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In response to Enrico Woolford’s letter to the editor (SN Letters, 09/05/2022), some notable Guyanese
in and out of Guyana produced three letters to your newspapers pointing to some rather instructive,
yet, by no means surprising articulations and queries. The shared goal and clearly desired outcome of
this effort to coalesce around Dev’s effort to intentionally distort and obfuscate was to continue to
perpetuate a proven lie. That this effort continues even in 2022 reveals an almost hysterical ,
intellectually dishonest and downright immoral approach to an issue that merits reasoned discourse.
The first of these responses was an intervention by Swami Aksharanada (SN Letters, 09/06/2022)
where he stated that “It is extremely difficult to comprehend Mr. Enrico Woolford’s objection and
outrage at a missive by one Ravi Dev that appeared in your letter section (SN, 09/04/2022). The Swami’s
letter was followed by two interventions in your letter columns. Ryhaan Shah (SN Letters, 09/07/2022),
and Baytoram Ramharack et al (SN Letters, 09/07/2022).
Editor, in each of the three letters, the authors are unified around one central theme, namely, that the
May 1964 politically directed racial disturbances and violence in Wismar was a “massacre” of Indo
Guyanese. In support of this “massacre” contention, the writers made reference to the then British
government’s commission of inquiry report into the disturbances led by Sohan Singh in 1964. This
report was comprehensive in the examination of disturbances, description of the violence, killings,
rape, looting, arson and injuries. Significantly, the number of those killed was meticulously recorded
so that each and every Guyanese was able to note for him or herself, those killed during that
violent period resulting in the death of three (3) Indo Guyanese on the 24 th and 25 th May 1964.
Yet, the plain reading of Dev’s (SN Letters, 09/04/2022) “I was in Secondary School with the ethnic
cleansing of 1300 in the ‘Wismar Massacre’ leaves any reasonable reader with the factual
understanding that 1300 Indians were “massacred.” Of course, the COI records otherwise. Hopefully,
the referenced COI report provides “verification,” “authentication” and, or, “validation” to all who are
invested in the truth and historical accuracy in our ethnically divided society. That Dev presents he was
in school and thus has an appreciation for academic rigor illuminates the horrific distortion in increasing
the number of deaths from three to one thousand three hundred.
In closing editor, there is another element to Dev’s (SN Letter, 09/04/2022) letter that invites further
scrutiny. He refers to the bombing of the ‘Sun Chapman ‘boat as a “sinking.” Editor, on its face, this gives
the impression to the casual reader that the boat sank as a result of an accident, or, some engine failure
causing it to go under, resulting in the loss of those 47 lives (“35 bodies recovered and 12 missing”) who were killed.
The Sun Chapman was deliberately blown up by agents provocateurs.
Therein lies our collective tragedy as a nation. Words do have intentionality and meaning, therefore, we all have a responsibility to be mindful of how those words intersect with our already volatile social, ethnic and political space. This is a disappointing example of Dev disqualifying himself as an honest broker focused on an examination of the events of this period guided by truth and objective clarity. He and his supporters demonstrate the acuity of Goebbelesque propagandists.