“It is very serious what is happening there,” proclaimed Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, in an understatement. In rejecting plans to impose more austerity measures workers, youth and trades unions have taken action to advance their demands, which include the resignation of Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath. In response his government has mobilised riot police to clear demonstrators from the streets and welcomed the intervention of Dutch military personnel to strengthen that operation. A serious situation indeed.
The government had proposed a part bonds payment to public servants, a proposal that has been rejected by their unions.
The protesters demand that Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath and his government resign. They called for Rhuggenaath to come out. However, the prime minister did not show up, according to sources, he left the building even before the protesters arrived. The protesters were driven by the police a long distance from Fort Amsterdam in the center of Willemstad. In addition, bottles and stones were thrown and shop windows and waste containers were destroyed. The situation remains tense.
This cancerous division remains an obstacle to the Guyanese people empowering themselves and advancing their country. Those, like Walter Rodney, who have attempted to overcome it and build the people’s unity, have been assassinated. Today the APNU, which is a coalition around the PNC, and the PPP operate in Guyana to deepen these divisions among the people. While accusing each other of promoting racism and division, they themselves have brought the country to its present crisis.
Alongside this project of ensuring that our own icons are transferred from text to public space has been a parallel movement to remove the stamp and image of colonial figures from the Caribbean, rename streets and buildings and indigenise awards and honours. This latter movement has resurfaced in the wake of the protests over the murder of George Floyd in the USA, which have included a war on anti-black racism and the symbols that perpetuate white supremacy and act as reminders of past tragedies.
In countries across the region, demands are being made to tackle head on the colonial legacy in all its forms, including the structural racism in Caribbean societies, colonial style police violence against the citizens and the removal from the public space of all the signs and symbols that glorify racism and colonialism.
'It is not an exaggeration to say that, without Cuba's medical personnel, the health system in many Caribbean countries would have collapsed,' said the diplomat, who recalled the problems in the United States to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, despite its resources. Ambassador Ronald Saunders [Antigua and Barbuda]
Obeah is a belief system or religion that originated in Africa. However, due to the effects of colonialism and the dispersion of African people throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and South and North America, Obeah is no longer owned by one specific culture. The origins of obeah consist of a considerable amount of secret beliefs and practices that involve prayer and the mastering of supernatural spiritual forces.
In the Caribbean police forces are often trained and advised by their UK and US counterparts and in many cases deploy the same methods and act as violently. Another version of policing in the region is described in this article by a visitor to Cuba, who writes on his observations of that country’s policing methods.
Haitian organisations call for general strike as the country faces the COVID-19 pandemic. Statements of the country's trade unions pointed to the reduction in people's purchasing power, after depreciation of the gourde led to price rises. Trade Union leader Olrich Jean-Pierre says people left to fend for themselves whilst government is ineffective due to constitutional crisis and backs call for President's resignation.