The Status and Future of the Sugarcane Industry in the Indian Diaspora
Over one and a half million Indians were transported as indentured labourers to work on colonial plantations throughout the world during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their descendants have since played significant roles in the political development of several of these nations in their struggle for independence and beyond, and many of them have gone on to hold the highest offices of the land. Looking at five countries – Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Fiji and Mauritius, all of which have large Indian populations, we can see who has had the honour of leading their country.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Indians had to wait a long time after gaining independence in 1962 to see a fellow Indian as head of government. There have been two Indian Prime Ministers – Basdeo Panday was the first (1995 – 2001), Kamla Persad-Bissessar the second (2010 – 2015). The largely ceremonial position of head of state, or President, was filled by Noor Hassanali from 1987 to 1997.
Although Cheddi Jagan was the first Chief Minister and Premier of British Guiana , he was denied the opportunity to lead his country to independence, but was elected head of government as President in 1992, dying in office in 1997. Since then, Bharrat Jagdeo (1999 – 2011), Donald Ramotar (2011 – 2015) and Irfaan Ali (2020 –) have filled that role, with the latter still in office. The role of Prime Minister, nowadays an assistant and advisor to the President, has been held by Bharrat Jagdeo (for two days in 1999 in order to succeed Janet Jagan as President when she stepped down from the role for health reasons) and Moses Nagamootoo (2015 – 2020).
In Suriname, Pretaap Radhakishun was the first and only Indian Prime Minister (1986 – 1987) (the position has since been abolished). Fred Ramdat Misier was President from 1982 to 1988, followed by Ramsewak Shankar (1988 – 1990). The current incumbent is Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi (2020 –).
Fiji had one Indian Prime Minister – Mahendra Chaudhry – from 1999 to 2000, but no Indian President. Mauritius, however, with its majority Indian population (66 percent) has mostly been governed by Indian leaders since gaining independence in 1968. The Chief Minister under British rule (1961 – 1968), Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam went on to head the government as Prime Minister from 1968 to 1982. Other Indian Prime Ministers were Sir Anerood Jugnauth, who served three terms (1982 – 1995; 2000 – 2003; 2014 – 2017), Dr. Navin Ramgoolam – two terms (1995 – 2000; 2005 – 2014) and the present incumbent, Pravind Jugnauth (2017 – ). Presidents – ceremonial heads of state – were Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo (the last Governor-General before Mauritius became a republic), Cassam Uteem (1992 – 2002), Angidi Chettiar (Acting) (2002), Ariranga Pillay (Acting) (2002), Sir Anerood Jugnauth (2003 – 2012), Kailash Purryag (2012 –2015), Ameenah Gurib (2015 – 2018), Barlen Vyapoory (Acting) (2018 – 2019), and the current incumbent, Prithvirajsing Roopun (2019 – ).
Please join us THIS SUNDAY for the 116th weekly ICC (+AGI) ZOOM Public Meeting, August 21, 2022 at (1.00 p.m. Belize), (3.00 p.m. New York/Eastern time), (3.00 p.m. Trinidad/Atlantic time), (3.00 p.m. Guyana), (4.00 p.m. Suriname), (8.00 p.m. England), (9.00 p.m. South Africa), (Sun 12 midnight, India, ND), (Mon 7.00 a.m. Fiji).
Indo Prime Ministers and Presidents in Fiji, Suriname, Guyana & Trinidad
SAILESH NARAYAN (Fiji) - Course Coordinator, Language, Literature & Communication Department at The University of Fiji. Interested in Indian Diaspora Girmityas and Hindi.
PROF. DEWANAND MAHADEW (Suriname) - Global executive and versatile networker with business experience on six continents in more than 80 countries across industries.
PROF. BAYTORAM RAMHARACK (Guyana) - Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science in New York. Author of biographies on Balram Singh Rai and Jung Bahadur Singh.
DR. KIRK MEIGHOO (Trinidad) - Former university lecturer, political scientist and former temporary independent senator; now PRO of the Opposition United National Congress.
Followed by Q&A
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