A May 2, 2022 letter signed by several hundred persons to Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali has requested that the government consider “5th May be designated as “Indian Arrival Day”, and that another date be designated as “National Immigration Day”. Currently, the day, a national holiday, is designated as Arrival Day.
The letter adds: “It’s a long overdue recognition of the tremendous contributions of people of Indian origin to the unique history, vibrant culture and economic progress in Guyana”, stated Ashook Ramsaran, President of Indian Diaspora Council International. Ramsaran continued, “We also recognize the invaluable contributions over several generations that persons of Indian origin have made to the diverse culture and economic development of Guyana”.
Ramsaran and another Guyanese, Ramnarine Sahadeo Jr (Toronto, Canada) collaborated on the petition, garnering signatories in Guyana and from amongst the diaspora. The petition also received support from Indians in the diaspora in USA, Canada, UK, South Africa, Reunion Island, France, Trinidad, and India.
The organizers of the petition stated that this is petition does not, in any way, diminish the many contributions of other ethnic groups in Guyana, in particular the descendants of African slaves brought to then British Guiana against their will yet persevered under inhuman conditions. Further, the letter noted that several countries with significantly smaller percentages of people of Indian origin celebrate Indian Arrival Day (IAD) as national holidays. Among them are Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Suriname also grants an occasional IAD holiday.
By Staff Reporter