The Indian Action Committee (IAC) wishes all Guyanese a Happy Arrival Day, and, especially, calls upon all citizens to remember the 180thAnniversary of the Arrival of East Indians to Guyana.
The IAC, an organization which promotes and preserves Indian culture and deals with the issues and concerns of persons of Indo-Guyanese origin, over the years has provided Guyanese with historical information regarding the arrival of just over 239,000 Indian immigrants who came to this country aboard 245 Coolie Ships which made a total of 534 voyages across the Kaalaa Paanii between 1838 and 1917.
The IAC also has clarified and corrected statistical errors pertaining to the arrival of the first two Coolie Ships, the WHITBY and the HESPERUS which, between them landed a total of 423 persons including 382 indentured males, 14 indentured females, 21 children and 6 Christian Anglo- Indian interpreter/ superintendents.
The IAC, as the organization has done over the years continues to recognize the endeavours by these Indian immigrants and their descendants, the persons of Indo- Guyanese origin, to develop this country.
The IAC, which has recognized important contributions by giving awards to persons from Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo, is aware that tens of thousands of East Indians have made valuable efforts in all fields of human activity in this country including business and commerce; banking and finance; the sugar and rice industries; coconuts and other crops; fishery and livestock; mining and quarrying; forestry and sawmilling; education and academia; medicine and law; journalism and communications; accounting and insurance; private and national security; the hospitality and aviation sectors; the alcohol and beverage industries; sport and entertainment; culture and religion; and politics and governance.
As all Guyanese share in this commemoration, the IAC is cognizant of the sharp downturn in Guyana’s economy over the past few years, evidence being the steadily declining economic growth rate and the worrying fact that the country’s Foreign Currency reserves have dropped below US$500 Million for the first time since 2009; and in combination with global economic events, hardships have fallen upon the poor class of Guyanese especially those dislocated in the sugar industry and those currently threatened by the planned downsizing of part of the bauxite industry.
The IAC is saddened by the surge in criminal activity in recent years and is shocked and horrified, that on the eve of this significant commemoration, in excess of a dozen Guyanese fishermen have been brutally murdered by pirates, believed to be other Guyanese fishermen.
The IAC is nauseated by the egregious sedition clause that was included in the proposed Cyber Crime Bill and calls upon all Guyanese to oppose this deliberate act to deny the citizens of this country, including those of Indo-Guyanese origin, the democratic right to feely express themselves without fear since it runs contrary to international norms and violates our supreme law, the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
Today, when the IAC looks back, the organization is amazed how those groups of seemingly helpless Indians, many of whom were illiterate, speaking in different tongues, following different customs, belonging to different religions, belonging to different castes, over the generations, managed to fuse together while seamlessly merging into the wider environment to become the strong pillar of Guyana, a young nation born out of sweat and toil, along with similar endeavours of the other ethnic groups that comprise this nation.
A Happy Arrival Day to all.