Being Sensitive on Race Relations in Guyana

Being Sensitive on Race Relations in Guyana

Photo : Audreyanna Thomas

In a commentary in the Guyana papers, Ms. Audreyanna Thomas advices that the Indian government should be mindful of Guyana’s race sensitivities in its invitation to people of Indian descent to attend conferences. But should she not also heed her own advice?

Ms. Thomas is Director of Communications of government owned Guysuco which is perceived as an opposition affiliated and Indian dominated industry. And she acknowledges she works for a Black dominated government. So is it racially sensitive for a perceived Black government to terminate mostly Indian workers or to close down factories where mostly Indians are employed? Ms. Thomas government and her company sent home thousands of sugar workers without a plan in place to create any new employment so these people can earn a decent living. Was that a sensitive move? A more sensitive thing that Ms. Thomas could have done was to give up her cushy job and urged the company that the millions saved be used to keep some sugar workers at theirs.

Is it racially sensitive to have a non-Indian to head the communications division of Guysuco? And why isn't there any ethnic balance in that division to reflect the composition of the work force.

Is it sensitive for Ms. Thomas to take time out of her busy schedule to comment on a matter that is not her forte and that has nothing to do with the sugar industry or Guysuco? Could she not have spent her time more constructively to find jobs for the fired sugar workers or increase revenues for the company? What business is it of Guysuco for Thomas to comment on India international affairs?

And is it sensitive for Ms. Thomas to comment on an India government policy to engage with People of Indian descent or MPs of Indian descent. India was not only engaging PIOs from Guyana but globally. That is none of Ms. Thomas or my business. India is a sovereign nation free to pursue policies in her interests. For the record, the governments of Israel, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, etc holds similar gatherings for people of their diaspora or ethnicity. And Guyana also hosts programs abroad and within Guyana for its diaspora. Should the Guyana government be sensitive to hosting these meetings? Should they be discontinued? 

Ms. Thomas said Bharrat Jagdeo is Opposition Leader for all of Guyana and David Granger is President of all of Guyana. No one can disagree. But has the President acted in the interest of all Guyanese irrespective of race?  Has her government acted in the interests of all Guyanese irrespective of race? Has the government disbursed resources fairly to reflect the diversity of the neighbourhoods or the population?

Is Ms. Thomas government mindful of the race sensitivity of the nation in its anti Indo-Guyanese policy?