I appreciate the news report, ‘Court orders release of 12 Nepalese held in lock-ups for months’ (KN, February 8). I was wondering what happened to these hapless souls.
I read about the situation of these Nepalese when I was in Guyana last December. I tried hard to get some information about their whereabouts but was not successful, as I desperately wanted to help out if I could. At least I could have communicated with them (through the medium of Hindi, as most Nepalis know some Hindi).
If it is true what Attorney-at-Law Mark Conway stated, that the Magistrate “exceeded her powers,” then it is truly unfortunate. The 12 men had to the endure the hell of a Guyana jail cell and had to be in a situation where they could not speak the language, nor were they familiar with the culture of the country. I am not sure how they retained their sanity, as their transgression did not warrant jail for such a long time.
This begs the question, why pick on the Nepalese? The Chinese seemed to be given preference, and their papers quickly regularized. Those from Nigeria and other parts of the world enter and leave our borders without much commotion. So why are the Nepalese singled out? Is it because of their difficulty with the English language? Is it because they don’t have much clout?
Indian businessman John Chowdhury must be commended for taking time and money to help with the release of these 12 men, whose detention was deemed “unlawful” by Chief Justice Ian Chang.
Nepalis are known for their hard work, their skills, and their dedication. (Nepali soldiers (the Gurkhas) are famed for their bravery and courage, and have been an integral part of the British army for decades). I trust that religious organizations in Guyana would reach out to these men, and give moral and practical support, where possible. Businesses should try to secure jobs for them, as they can contribute with their skills and superb work ethic.
I have travelled dozens of times to Nepal, and stayed in the cities and villages of the country. The Nepalese people are generally very friendly and hospitable. India and Nepal have a very ‘open’ border, and it is not difficult to traverse the border, though one ought to check in with immigration authorities if one is not a Nepali or Indian citizen.
I suggest that magistrates and others make prudent decisions, especially when it comes to a group like the 12 Nepali men.