Labour exploitation of Indo-Guyanese migrants in Trinidad
There is an absence of detailed information on the nature of exploitation of migrant Guyanese labourers in Trinidad. To fill this gap, researcher Shalima Mohammed from Trinidad presented a paper at the recently-concluded International Conference themed “The Old and The New Indenture: Labour Practices and Human Rights” (9 -11/10/21).
The Conference was held virtually and live-streamed from New Zealand, and hosted mainly by the Global Girmit Institute. The key organisers were Dr. Farzana Gounder of New Zealand and Dr. Ganesh Chand of Fiji.
SEE Video Recording of Mohammed’s presentation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTqdZqUXy48&t=26s and her abstract below:
(i). Objective: This paper will fill that gap by focusing on Indo-Guyanese migrants to Trinidad. The objective is to determine the factors that predispose the exploiter to take undue advantage of migrants. I argue that economic considerations are secondary to psychological factors in exploitation behaviour.
(ii). Design & Methods: The academic literature was reviewed for historical antecedents of exploitation of indentured immigrants on the plantations in British Guiana. Comparisons were drawn between the experiences of the indentures and those of Indo-Guyanese migrants employed in Trinidad between 1980 to 2018. To obtain personal experiences, interviews were conducted with two (2) Indo-Guyanese migrants and two (2) Indo-Trinidadians.
(iii). Results: Migrant workers were viewed as exploitable and were therefore, oppressed, abused and demoralized by workplace authority figures, co-workers, state officials and nationals. But they were also succored, supported and befriended by different people of the same categories that exploited them.
(iv). Conclusion: Factors which influence exploitation of migrants are the exploiter’s value system, social position and economic power. The exploiter is a motivated tactician whose goals, motives and needs take precedence over those of the migrant. This investigation has serious implications for Guyana as a potential receiving country of returning and new migrants in search of opportunities expected with the country’s anticipated economic turnaround from the discovery of oil.
SHALIMA MOHAMMED obtained her Master’s degree in Business Psychology from Franklin University in Ohio in the USA, graduating with a GPA of 4.0. She is a strong advocate for health and wellness practices based on Traditional and/or Alternative Healing. Miss Mohammed has presented research papers on Traditional Healing at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad, at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, and in Indore, Madhya Pradesh in India.
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