Disapproval: This group of protesters
from ROAR Toronto carried out a picketing exercise at the location of
the Guyana Festival last Saturday while the “Flag Raising Ceremony”
was on. The picketers sought to focus on the ongoing crimes that have
enveloped Guyana over the past year
heads for the Festival
By Bernard Heydorn
past weekend I attended the Guyana Independence Festival in Toronto
which is always a gala event. May 26 this year marks the 37th year of
was an Awards Dinner and Dance on May 16. Receiving awards were: Mr.
Justice Vibert Lampkin, an old boy and former teacher of St.
Stanislaus College; the Ramblers (Serrao brothers Bing, Bernie and
Maurice), Guyana’s longest standing band playing music for over 50
years; Norman Sue of Norman Sue Bakery, pioneer in Guyanese and West
Indian baked products in Canada (over 25 years); Jennifer Sohan, a
singer, originally from Port Mourant, Berbice; and Guyanese Christian
Charities, long standing stalwarts in their contribution to many needy
causes in Guyana.
Thousands attended the show and display at L’Amoreux Community Centre
on May 17-18. For many, it was an opportunity to lime, meet old
friends and acquaintances, and talk ol’ time story. During my display
and sale of books, I had some interesting conversations and requests.
Like the elderly gentleman who asked me to name the B.G. Cricket team
of 1937. Man, I wasn’t even born then – my parents were barely married
and I was a long way down the tube.
lady who asked me to sing the tune that accompanied the death
announcements on Radio Demerara. Who do these people think I am?
there was the guy whose eyes lit up when he saw my books with my name.
As he got out his wallet, I thought, “A-ha! At last, a sale.” Instead,
he pulled out a crumpled piece of paper, a cut out article from Indo
Caribbean World that I had written several years ago about the
musicians Los Indios Tabajaras. He had been carrying this article
around with him all this time, with the odd chance of running into me,
so he could ask me some questions about Los Indios.
Guyanese of all ethnicities and backgrounds were there, many bringing
their children and grandchildren along, as they seek to connect and
reconnect with the past and present.
into a lady from
where I grew up, who remembered me as a small boy walking up and down
Main Street like “a lost soul.”
asked me to send him a copy of all the articles I had written in Indo
Caribbean World over the last 8 years! I had to disappoint him.
Guyanese residents from England, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New York,
Guyana, and all across the diaspora – a truly exciting and enjoyable
experience. With all the attention I was getting, a guy standing next
to me said, “Man, you have a lot of fans.” “Fans, but no funds,” I
though the cricket was cancelled because of ground conditions, folks
stood around gaffing, liming, drinking, eating up the tasty food, and
soaking up the music.
Hansraj’s Cultural Extravaganza ‘All Hell Bruk Loose’ was a knockout
and patrons got more than their money’s worth.
and Crafts caught my attention as usual. I ended up shopping an
outboard motor boat made out of corkwood that they say floats on water
but I cannot sit in it, not even in the bathtub. Also an indigenous CD
by the Couchman Family – great music. I bought an authentic, one of a
kind, hand-made electric violin, designed and crafted by Clarence
Shuman of Guyana Native Craft. When I presented it to my wife, I said,
“Now, you have to learn to play this violin, the way you play me, soft
smiled and said, “Boy, you know how to sweet talk a woman.”
Kidnapped man found in Buxton
— Viticharan Singh, a De Hoop, Mahaica businessman who was kidnapped
from his home by a gang of four armed bandits was last Saturday
rescued from a house in Buxton. Reports say that Singh looked “gaunt
and weak” after the rescue operation carried out by the GDF.
Singh is one
of a series of persons who have been kidnapped in the recent past all
of whom always seemed to end up in the village of Buxton where the
criminals appear to have a free hand in carrying on their gruesome
No one has
been prosecuted in any of these kidnappings so far even though the FBI
was in Guyana to investigate the abduction of a high profile US
operates a liquor and grocery store at De Hoop, was grabbed from his
home at around 6 p.m. on May 13 and bundled into a dark Marino car. A
GDF patrol intercepted the
US Embassy mulls staff reduction
Georgetown — Impotence in the
response capability of the Guyana security forces in the face of
rising violent crimes has led the US Embassy here to consider reducing
its complement of diplomatic personnel in the country.
U.S Ambassador to Guyana, Ronald
Godard, made this disclosure at a press conference last Friday
stating that the inability of the law enforcement agencies to offer
adequate protection would result in his office cutting back on its
The Ambassador was discussing the
Embassy’s updated Consular Information Sheet, which informed
American citizens of the increase in Guyana’s crime rate. “US
Citizens should avoid stopping or travelling to the village of
Buxton...as it is known as a base for criminal activity,” the report
On April 12, 2003 US Diplomat Stephen
Lesniak was kidnapped by two armed teenagers while playing golf at
Lusignan. Lesniak was taken to Buxton and released after a ransom of
$12 million was paid.
This, according to the Ambassador, was
alarming and, taken with other kidnappings, has caused a shock to
the international community in Georgetown.
The Consular Information Sheet warned that there is an increased
threat of kidnapping for ransom and that foreigners, who are seen as
“wealthy targets of opportunity,” are subject to random targetting.
It pointed out that “Guyanese authorities lack the capability and
resources to effectively deter or investigate these crimes.”