• 20 Jul, 2024

Is the PPP Government ashamed or afraid to honour Indo-Guyanese who have contributed much to their country?

Is the PPP Government ashamed or afraid to honour Indo-Guyanese who have contributed much to their country?

Is the PPP Government ashamed or afraid to honour Indo-Guyanese who have contributed much to their country?

Last week it was the international chutney icon Terry Gajraj who complained of shabby treatment from those in Government circles. His complaint went viral on social media. President Ali responded quickly to the criticisms that he favours non-Guyanese over local artistes. The “Guyana Baboo” star reported that President Ali called him. He seems satisfied that the President reached out. This week, moviemaker Mahadeo Shivraj who made seven movies, has written letters to the newspapers making similar charges and concerns as Terry Gajraj (“ Filmmaker Shivraj complains of short shrift from government, culture ministry,” - SN, April 14, 2023; I can empathize with Terry Gajraj,” KN, April 13, 2023) . Citing that “a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country,” Shivraj reported that many Government officials never responded to his invitation to attend the launching of some of his movies and productions. However, former Minister of Culture Frank Anthony , Prime Minister Sam Hinds, and President Donald Ramotar came in for high praise for their support and attendance at movie premieres. 

 

 

 

Whereas an unknown who never visited Guyana before was invited and given an honorary Doctorate degree for “appearing” in a Black panther movie, Indo-Guyanese movie “producer” Shivraj, also an actor, cannot even get Government officials to attend the launch of his productions. Similar to Gajraj, Shivraj has described shabby treatment from Guyanese officials. Like Gajraj, Shivraj’s productions have highlighted aspects of Indo-Guyanese culture, especially the classic  film, “Brown Sugar Too Bitter for Me.” 

 

 

 

Shivraj also reported shabby treatment from three APNU+AFC ministers when he wanted to release the movie “Protection Game” dedicated to Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary in 2015. He said he hit “the proverbial Guyanese brick wall” dealing with both the PPP and PNC governments. He said for his latest movie “Brown Sugar Too Bitter for Me – The Oil Dream” filmed entirely in Guyana , with an all-Guyanese Cast, he sent out 40 invitations which included the President, The Prime Minister, Vice President, all the Ministers of the Government as well as some foreign embassies. Shivraj said “NOT A SINGLE MINISTER SHOWED UP.” This is surprising for a Cabinet that loves photo ops to the extreme. 

 

Either the PPP does not realize that some Indians feel they are neglecting to address issues of concern to their base, or maybe the PPP feels invincible and does not care if it refuses to add “Indian” to Arrival Day, or appearing to be giving slight treatment to accomplished Indo-Guyanese. Some also see the Government’s refusal to consider prominent activist Dr. Vishnu Bisram for the position of High Commissioner to India as a slight to someone who has contributed much in promoting Guyana in the Diaspora and across the world. Even a staunch PPP defender who calls himself a critic castigated the Minister of Culture for ignoring Indian artistes. 

 

 

 

I am not sure who is advising the Government not to make national awards, but the PPP would do well to reconsider its refusal on giving awards, as it gives the appearance that it does not see the honoring of accomplished Guyanese as important. It cannot be that the PPP Government is ashamed or afraid to honour Indo-Guyanese who have contributed much to their country. 

 

 

 

Sincerely, 

 

M. Singh