An invocation in diaspora
Perhaps first generation migrants to a place can never completely
abandon their apprehensions of an earlier, more rooted reality than
the transplanted one in which they find themselves. Perhaps the first
apprehension of home never vanishes and all other homes are referenced
from whatever that particular nucleus consisted of, negative or
These are graying thoughts, hardly
likely to occur to the “young in one another’s arms” to quote the poet
Yeats, likely though to be a certainty to those who think, like Frank
Sinatra, that “love like youth is wasted on the young.”
But such thoughts could not escape me
(and other onlookers whom I checked) as we stood in the noonday hot
sun at the Caribana launch at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday, July
18th and listened to the jockeying speeches of politicians, witnessed
the prolonged frozen photo-opped smiles of those presenting and
receiving cheques from the city or from sundry political outfits,
governmental or otherwise, and the big-it-up salutes to those in the
crowd who were thought to be worthy of such big-ups.
A sense of deja-vu reigned. It was not
allayed by observing the crowd on hand. A small crowd, to start, aging
Caribbean/ Canadian citizens accompanied by the young too disempowered
still to protest, held firmly by the hands of grandparents or being
pushed in baby buggies, or the young bussed in early from sundry
schools and day-cares and happily occupying the few available seats
while those aunties and grannies and nen-nens who arrived at the
appointed hour of twelve o’clock hugged the shade and tried to see and
hear from afar.
Call me a liar if you want but I could
count the few young adults there on the fingers of my hand. And don’t
talk about diversity! While politicians boasted from the platform
about Toronto being the most multicultural city in the world, my beady
eyes took in the unambiguous West Indianness of the crowd diversified
by a sprinkling of office workers maybe from the periphery of Nathan
Phillips Square and extending their curiosity or just having lunch.
So it was we and we alone, as far
as I was concerned, pushing, shoving, heaving and groaning to put the
show on the road again this year for an
imagined community of interest, organizing and planning to put money
in the pockets of hoteliers and other merchants, showin we motion,
showin we riddim, showin how we could wine and have a good time,
showin dem how we is we.
GIHA president for Toronto visit
Toronto — The very outspoken
President of the Guyana Indian Heritage Association (GIHA), Ms Ryhaan
Shah, will be in Toronto this upcoming weekend as guest of Roar
Toronto. While here, Ms Shah will meet with the media and some MPs and
will be the guest speaker at a public forum on Saturday July 26 at
3:00 p.m. in the French Room of the International Centre, 6900 Airport
Road, Mississauga (use Hall 2 entrance).
Ms Shah will also be releasing in Toronto a GIHA report, Indians
Betrayed, Black on Indian Violence, Government’s Denial and Inaction
which was launched a few weeks ago in Guyana. The 164-page report
combines five papers that were presented earlier at a symposium which
include GIHA’s own findings from its field visits and counselling of
victims of ethnic violence.
The report also contains papers on the criminal
transfer of wealth by economist Dr. Ramesh Gampat and medical
scientist Dr. Somdat Mahabir; one on the failure of the media to
report ethnic atrocities as hate crimes by Ryhaan Shah; another
entitled "Manufacturing Docility" by Swami Aksharananda and one on the
role of the African police force in the violence against Indians by
Ms Shah rose to prominence after denouncing the
violent crimes that were targeted at Indo-Guyanese last year. She was
instrumental in founding GIHA which has since become a recognized
voice for Indian rights and interests in Guyana and abroad.
Shah is a trained journalist who was General
Manager of GTV between 1998-99. She received the 1999 Caribbean
Broadcasting Union Awards for Best Television Documentary in
Caribbean, Remembering Burnham" and Best Television Feature the
Caribbean, "Life & Times of Cheddi Jagan."
T&T not backing out of ICC
US demand from Caricom means no military aid
By Sandra Chouthi
Indo Caribbean World
The Trinidad and Tobago government has decided not to accede to the
request of the United States to enter into bilateral immunity or
"non-surrender" agreements which will exempt US nationals from the
jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The George W. Bush administration made the call
for six Caricom countries — Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Antigua and
Barbuda, Dominica and Belize and St Vincent and the Grenadines — to
sign this agreement or face the suspension of military aid by July 1.
In 2002 Trinidad and Tobago received (US) $300,000 in foreign military
funds, an initial contribution of $1.6 million for the installation of
equipment and another $116,000.
National Security Minister Howard Chin Lee on
July 3 said that this country’s military staff receives training in
The government has not given in to the United
States’ demand - it would be an awkward move considering that former
president Arthur NR Robinson was a significant player in the
establishment of the ICC on July 1, 2002.
Responding to the move, Robinson said on July 1
that the move to blacklist Trinidad and Tobago was "extremely
Additionally, "It is an attack on the universal
criminal justice system, on international democratic institutions and
the International Criminal Court. It is action taken against small
countries that cannot afford to defend themselves. It is extremely
important that all countries involved unite against the unilateral
action of the United States which is contrary to international law."
Prime Minister Patrick Manning said this
country’s unconditional support of the ICC was based on principle,
adding that the ICC was established on the initiation of former
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) was initially
divided over the issue when the heads of government met at Montego
Bay, Jamaica earlier this month. By July 5 their position was a lot
clearer. The heads of government issued a statement declaring their
"strong support" for the principles and purposes of the ICC.