I understand through the dailies that there is an initiative to rename fifty streets in Georgetown in anticipation of fifty years of independence. While I have some reservations about this initiative, I ask the committee/board to consider renaming one street in the name of Bechu. To recall, Bechu was an indentured Indian in British Guiana in the latter stages of the nineteenth century who challenged the indignities of indenture through numerous letters to the then Chronicle. This was remarkable during the days when a majority of indentured Indians were non-literate to even challenge their basic existence much less to write about it in a form resistance.
Of equal importance is that Bechu’s leadership roles challenged the concept that there were never any identifiable Indian leaders during indenture. Yet, this individual is practically unknown among Guyanese. Of course, Clem Seecharan dedicated an entire book on the life of Bechu but those who want to know more from their own perspective can visit Guyana National Archives.
I am sure many would like to suggest their favourite names as well. However, I am asking for Bechu, one name, to be chosen to represent and remind all Guyanese of those who endured hardships on those brutal tropical plantations during eighty years of indentured servitude. Am I asking too much? Let me say that my call to include Bechu has nothing to do with Indo-centric representation but a representation of one aspect of Guyana’s history.