at ACDA – the African Cultural and Development Association – and other Afrocentric activists – (they could let me know that it’s none of my business”) – I, never-the-less, repeat some of my strongly-held Emancipation-Month views.

Now that the more celebratory soirees, Afro-fashion/wearing and fringe events are virtually concluded; now that the very necessary, even significant, round table,    lecture-type, intellectual analyses and spiritual groundwork of symbolic marches and protests are concluding, I make bold to promote these ideas, herein underneath.

For though I understand and accept the usefulness of analyses of historical wrongs; causes and reasons for the current “condition” and status, I posit that, along with the analyses and intellectual/historical bases, there is dire, urgent need for practical economic planning and actual visible projects if true “freedom” is not to be limited to empty promises and traditional talk and gyaff.

So however simplistic or impractical my listing and suggested “Emancipation Projects” might seem, I never-the-less “propose” the following sampling.

For Education: the basis of any form of success for any  group.  There were church schools in my time, wherein a specific brand of religion influenced morality, standards and the curriculum.  Look around, my Afro-friends.  See the Hindustani – and Islamic – oriented educational institutions?  Join ACDA in establishing Community Schools with the highest standards.  Conform to official curricula but get expert teachers to promote economic survival in a hostile environment.

Ask five overseas/ Diasporic Guyanese communities to do what a New Jersey-based Hindu Organ-isation does: send to selected communities here, financial and human resource contributions to assist in constructing and managing both community and national (or regional) private medical clinics hospitals and pharmacies! Too far-fetched an idea because of established competition?  Remember when most of Guyana’s “Doctor-shops/ Drug Stores”, then Pharmacies, were owned and run by Afro-Guyanese (dispensers)? What happened? I know…

Still other projects…

Still other enterprises to be attempted, notwithstanding the challenges of discrimination, bureaucratic pressure, established (current) competition, already entrenched by “others”. Sawmills, but whose timber? Importation of building/constructions materials – too late to be independent or competitive now? Never think that!  Rather try collective/co-operative endeavours.  Are Afro-Guyanese consigned to be history’s consumers only?

Why can’t overseas Afro-Guyanese implement networks of partnerships back in their Guyana villages to employ out-of-work youths to build and manage bakeries, carwash facilities, trucking services or very big farms to feed portions of this small market? Even if “the others” have been facilitated with the legal ownership of the Sand and Stone Quarries, the forests, the river-side quays and stellings and vast tracts of the Dirty Capital, George-town, don’t despair and leave.

Should not ACDA and all those other Afro-centric organisations that surface for August First, meet and establish some Economic Imple-mentation Bureau to guide, practically, ethnic-specific start-up enterprises?

The other sections of the society-Chinese, Brazilians, Amerindians, for example do not seem shy in this regard!

So besides the necessary conferences of orientation and pride, which David Granger, David Hinds, Hammie Green, Carl Greenidge, Lincoln Lewis, et al, use to tell of the freed slaves’ successes, let there be some forum to show the Afro-Guyanese community what their millions do for others, but not for themselves.

I, obviously, realize that all economic/commercial/ industrial enterprises will need the support from all sections of the society.  But all can see: Guyana’s economy in 2013 benefits the  seemingly chosen – from one group. Predominantly! So “Black Leaders”, lead your constituents against the government and ethnic challenges.  Put your resources where your mouth/rhetoric is!

By August 2014, show me how you acquired 20 scholarships for deserving Afro-Students.  And prove to me how you’ll quickly get the resources – including the “Parade Ground” – to build your own People’s 1823 Monument.  A Happy, Reflective Final Week of Emancipation August 2013.

Cheddi’s Creole-Beyond August

You see, I sought to dare  to research what Cheddi Jagan did for Afro-Guyanese during his anti-colonial crusade/struggle (1947-1964), as against Forbes Burnham’s contributions after the Independence advent.  Both of them did their work in the context of national development – for all groups.

I assure that this comparison can make for great research, useful debates – – to inspire.

Instead, I’ve settled for some August-time-type excerpts wherein Cheddi wrote of his origins and Corentyne Creole Growing-up. Enjoy.

“As a boy I remember attending many Hindu festivals – Holi, Diwali, Kalimai, Pujas, Ram Leela… their religious significance was lost on me but they were fun… collecting dead leaves and, pieces of wood to build the Holi … roasting corn-on-the-cob … the particular superstition that corn roasted on the Holi would cure toothache!”

“I recall rubbing his – the Mahapatar Brahmin priest – abdomen so that he could consume more food. Gifts of all kinds – a cow, blankets, umbrella – were showered upon him … necessary (?) for the soul of the departed in the period between death and re-incarnation…”

“Rum-drinking, gambling, dancing, horse-and-mule-racing were the principal pastimes of the Whites…” He, Cheddi, even wrote about how the White/British Managers and Overseers would father children with local women, then force the poor local fellows to shoulder the blame! Happy August!

More “serious” August trivia…

*1)  I recall an ABC – African Business Council- compliments of ACDA’s Eric Phillips and the late Kenneth King and Winston Murray, among others.  What happened?
*2)  Trinidad’s Kamla and Rowley have agreed on an Emergency Anti-Crime Plan. Donald and David here?
*3)  So what do Guyanese passengers expect from the grand CAL  Conference here this week?
*4)  Let’s check out the progress of the spanking new Bio-Ethanol Plant six months from today.  (Keep the foreign inputs!)
*5)   Farewell to Keith Herman Booker who passed on last Friday.  Former Culture, Youth, Sport Permanent Secretary, Lt Col Keith was many things to many people.  So long. “This life is short!”
‘Til next week

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