I commend the coalition government (2015-2020) and the PPP administration (2020-now) for funding programs and activities relating to UN General Assembly Resolution on “The International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-24). The goals of the resolution and programs related to it are to, among other things: strengthen national, regional and international cooperation towards full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of people of African descent. One of several objectives of programs and activities is to promote “a greater knowledge of and respect for the diverse heritage, culture and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies”. It is an honorable goal worthy of support from all. No doubt, this is being done by several African groups in Guyana and supported by both succeeding governments. Africans made enormous contributions to our country since slavery. Their immense contributions, as well as those of other ethnic groups, must be known by the public and celebrated. They should be taught in schools. All groups should and must be treated equally and with relative equity. Organizations of each group should be given resources to celebrate their culture, achievements, and identity.
The PPP administration is applauded for supporting the UN Resolution when it was presented in the General Assembly in December 2013 and proceeded to allocate funds to realize its goal or objective. The PNC (APNU)-AFC coalition provided massive funding of over G$500 M for programs. The PPP administration committed G$100 M annually 2021, 2022, 2023. The funding has been allocated to an umbrella group called IDPADA-G.
While both governments are saluted for honoring commitment and funding this noteworthy UN resolution, questions are asked by the public why didn’t the coalition and why isn’t the PPP administration providing similar funding to spread greater knowledge of the contributions made by indigenous people (Amerindians), Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, and other groups to the development of Guyana. Requests and proposals were made, including by this writer, to the coalition and successive PPP administrations for funding for digitization of documents (historical records) relating to Indians, Amerindians, and other groups. I penned several appeals relating to this matter. There was no movement. I visited Rodney National Archive last week. Documents relating to the indentured laborers are deteriorating and disintegration.
Documents are falling apart (breaking up like biscuits and crumbling into dust) at the national archive as well as at the national registry at GPO. It is hoped that President Ali administration will find necessary resources to digitize the records of the pioneering Indian and African ancestors and other groups. I cheer the African people for celebrating their heritage and to utilize government’s resources responsibly to achieve UN objectives of the decade of Africans.