• 07 Feb, 2023

Indo-Caribbean people, socially and politically disadvantaged

Indo-Caribbean people, socially and politically disadvantaged

Indo-Caribbean people, socially and politically disadvantaged

The majority of Indians in the Caribbean live in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), Guyana and Suriname.     They constitute the largest ethnic group in these three countries: T&T (470,118 or 35.4%) (CSO, 2011), Guyana (297,493 or 39.8%) (BS, 2012), and Suriname (148,443 or 27.4%) (GSBS, 2012). Except in Suriname, they are an under-represented and disadvantaged people, socially and politically.  

 

In T&T, the majority of Indians support the UNC party, now in Opposition under a weak, aging leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar , who lost 11 elections, including her run for Prime Ministership in 2015. Her shelf-life has long expired, but she wants to lead the party to another loss in the 2025 elections. Persad-Bissessar lost the 2015 and 2020 general elections, and has surrounded herself with hand-picked loyalists who contested safe constituency seats. In Parliament, they debate like little school boys and school girls, not even fit to be county councillors at the local government level. With such as silent, soft and incompetent Opposition, the ruling PNM Government has been assaulting and discriminating against Indians in every way.  

 

In Guyana , the condition of the mass of Indians remains the same under an Indo-President, Mohamed Irfaan Ali . There is growing disenchantment with the ruling PPP party by its largely Indian supporters because of black Opposition PNC political appeasement. They are saying that development in Guyana must not only take place in the black-dominated Linden district. Indians remain largely out of Government jobs in the public service and in State enterprises and corporations. In its 25+ years in power, the PPP has done little or nothing to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion in Government employment.  

 

Indians in T&T and Guyana are socially and politically disadvantaged because they do not have full and equal access to Government employment and resources. Writer Lahle Wolfe states: “Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.” In the case of Guyana, it seems to be a case of reverse discrimination, or self-discrimination. It is the paradox of our times that Indians are a majority population in these societies but are treated as a minority, even when the Government is led by an Indo-Caribbean President or Prime Minister.