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Early Articles by Janet Jagan

The Psychology of Race Prejudice

 by Janet Rosenberg - September 2, 1942  - Room 1350 - Psychology 1
(1st known political writing by Janet Jagan, written while she was attending the Cook County School of Nursing)

(Janet (Rosenberg) Jagan met Cheddi Jagan in early 1943)

SUMMARY

             The psychology of race prejudice is not an instinctive antipathy caused by physical differences, but has its basis in fear. The cause of this fear may be traced to economic, social and political reasons or the fear that the “inferior” race might threaten the power and dominance of the “superior” race.
            I chose this subject because I am interested in the attitude of the White man toward the Negro in the United States.

  

In making a study of the psychology of race prejudice, it is well to keep in mind that we are speaking of races from the anthropological point of view. There are three essential races, the Caucasian, Negroid and Mongoloid. It is also well to keep in mind that one of the main accusations made by the prejudiced, that of differences in intelligence, is essentially wrong. W.I. Thomas expressed this clearly when he said that there are great differences in the mental abilities of individuals but not necessarily between different races.

Some authors maintain that the prejudices between the different races, particularly the White and Black, are instinctive. They claim that the Whites dislike living side by side with the Black and they resent intermarriage. This instinct they base on physical differences. Others, with clearer analysis, believe that such physical prejudices are a social creation rather than an instinctive aversion.

My point of view, in writing this paper, favours the latter. It is my belief that one of the main causes of race prejudice can be found in fear; the fear of one race being displaced by another.

I think that one of the main reasons for the strict taboo against intermarriage between Whites and Negroes can be found in the desire of Whites to keep the race pure, from fear I maintain, rather than from a strictly physical antipathy. This can be realised more fully if we look to South America, where we find a much lessened taboo and a gradual merging of the two racial stocks.

We can find the basis of the  fear of the Negro by the White in the South. It is known that the Negro population is far greater than the White. The Negro there is restricted in countless numbers of ways – voting, opportunities of owning property, education, etc. Certainly all this cannot be accounted for by saying that the psychological basis is an instinctive dislike of their color and physical characteristics. I think that there is the psychological basis of fear – fear that the Negro, by his populational majority might control the governing bodies, over-run the professions and displace the Whites in it and acquire the domination of wealth.

We find racial prejudice manifested in many ways. We find an emotion of solidarity in the oppressed and a feeling of inferiority or an oppression psychosis. On the dominant race this is aggression. This can readily be seen in the South, with its Jim Crow laws and frequent lynchings. This can readily be seen in the army life today, with segregation of the Negroes, restrictions of the Negroes from various branches of the service and with small or no advancement permitted in the ranks. We know it is not a matter of ability, for it has been proven that the Negro is as capable as the White in learning the mechanical abilities of military life; again I say it is fear.

Then one may ask, “But what of the Yellow race, is there as great a prejudice against them by the White as by the White against the Black?” Again we have the same evidences. The laws passed against immigration of the Orientals to the United States are very stringent. The physical antipathy does not appear so great but the evidence of segregation and isolation of the Mongoloids on White territory are as great. In the United States this can be traced to an economic reason of fear – fear that the Yellow man working for smaller wages would displace the White man. In my opinion, it was not until the Yellow race in America created an economic problem that actual manifestations of racial prejudice began. If the latter is true it again illustrates that prejudice is a social creation rather than an instinctive aversion.

When we stop to consider that the White race is only one-third the population of the world, but is the dominant race, we must realise that it has been a continuous struggle to maintain that superiority. Much of this superiority has been maintained by creating these prejudices which have subjugated the other races. Of course, now, in World War II, we are in the process of attempting to overcome the growing superiority of a branch of the Mongoloid race. And so we see, by means of propaganda, etc., an increasing hate and prejudice against this race which is threatening the dominance of a branch of the White race.

  

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Drake, Durant, Problems of Conduct, pp.429-430, Houghton Mifflin Co., Mass., 1921

Miller, Herbert, Race, Nations and Classes, pp. 146-158, J. B. Linpincott, Pa., 1924

Chesnut, Charles, The Negro Problem, pp. 81-83, James Pott Co., N.Y. , 1903

Wissler, Clark, Men and Culture, pp. 296-301, Thomas Cromwell Co., N.Y. 1923

Sat. Eve. Post, 214:14, June 22, 1942, The Case for the Minorities, Wendell Willkie.

 

Copyright ©  Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2009

 

Canadian Seamen in Guyana -1949

by Janet Jagan

I thought of recording a piece of history which, probably very few Guyanese know. I believe that just about everyone involved in the incident is dead except for me.

It was one of Guyana’s early encounters with Canadians, but not high-level executives and engineers like those at the bauxite company in Mc Kenzie, now Linden, but with Canadian workers and trade unionists.

The happening took place in April 1949 when two Canadian vessels lay at anchor in Georgetown harbour, the Sunavis and the Sunwhit, owned by the Aluminum Company of Canada, Alcan. The Canadian Seamen’s Union had called a worldwide strike which meant that all ships in port with union members on board, were on strike, whichever port they were in. The Canadian Seamen’s Union (CSU) was seeking better pay for its seamen, a shortened work week of 48 hours at sea and 40 hours in port and a closed shop. There was also a jurisdictional dispute with ship owners trying to force CSU members to join another union, Canadian Lake Seamen’s Union and if not scabs were introduced to get CSU members off ships.

So it was in all, a highly explosive situation and one the CSU decided to fight by calling a worldwide strike of its seamen. In Georgetown harbour, when the strike began, police officers boarded the ships and eventually, when it was clear that the boats were not going to move, went for warrants for the arrest of the seamen.

According to the account in the book “Against the Tide” the story of the Canadian Seamen’s Union by Jim Green: “While there Sunavis crew waited for the warrants to be served, they were able to secure the backing of the British Guiana and West Indies Federated Seamen’s Union which vowed not to touch any CSU ships.

The British Guiana Trade Union Council declared that if this action was not sufficient, it would find other means of support. The seamen secured the gangplank and maintained watches. On April 4, two truckloads of steel helmeted police armed with revolvers, tear gas and rifles assembled on the docks and were loaded into police launches. They cast off and headed for the Sunavis.” The seamen were able to head off the show of force with words. They said “This is Canada” (meaning the ship) and as the book reported: “Amazingly the police turned and left without boarding or attempting to serve the warrants.”

The author expressed the belief that this was because a major sugar strike had just concluded and the Governor was anxious to avoid any more bloodshed. (Was he referring to the Enmore strike of 1948 which continued after the killing of the Enmore Martyrs on June 16, 1948?)

Scab crews were flown in from Canada, but there was some confusion because they were used to receiving higher rates than those offered to man the two Canadian ships. In the meantime, the crew of the Sunwhit did not do as well as those of the Sunavis. They were arrested and taken ashore and thrown in prison. They were charged and put on bail the next day.

The author records how the crews were supported during the strike: “Unknown to the authorities, the CSU members had two secret links to the shore. One was Cheddi Jagan, leftwing politician and organizer destined to become Guyana’s first premier elected under universal adult suffrage, who rowed out to the ship in a skiff to bring news and food.” The other shore link was a sailor who used to swim back and forth to the boat, unknown to the police.

I remember the period well. Dr Jagan, myself and others used to row out to the ships almost every night carrying water, loaves of bread and other food and news. We helped the crews to obtain the services of local lawyers and helped arrange accommodation and meals for the seamen who had been arrested and put on bail.

It was a heady period and the seamen were strong and courageous men, loyal to their union. We learned a lot from them.

The local unions, unfortunately were not strong enough to resist pressures. The TUC weakened and the Waterfront Workers’ Union members loaded and unloaded Canadian ships. Finally, the crew men of Sunavis were arrested and on June 1, 1949 they were behind bars in the prison.

The book notes that they were “driven up the street like a bunch of cattle to the court.” They were held in prison for 16 days before being released.

The story as it relates to Guiana ends thusly: “After attending a party thrown in their honour by Cheddi Jagan, they were flown home.” And so ends the story of the Canadian Seamen in Guyana.

Copyright ©  Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2009

 

British Guiana - Our Case

Written in 1953 by Janet Jagan

British troops have occupied Guiana. The Constitution has been suspended. Elected Ministers have been dismissed. The Legislature has been prorogued. Meetings are banned. Police are raiding scores of homes. The Governor is virtual dictator.

What brought about this crisis? Officialdom alleges a Communist plot to create disorder and overthrow government, but no evidence is produced.

Strangely enough our Party has done little else in its brief four month period in ministerial office than attempt to implement its election manifesto of April,1953, which stated:

We intend to amend ill existing laws and regulations which restrict the civil liberties of the people such as banning of individuals, books and films.

We shall introduce laws making it a crime to discriminate against any person or persons on account of race or religion.

We shall guarantee freedom of press, worship, speech, assembly and association as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Other items in the programme were:

Laws to protect the trade unions, including repeal of the Trade Disputes (Essential Services) Ordinance and a measure based on the U.S. Labour Relations Act; land reform, land settlement, security of tenure for farmers and provisions for agricultural loans; better control of the expenditure of the Public Works Department and enquiry into its administration; equal educational opportunities for all, with nursery schools and secondary education scholarships; low rental housing schemes; reorganisation of medical services; social insurance measures; reform of local government; Workmen's Compensation to cover industrial diseases; increase of direct taxes and reduction of indirect taxes; establishment of subsidiary industries; speedier implementation of the Factories Ordinance; and centrally planned drainage and irrigation.

We passed a Bill in the House to repeal a fascist law prohibiting importation and distribution of progressive literature We opened doors to everyone by lifting certain bans. We passed legislation forcing employers to recognize for collective bargaining trade unions with majority support.* We increased loans to farmers. We passed an amendment to the security of tenure for rice farmers ordinance in order to help farmers during drought. We campaigned to remove church control of schools. We tightened up on public works expenditure, reducing votes in the bloated estimates. We curtailed unnecessary house building for senior government officials. We began a revision of fees of government doctors in order to help the poor. We were initiating legislation to reform local government by introducing adult suffrage and abolishing the system of nominated persons. We advocated jobs for local men in the police force and in other categories. We refused to send delegates to meet the Queen in Jamaica.

We increased the royalty on the proposed hydroelectric station. We were preparing an increase of royalties and of taxation of natural mineral resources. We refused to grant leases of crown lands to landlords already possessing large holdings.

We sent a delegate to Suriname to secure rights for Guianese fishermen in Dutch Guiana waters. We increased the number of scholarships known as People's Scholarships. We refused payment to the members of the State Council. We introduced, legislation to suspend the Essential Services Act with reference to the right to strike, and for control of money lenders. We established committees to investigate the domestic workers' problem, the revision of the Workmen's Compensation Ordinance and for machine stations for farmers. We appointed ordinary people to Government boards and committees.

We kept in close contact with our people visited the countryside regularly, informing them of our activities and pointing out the constitutional checks. As these Constitutional brakes became more evident we exposed them one by one. At the same time as we occupied ourselves almost fully with local problems, we never lost sight of international problems: we pledged solidarity with the struggles of other colonial peoples, and with the movement to end all wars: and we passed a resolution in the House protesting about the Rosenberg case.

We refused to fraternize with the Governor and the officials. Our Ministers refused to play ball in secret meetings of the Executive Council and used their voting strength to fulfil Party pledges. Our Ministers refused to relinquish old trade union affiliations and continued as active trade unionists. We never forgot the struggle was not only one of day to day administration but of building the national liberation movement. We prepared the minds of people for that struggle by educating them in Party groups. We encouraged reading and discussion. Party membership increased two-fold and organised groups reached one hundred. We were helping little people to get a square deal in a thousand and one grievances. They were learning in only four months that People's Progressive Party government meant more equality of opportunity for the smaller man.

Our tremendous growth of strength and confidence from the Guianese, even to winning over civil servants and police to the Party, frightened the United Kingdom officials who saw their power waning. Despite official efforts at sabotage and the Governor's tricks of arranging the agenda of the Executive Council and postponing matters - also his frenzied visits around the country to gather personal support - we were still on the up-grade. The official element saw clearly that, despite all their efforts to split the Party and to undermine its influence and its popularity, and keeping Ministers tied to files, encouraging them to lose contact with the masses - the people were with us. The officials quickly learned that we were not of the same calibre as Gomez of Trinidad and Adams of Barbados and Bustamente of Jamaica. We would not forsake our principles upon receipt of high salaries and social prestige. Therefore in four months they were able to see that we remained what we were when we went to the electorate in April. There was no other way for them to remove the threat of final success of our movement for self government and eventual national independence but to use the most drastic means possible. They brought in the British Army to re-establish Colonial Office supremacy in Guiana.

Talk of a Communist coup and uprisings is more fantastic than Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Not one of the Party leaders had gone so far as to even think of guns and bombs. What need was there for terrorism when we were sailing smoothly and constitutional changes were fast approaching? Communism was made the bogey to re-establish the old order of graft, corruption, favouritism and soft jobs for civil servants deposed from, India and Palestine.

Since October 9, the Party has called upon the Guianese to resist in every possible way the British action - in general strike, non-co-operation and non-violence. The people have contributed generously to a fund to send delegates abroad. There is no doubt that the tempers of workers have been aroused by police raids on leaders' houses and by the shocking refusal of governmental facilities for the departure abroad of Burnham and Jagan.

The present situation has only succeeded in making the picture of imperialism sharper in the minds of the masses who now see more clearly than a hundred lectures could tell what British colonialism means. They know too that this is an effort to break up forever their beloved Party and are united in their stand behind the movement.

We call upon the great freedom-loving Labour Movement of Britain to help us.

Without your help our struggle and the struggle of all colonial peoples for better living conditions and democratic government is in jeopardy. This blow is meant to strike fear in the hearts of all progressives abroad.

We have right on our side. We have done nothing but struggle honestly on behalf of thousands of poverty-stricken Guianese.

Our case rests with the good people of Britain.

*The Sugar Producers' Association had refused to recognise the Guiana Industrial Workers' Union, which had the full confidence of the workers as evinced in the three-and-a-half weeks complete shut-down of the sugar industry that began on August 30. Yet the Sugar Producers' Association continued to recognise the Man-Power Citizens' Association, a company union which has long lost the confidence of the sugar workers. On September 24 the Minister of Labour, introducing a Labour Relations Bill to compel employers to recognise a trade union holding a Majority of members in a given industry, sought to carry it through its three readings as a matter of urgency and for this moved suspension of standing orders. The Speaker (nominated not elected) refused although it is provided that this suspension is valid, if the consent of the House were given (and it was clear that the House would consent, since the People's Progressive Party had an obvious majority). The P.P.P. members left the House in protest against this ruling.

Copyright ©  Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2009

 

PPP Ten Years of Service

(Written by the General Secretary of the PPP for 1960 Congress Programme,
printed in
Thunder
, 23 April 1960 by Janet Jagan)

This year, 1960, is the tenth anniversary of the People's Progressive Party. It was in January 1950 that the Party was formally announced through the first publication of its official organ, Thunder.

The Party has moved in the direction of national independence and the transformation of Guiana into a socialist nation with a balanced industrial‑agricultural economy. It has sought to secure and maintain the interests, well being, and prosperity of the downtrodden people of Guiana, and to win and preserve civil liberties and human rights.

The Party, throughout the ten‑year period, has worked to unite the people into a movement capable of battling for the rights of the people. That this has been achieved is manifest in the tremendous political progress made during this period. Expressing and demanding the right of the people, the PPP has brought a tremendous change‑over from limited franchise and full executive control in the hands of the Colonial Office representatives to adult suffrage and a ministerial form of government. And now, t h e attainment of independence is within sight!

Who can deny that these changes would have been delayed if the force, and unity forged by the PPP had not been present?

Throughout the decade of success and failure, loyalty and betrayal, disunity and unity, the Party has held faith. During the most trying hours when the Party was close to the edge of ruin, the loyalty and firm belief of members, the Party's sound foundation in the masses of working people and farmers, have kept it alive and vigorous.

Today, after 10 years, the Party has a mass following and tremendous support from all sections of the country. It is the only multi-racial political party in BG, in spite of a major split and attempts by the racial imperialist press and other political groups to undermine the national support the Party enjoys. The Party's organ Thunder has survived police raids and police guards; it has survived financial stress and imprisoned staff. And yet today it thrives as the most popular and respected weekly in BG.

Since the last general elections in 1957 the Majority Party has succeeded where many predicted failure. It has managed to win gains for the people and push forward the economic development of the country while at the same time it has maintained its firm beliefs and principles. The Majority Party has steered its ship through troubled waters without wrecking the boat, yet without changing its direction. In other words unlike some colonial parties in office, it has not became a "stooge" to the Colonial Office.

The new Five-Year Development Plan shows the imprint of the PPP with its declared policy of greater emphasis on economic over social development.

The Party has acquired its own headquarters building, "Freedom House”. The PPP Education Trust with thousands of dollars in its bank account is a permanent record of the Party's contribution to the whole country. The Party has published a number of worthwhile booklets and owns a first class library.

And finally, after 10 years of service, the Party enjoys a name highly respected in Guiana and throughout the world.

Copyright ©  Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2009

 

Why PPP retains its mass support

(The following is the text of a talk by Janet Jagan, General Secretary of the PPP in 1961 and first appeared in the "Thunder" of 22 July, 1961)

As General Secretary of the People's Progressive Party I have been asked to speak to you on the contribution which the PPP has made to the development and welfare of this country, what the Party stands for, and in what direction it is heading.

The People's Progressive Party, without a doubt, is the most discussed political party in the Caribbean and has been for the past decade the most notable political organisation in this area. Its activities and policies, the statements of its leaders have all been analysed and misrepresented since the Party was first organised.

Balanced against this harsh criticism and the barrage of hate and slander is the other side of the scale which contains devoted members and supporters who have voted the Party into office in the only two elections we have had under universal adult suffrage.

The question often asked by those who read the biased press reports and who listen to the hysterical utterances of the Opposition is - how is it that the PPP continues to maintain the support which has gained it victory in two major elections?

Of course, the answers most often heard are the ones slandering you - they say you are ignorant, that you know no better; they say the PPP has support only among the uneducated, the PPP fools the people. But how reliable are answers like these? Are the poor ignorant? Are they fools? We do not think so. We know that the strength of the PPP lies in a number of facts and reasons. Let me outline a few of them to you.

First of all, the PPP is the oldest political party facing the elections. As a Party its policy and programme and its leaders are well known. They are tried and tested, and in the test have come out with flying colours.

The policy of the PPP which is today being so much discussed, praised and attacked is nothing new to the members and supporters of the Party who voted us into office in 1953 and again in 1957 on the basis of an election manifesto which had already set out the Party's stand on such issues as independence, land reform and dual control of schools.

Through an intensive programme of political education, the majority of people have well understood the Party's chief aim of achieving independence and the reason for this. Let me read you a portion of our 1953 election manifesto:

"So long as a country is a colony therefore the problems arising in it will always be solved in a way suitable to imperialism. Only with independence will the establishment of socialism in our country be possible. From which it follows that only political and economic independence from imperialism will create the conditions necessary for really progressive development in any colony.".

Another important factor is, of course, that the policy and activities of the PPP come from you, the people, and are not thrust upon you as is the case with recently-formed political parties, which spring up like mushrooms soon after election dates are announced, and die as rapidly after the last vote is counted.

In other words, the people's confidence is built on many things, long association, wholesome and honest dealings with people, the fact that the PPP and its leadership always move among and with the people and is never divorced from their daily life and work. One might say - "delivering the goods", to use a slang.

By this I mean that during the last four years, in spite of working under a colonial constitution and suffering a number of setbacks, the record of achievement is phenomenal. There is no record of any other term of office in British Guiana equal to that of the past four years in terms of positive achievement. Under the guidance of the PPP the country has been put on the map and is at last moving.

On the economic level production has increased by leaps and bounds. Last year the total value of the country's production reached the all-time record figure of $240 million. New markets for our produce have been found.

Exports last year totalled $120 million - also an all-time record. Cooperative development and the allocation of an additional hundred thousand acres of land have further stimulated a rapidly expanding economy.

This expansion in the economy has benefited everyone, creating new jobs not only in the country but also in the towns. New investments have entered British Guiana, and massive technical and financial assistance has been obtained. The United Nations is helping us more than it is helping any of the other British Caribbean territories, to give one example.

I cannot, in this broadcast, deal in detail with the many changes and improvements which this country has seen in the last four years, but all of us cannot help realising that there has been a strong injection of new life and vigour, with the result that this country is being pulled out of the mud in which it has been stuck for over a century.

But let me, at this stage, take you back to the origins of the People's Progressive Party, and briefly trace developments from January 1950 when it was born. There were efforts to form political parties before the coming of the PPP, but as we know from history, they were short-lived.

The establishment of a stable, permanent political party was itself one of the greatest contributions which the PPP made to this country. This meant a great change in the concept of politics to the Guianese people. For politics as it had been was the politics of the individual - favours, bribery, neglect of the masses and their divorce from political life after elections.

We know that the politician before the PPP was born was interested in the electorate only at election time. In fact, remnants of that still exist today on the political level, but I predict that this is the last general election at which the old time politics will survive.

The voters used to be the means of leaping into the Legislative Council with all its grand possibilities of personal and economic benefits and social advancement. They were never a means of achieving any particular socially desirable policy. But with the emergence of the PPP, political activity became not a vehicle for personal gain by a few but a means of improving the lot of the many, particularly the poor and under-privileged.

The PPP was not organised to fight any particular election It was born three years after an election and three years before another. It was formed to mobilize the Guianese people to fight in an organised and methodical way for an end to colonial rule, against oppression, and for popular rights It patterned its structure after that of known political parties. It wrote a constitution which made certain that the party was democratically run, that the mass of the members would have the highest and ultimate voice in electing its leaders and formulating its policy. This right was vested in its annual conference of members.

The major task of the newly formed PPP was to educate the workers and farmers, to make them aware of the country's problems and the way to fight for a better life and the unification of the people for this struggle. The methods used then were new. They are now so much a part of our life that we somehow take them for granted and forget that much was originated in British Guiana by the PPP.

Public meetings, not just at election time, but systematically up and down the country, week in and week out, were started. The political education of the people of British Guiana began, It was an awakening from a slumber. These were indeed great changes, welcomed by many, hated by those who wanted you to remain quiet, subservient, ignorant and asleep politically.

But perhaps one of the most controversial of the activities of the PPP was its politics of protest, which we know succeeded in forcing a number of urgently needed changes in this country.

British Guiana had from time to time over the years experienced protests of various kinds. We read accounts of the early period of colonisation; when the Berbice slaves revolted in 1763 against inhuman conditions; of the East Coast slave rebellion sparked off by Reverend John Smith; and of the various revolts of sugar workers at Ruimveldt, Leonora and Enmore.

Those were explosions, like spontaneous combustion. They had to happen. They were unplanned, unorganised. They were the inevitable results of terrible and cruel conditions These were in a sense, protests, but were greater than protests; they were really revolts.

But at no time in British Guiana had any group of people sat down to examine the problems to see how best they could be corrected. This the PPP did. The PPP began a systematic attack on the first evil - colonialism. This organised protest against colonialism and for independence of the country, as we know, has been a successful assault.

Today because of the tenacity and persistence of the PPP we stand on the threshold of independence. We stand there entirely through the efforts of the PPP, and not through those of the weaklings who fell out when the going became too hot and the pressure too painful and who now, when the persecution and hard work are nearly over, start to sing the song of independence.

Independence for British Guiana will not be won by the efforts of the half-hearted, who only today have the courage to mention the word which was once almost taboo in British Guiana. I could name a few who almost once fainted at the thought, and who are now boldly talking about "when independence comes." But let me not trouble you with them now.

This organised protest against colonialism has included many other points of protest which result from the very nature of colonialism. I refer to the walls of privilege which we have been hammering against for over a decade.

One group, one privileged group, has always ruled in this country-ruled with an iron hand the political, economic and social life of the country. This group has fostered godfatherism and favours, it has held back progress, and it has restricted democratic rights. It was against the bastion of privilege, this almost insurmountable fortress, the PPP had to struggle. This, of course, brought forth the total venom of the same privileged clique who controlled the press. What right had the PPP to question who owned the press, to criticise the big sugar interest for piling up profits year in and year out and keeping their workers in bondage? What right had the PPP to suggest a democratic constitution which would not allow the privileged to continue to control the Legislature and the Executive? What right had the PPP to suggest universal adult suffrage, the giving of votes to the masses? These were the questions which the privileged group asked. And when the PPP won a massive victory in 1953 and swept out the old brigade they immediately used all their influence to nullify the democratic vote of the electorate.

The suspension of the constitution in 1953 will forever be a blot on the British Government which made the mistake of listening to their former advisers who had long lost contact with reality. The Interim Government was a return to power of the privileged classes, with many willing and ready puppets to do the dirty work.

Through the years of the PPP's fight to end the age of privilege, great strides have been made.

Paternalism, the handing out of charity to the workers is ending, and through the militant spirit built up by the PPP, workers are no longer begging with cap in hand for their rights; they are demanding their rights. The best jobs in Government and big business are no longer restricted to those of light colour skin as in the days of old. Some who oppose us have benefited from this change but choose conveniently to forget how it came about.

The pressure from the agitation of the PPP has brought about Guianisation in the fields of government service, business and industry. The control of boards and committees is no longer in the bands of the privileged and their friends. Ordinary farmers, workers, school teachers and others today sit on these once exalted seats.

Bad habits acquired by decades of British rule and the imitation of these habits and customs are being changed. Art and culture, formerly almost wholly imitative and the preserve of the privileged few, is shifting to a most distinctive Guianese influence. The sole ambition of most parents has been to educate their children for white collar jobs. Built on a false sense of values created by the misconception that the importee did not do manual work, there is now a battle going on to shift the emphasis in education to the technical, professional and highly skilled which will help build the nation of the future. Through the influence of the PPP, there has been a gradual move away from these old, false values.

Only with the PPP in control of an independent Guiana will the death knell of exploitation, poverty and social injustice be heard.

Copyright ©  Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2009