Hamilton Green’s distortion of history – setting the record straight

first_imgDear Editor,The media recently carried a letter penned by Mr Hamilton Green in relation to the tragic sinking of the Son Chapman due to an explosion in the Demerara River. This incident occurred on July 6, 1964.In his letter, Mr Green said he was not pointing a finger at anyone for what happened, however, his entire letter was pointing a finger at the PPP.In recent times, the PNC-led APNU has been trying to use this incident to whip up racism for political mobilisation. Racism is their main weapon to try to cling to power.Mr Green is aware that neither the enquires that were held, nor the colonial police, which at that time was working with the PNC to force the resignation of the Government of 1961-1964, ever made any changes against the PPP for that incident.Mr Green resorted to circumstantial evidence to prove his point.He insinuated that it could have been a reprisal for what occurred at Wismar/McKenzie on May 25 and 26, 1964. This is how he put it “… over 75% of the Indo Guyanese were roughed up and forced to flee their homes and businesses…”A worse understatement was never made. The “roughing up” that Mr Green spoke about were the dozens of persons killed, women and children raped. Many of the women had bottles rammed into them. Even little babies were torn from the hands of their mothers and murdered. Two hundred buildings, homes and businesses were destroyed completely. Many perished in the flames. This included the family of Senator Christine Ramjattan, who almost lost her sight and her father was brutally murdered.The first report on May 26, 1964, of the previous day’s events, put the amount of dead at twenty-seven (27) and forty (40) injured by gunshot, many of the forty died later. Of course, dozens more died on May 26, 1964, in that massacre.Mr Green wrote that that was a reprisal for what was happening on the Coast, mainly the East and West Coast of Demerara.That is just not true. Most of those who suffered death and destruction of their homes were Indo Guyanese. The death count just before the massacre at Wismar/McKenzie was thirteen (13) Indians and five (5) African Guyanese.The truth of the matter is that the PNC, with the support of the British colonialists through the British Police Commissioner, had gone on a terror campaign against PPP supporters.During the strike by GAWU for Union recognition that Mr Green spoke about, the police were used to harass sugar workers. The PNC supplied scab to Bookers to break the strike.PNC recruited thugs to go into villages to beat and harass sugar workers. They were often transported by Police vehicles. It is clear that the British decided to use the strike to create mayhem as part of the destabilisation. The PNC and MPCA were the main tools of the colonial master.While the colonial police facilitated the attacks on the PPP members and supporters, they prevented sugar workers who had formed committees to guard their villages from the frequent attacks. Many times the police, accompanied by thugs, arrested and delivered serious beatings on them. One at Blairmont was murdered in his yard. Needless to say, no one was ever arrested.The PNC X-13 plan that was exposed in this period was a terrorist plan to create as much violence as possible to prevent independence from being granted. It was in operation since 1962 but only exposed in 1964. It was that plan that was being executed by the PNC. That is why the British-controlled Police took no action to stop the violence directed against Indian and African Guyanese PPP members and supporters.Coming back to the Son Chapman tragedy, let me say that the most likely cause was accidental. I say this since if the PPP had anything to do with it, that would have given the British the condition to jail and disgrace the PPP and in particular, Cheddi Jagan. It is apposite to point out that by then a large part of the PPP leadership was detained without trial or even charged.What was known also, was that Son Chapman was ferrying explosives to Wismar/McKenzie, for a while before the PNC’s murderous rampage of May 25-27, 1964.The police had many reports of this. The Premier, Cheddi Jagan, told Peter Owen, the British Commissioner of Police, that he had information that this was happening months before the explosion in Son Chapman. And months before May 25 and 26, 1964. Of course, the colonial police paid no heed.Indeed, from all the papers that have been released from the US State Department and the British Foreign Office, we see how they were protecting the PNC leadership and their criminal acts. Even Mr Burnham, who was found with an illegal weapon in his house, was protected by the Governor. He ensured that the case against him was dismissed.Moreover, the papers revealed that the PNC via Mr Burnham was collecting money from the CIA that period to help with their organisation. That continued until 1973.The Governor even went so far as to decree that individuals or organisations who or which were found in possession of the PNC’s X-13 plan would face compulsory jail time. This was another demonstration of the British protecting the PNC in their efforts to frustrate the granting of independence.The question may be asked, where was the PNC getting the dynamite from. Those old enough would know that dynamite was the preferred explosive used by the PNC at the 1963 and 1964 riots.Recall that large quantities of dynamite were reportedly stolen from the quarries owned by Correa (A PNC legislative member) Martin Fredericks (he was a candidate on the UF list) and De Freitas (supporter of the UF). The police never recovered the explosives, nor were any arrests made.The amounts taken were large. Fredericks Quarry, for instance, lost 500 lbs. of Gelignite (dynamite), 2 coils of Fuse Wire, 1600 Detonators and 400 electric wire. This was reported by the police. The number of explosives taken from Corriea and De Freitas was just as large or even greater.It was those that were ferried up to McKenzie and were used in blasting buildings during the holocaust (using Burnham’s description) at that location. They were also used extensively on the Coast by PNC’s terrorists and in Georgetown in 1963, at Rice Marketing Board and the bombing of stores owned by Indian Guyanese.It was very clear that part of the cargo on the Son Chapman was dynamite from the stolen amounts.In passing, let me state that none of the explosives came from Demba Bauxite Company at McKenzie; their stock was not breached and all were accounted for.Historians can be sure that these explosives were in the possession of the PNC for the following reasons:In the yard of Mr Reid, who became number 2 in the PNC, dynamite and detonators were found. He was then in a senior position at Bookers and living in Bel Air Park. He was never charged.On March 27, 1964, an explosion took place in the house of Joseph London at Asylum Street, New Amsterdam. London was a PNC activist. He lost seven of his fingers in the explosion. He obviously had the explosives in his hands when it went off. When the police searched his house, they found “seven (7) sticks of blasting gelatine and ten (10) detonators with fuses.Finally, on August 17, 1964, the colonial Commissioner of Police, who collaborated and defended PNC thugs and terrorists, was forced to admit that it was acts of the PNC. He had to in light of many exposures that were taking place internationally, including the United Nations. Peter Owens said; “… enquires so far have revealed that there exist an organised thuggery which is centrally directed…” He later, in a sworn affidavit, stated that “… subversive and criminal activities of a criminal gang attached to a political party known as the People’s National Congress…” existed. This was the gang responsible for the destruction of that period.What action did he take? None. Instead, he used the occasion to further persecute the victims. A large part of the PPP’s GAWU leadership was detained without trial.These included the Deputy Premier Brindley Benn, Education Minister CV Nunes, President of GAWU, Harry Lall, General Secretary of GAWU, Phelomena Sahoye among others. Thirty-four PPP leaders were held at Sibley Hall in the Mazaruni River.Only Robert Jordon from the PNC was held. He was a Legislative Assembly Member for the Wismar/McKenzie Constituency. He was quickly released.For its part, the PPP never stopped fighting for a unity of the Guyanese people. Immediately after the Wismar/McKenzie massacre, the PPP in a statement said “Yesterday, May 25, 2019, Guyanese were given a foretaste on what they might expect from a Government constituted by a coalition of the UF and the PNC. In Wismar, one hundred (100) dwelling and business places were destroyed by fire and eight hundred (800) non-PNC-UF Guyanese became refugees from an area in which many of them had spent most of their lives.“It is a sad commentary on the quality of the UF-PNC leadership that by such going on as took place yesterday at McKenzie our Afro-Guyanese citizens are made to appear to the world as a ruthless and destructive mob whereas their whole history shows them to be a kind-hearted and generous people.”“Afro-Guyanese must surely stop now to think about the leadership they have been following and the direction in which they are being led. As was evident after 1962 and 1963, violence can only lead to economic stagnation and unemployment. The leadership of the UF need not work for a living it is wealthy, but the working people who follow the UF and PNC should look ahead to discover the faith of their future”.Mr Green knows all these things, he played a big part in it. It was in this period that he gained the reputation as being one of the PNC’s notorious strongmen.Distortions and half-truth will not serve any good purpose at this time. If our country is to heal, we need the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!Isn’t it time to come clean Hammy?Sincerely,Donald RamotarFormer Presidentlast_img read more

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CBL Blamed for Increment in Forex Rate

first_imgAssistant Secretary General of the National Foreign Exchange Bureau of Liberia (NAFIBOL), Nimely Saye, frowns on the CBL’s continuous failure to address the exchange rate issue on the Liberian market. But Ex SG of Money Changers Association Blames Supply and DemandThe assistant secretary general of the National Foreign Exchange Bureau of Liberia (NAFIBOL), Nimely Saye, has blamed the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the high increase in the US-Liberian dollar exchange rate on the Liberian market, because of its inability to regulate the forex market.Saye made the remarks yesterday in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer at his forex bureau on Broad Street, when he indicated that the supervision and regulations department at the CBL has failed to work in the interest of legal foreign exchangers, thereby leaving the market open.He said if the CBL does not put the situation under control now, the exchange rate would reach L$150 to US$1 by July, “because of the current open market situation.”Saye, who has been in the forex business for over 15 years, indicated that the situation continues to hamper legal exchangers in paying their taxes, rent, salaries, and other fees.He said despite a series of meetings with authorities of the bank to intervene in the ongoing situation on the Liberian market, they (bank authorities) appear unmoved by their concerns.“We are not benefiting under Governor Milton A. Weeks’ administration, because there are many illegal foreign exchangers in the various street corners that are changing at their own rate, including cement depots, gas stations, rice depots, supermarkets, and stores thereby hampering the legal forex business,” Saye said.According to him, the protection of legal exchangers by the Central Bank of Liberia can easily stabilize the exchange rate on the market in the shortest possible time.He said, “We had a blissful time with the Dr. J. Mills Jones administration, because of his ability to listen and willingness to work with the legal bureaus and the association.“This led to a stable rate on the Liberian market that would last for three to four months consistently without any daily or weekly increment, from L$88, 89, and 90 to US$1.”According to him, there are many illegal forex businesses than legal ones which, he said, deserves serious attention by the government, particularly the CBL, adding, “We have only 103 registered bureaus across the country.”“The CBL takes seven to eight months nowadays before coming to get rid of illegal foreign exchangers. The bank needs to get rid of them on the market or press on them to legalize their status and operate under CBL regulations.“Everyone is changing money without any restriction, which has a serious consequence on the economy and the country. We are the middlemen between the commercial bank, Central Bank, and business people, but we are not given the opportunity to play our role well,” he said.Saye said commercial banks, cement depots, gas stations, and rice depots do not have the right to engage in the money exchange business due to the lack of license from the CBL, but they nonetheless continue to do such a business, which is currently affecting the country.He said the association is confident that the Weah administration will work to have the situation addressed, stating, “We can only get a better result in the country and the economy if the CBL takes action against illegal forex businesses.”Saye called on President George Weah to issue an Executive Order, which he believes will help to reduce or stabilize the exchange rate and also ensure that those who are not licensed to operate as money exchangers in the country are barred from doing so.“We all observed that few hours to President Weah’s State of the Nation Address, the rate dropped because money exchangers didn’t have money. If the business people hold on to their money, it will be a serious problem,” he stated.“In 1999, the Central Bank of Liberia enacted a law establishing the Foreign Exchange Bureau and since the act was created, we have been protected according to the laws.”However the first secretary general of the Liberia Money Changers Association, Mr. Idrissa Kaba has objected to the claim that the CBL is responsible for the high exchange rate of the Liberian dollar to the US dollar.“Every student of economics,” Kaba said, “will realize that what is happening between the US dollar and the Liberian dollar is the issue of supply and demand and not because there are what someone will describe as ‘illegal money changers’ in the country.”Kaba said “The supply of the US dollar is lower than that of the Liberian dollar on the market and that is the reason the demand for the US dollar has affected the Liberian dollar.” He added that if the Liberian government can provide dollars to all major foreign businesses, including the huge supermarkets, Club Beer, Coco Cola, CEMENCO, among others, the pressure would naturally reduce on the Liberian dollar and it will normalize the exchange rate.Central Bank of Liberia in a release issued by Mr. Cyrus Wleh Badio, Head of Corporate Communications, said yesterday that despite an end-of-year press conference on December 21, 2017 on the state of the Liberian economy, stories still linger about alleged illegal capital transfers. These stories linger because the statistics that the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has released have been taken out of context and/or simply misunderstood.“It is therefore important, that the CBL clarifies these stories to prevent speculations that have the propensity to undermine the credibility and stability of the financial sector and by extension present wrong signals to the public including our development partners, current and potential investors, among others.“During the December 2017 Press Conference, the CBL disclosed that between November 2016 and October 2017, outward personal remittances amounted to US$449.41 million while during that same period, Liberia received US$545.78 million in inward personal remittance, representing a net gain of US$96.37 million.“The US$449 million mentioned comprised all transfers in cash made by residents to non-residents and transfers between resident and non-resident individuals on one hand. On the other hand, it also comprised transfers of income of border, seasonal, and other short-term workers who are employed in the economy where they are not resident. It is the total of all monies remitted through Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria (another money transfer operator) and via SWIFT1 by individuals and/or businesses to the rest of the world.“Furthermore, reporting that there was US$449.41 in outward personal remittance in 2017 does not in any way suggest that the money was transmitted directly from the CBL or transmitted to unidentified foreign accounts. The CBL wishes to emphasize that the sources of the monies that were remitted were not from the Central Bank of Liberia. In addition, nowhere in the CBL publication does the issue of unidentified foreign accounts arise.“For the calendar year 2017 (i.e. January-December, 2017), provisional statistics show that the total outflows of personal remittances amounted to US$445.3 million. Of this amount, about 31.5 percent was transferred through Money Transfer Operators (i.e. Western Union, MoneyGram, and RIA) while the remaining 68.5 percent were through banks using SWIFT. Most of the SWIFT transactions (which constituted 68.5 percent of the total outflows) were carried out by businesses engaged in construction activities, rice and frozen food importation, auto parts, supermarkets and trading businesses, among others.“Over the last 2 years, preceding the elections period, the total outflows of personal remittances grew from US$293.4 million in 2015 to US$304.6 million in 2016. The growth in total outflow in 2017 largely reflects responses within the economy to uncertainty that may have been associated with the then impending elections. Where there is uncertainty, there will be outflow of funds. It is important, however, to once again emphasize that the total outflow of remittances mentioned is an aggregate of personal remittances from various sources and NOT transfers made by officials of Government or to unknown accounts as is being wrongly perceived.“The Central Bank of Liberia welcomes public scrutiny, especially from the media, but this must be done in good faith,” the statement said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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