There should be affirmative action for Indians as well

Dear Editor,

Prof Hinds calls for a sort of affirmative action plan to correct what he perceives as Africans not proportionately represented as business-owners (SN, August 1). If his focus was racial imbalances on a national scale, he clearly was disingenuous.

What Professor Hinds did was useless. The most glaring thing in Guyana today is that Indians are disappearing from every section of public sector ‒ police, army, civil service, teaching service, state agencies and state-owned corporations. If the good Professor’s mind is thinking “affirmative action”, how could he not notice and be troubled about what he sees in the public sector?

If Indians are 40% of the population, then employment rolls for every section of the public sector should approximate to 40% Indians.  Teaching and the civil service had a higher quota of Indians than they have today.  State-owned corporations are overwhelmingly dominated by Africans. The police and army manifest no more than about 10% Indians.

Racial imbalances in the public sector are a compelling and huge national issue. If government is ever going to design an affirmative action plan, it must be one to correct the egregious under-representation of Indians in all sections of the public sector.

A Professor engaged in socio-economic studies is trained in the methods of objective analyses. Objectivity is clearly lacking in his letter. Professor Hinds should show some decency by calling for an affirmative action plan to correct the racial imbalances in the public sector.

There are other specific and demonstrable acts of racial discrimination which are different from the creeping disappearance of Indians from the public sector.  I refer, of course, to the appointments of approximately 125 persons to boards and state corporations  ‒ 85% were Africans (these appointments were made within the first two months of the Granger administration taking office); recently it was revealed that of 17 permanent secretary appointments, 16 were Africans. These things go well beyond the ‘spoils’ of winning elections; they speak to institutionalizing preferences for Africans and discriminations against all other races in top jobs in state bureaucracies. Prof Hinds maintains a steadfast detachment from these blatant acts of discrimination.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Persaud

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