Once again May 5, Indian Arrival Day, was celebrated in various parts of the country and a tremendous effort was put in by various groups to make it full of pomp and gaiety and to provide an abundance of very delightful entertainment so it would be successful. The occasion was indeed one that all East Indians should celebrate with a sense of pride.
I attended celebrations at Plantation Highbury on May 5, and then, on the same date, I was able also to attend celebrations at the Monument Gardens in Georgetown. On May 6, I was at Albion Sports Complex to join in the celebrations in that neck of the woods, and I must say that a lot of effort and cost was expended to make these successful and, except for a few hiccups, the entertainment was good.
Amidst all the grandeur and pleasantries there was an infusion of political propaganda at Albion, by none other than President Donald Ramotar. He was granted time to address the gathering and whether he has any knowledge of the history of our foreparents or not, his discussion was primarily about the budget cuts and the effects the cuts will have on the progress of this country. He continued with the usual PPP propaganda by saying that, “AFC and APNU are the two sides of the same coin.”
The President has no sense of protocol. He cannot seem to understand the nature of some of the events he attends and what is required of him on these occasions. One does not use the forum of Indian Arrival Day celebrations because there is a large crowd present, to hustle political mileage, and it should not be done at memorial services either, as he did at Babu John.
Let me suggest that the President takes a page out of Minister Frank Anthony’s book, or asks Moses Nagamootoo to write his speeches for him. I am sure Moses would do it for free. Minister Anthony spoke at Highbury and his speech, which was no more than five minutes long, touched on the arrival of Indians and their lives on the plantation and ‒ ready for this? ‒ on politics, but in a subtle way. In a very acceptable and relevant way, Minister Anthony spoke of the need to have unity today, like the unity that was prevalent among our foreparents, during indentureship, so the country can move forward. He did not blatantly express his political views. Instead he pointed towards the need for unity among Guyanese ‒ today.
I will close by saying (and I hope the President pays some attention to my last few lines) that most of the crowd at Albion did not hear what was said, because of the problem with the public address system, but those who were close to the stage, as I was, were not pleased with his political speech. The President lost some more votes there. Maybe, he should not speak at these functions because using these forums to voice political concerns is somewhat ignominious, both for him and his party.