Indian Rights Activists have Disappointed their Constituents

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Dear Editor,

Indian rights intellectuals have disappointed their community and the country in being silent over what passes as governance under the PPP administration, especially failure of government to follow established rules and practices. The actvists were very critical of the coalition during its five years tenure. They demanded release of the oil contract and called for renegotiation. But they have lost their voice under this government. Oil renegotiation is no longer a part of their vocabulary as they give their government a tacit pass. They make no comment about Wales Development plan and the enormous amounts of borrowing. They say nothing about the PPP plan of a Chinese loan of US$1.5 billion.

The PPP government has been a two-man operation running what is really a runaway train. There is so much corruption and violations of rules. All decisions are being made by the two figures, and most of the decisions are not in the interest of supporters, much less the nation. Only a small group of cronies who are close to the two leaders are primary beneficiaries of contracts. Their supporters and the population at large get the crumbs that fall off the table.

Aside from GHK Lall, Chris Ram, and Glenn Lall, and the three are by no means Indian rights activists, no other Indian critiques or takes the government to task. Freddie Kissoon (not an Indian rights activist), Ravi Dev, Rhyaan Shah, Vishnu Bisram, and other prominent Indian intellectuals have not penned one critique of the government since it assumed power on August 2, 2020. Even Ralph Ramkarran has tempered his remarks against the government. Freddie has turned from perennial critic pre-2015 to a supporter of PPP since August 2020. The AFC and the coalition betrayed Freddie who fought the PPP to install the coalition in office, and he understandably as well as justifiably turned against them. Does he not find one thing wrong with the government to critique? All of his articles have been on APNU, WPA, and AFC.

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In contrast with Indian rights activist, African rights activist David Hinds, during the coalition tenure, spoke out against the neglect of PNC supporters and closure of the sugar estates. Under the PPP, no Indian rights activist have commented against or been critical of the government on Indian neglect and marginalization and termination of African workers. No one speaks out against religious discrimination in the award of contracts. Ravi Dev, Vishnu Bisram, Rhyaan Shah, and other Indian writers have become political eunuchs. A few like Robin Singh and Tara Singh come across as propagandists.

While the two big guns who run the government don’t care for the opinions of intellectuals or scholars, and one of them feels he knows everything, at least the view of Indian activists would be on record as opposing authoritarian behavior of their leaders. At a minimum, they can speak out against persistent corruption as David Hinds did against the coalition. The views and critiques of Swami Aksharnand, Ravi Dev, Rhyaan Shah, Vishnu Bisram, and other objective commentators matter. They are the modern day Cheddi, Janet, Balram and Singh Rai. They are our modern day heroes. Indians look up to them.

It is an understatement to say there is a failure of expectations of PPP leadership on decision making. Supporters, activists, and members of the Central Committee had expected that the leader would have changed from pre-2011 arrogance. He came across between 2016 and August 2020 as someone who learned from mistakes consulting others and listening to the public views. Now, he has become more arrogant bypassing party Ex Co members, activists, and intellectuals who played a critical in the return of PPP to office. Stalwarts say the party hardly meets to discuss issues. And as Sharmila Ally penned (KN Nov 23), key figures like Anil Nandlall, Vindya Persaud, Frank Anthony, among others, have been marginalized. Many activists who combated rigging of 2020, ballot box guardians, and those who spent personal money to secure the victory have not been rewarded. New comers and those who give huge drawbacks are beneficiaries.

The party has failed to reward supporters and activists, to take measures to prevent corruption, and to reward honest selfless workers. Most appointees have been self-serving – they are there for what they would get from the system. Those who jumped from AFC or APNU to PPP have been handsomely rewarded. Those who have been consistent supporters and played key role in the party’s victory are shunted aside for new opportunistic friends. A small group of cronies surround two big man tag team enjoying the benefits of the state. The cronies have unlimited access to the tag team while those who worked have no access and no one to champion their interests.

The country needs to be ruled by better people, those who really care about it, the poor, the working class, and those who aren’t in politics for financial gain or for the prestige. Would Indians of integrity respond to this appeal?

Would the Indian rights activists speak up against the oil contract and other contract issues, the Chinese loan, and other issues? The country waits with bated breath.

Yours truly,
Balram Gangadeen



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