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Lusignan Massacre
Guyana Journal, February 2008

Firstly, I extend my deepest sympathy to all the bereaved relatives of those killed at Lusignan, and I offer my prayers for peace for all Guyanese at this volatile time.

Now, my take on the situation.

Anyone who believes that a $50 million reward would entice the Buxtonian gang/s to betray their bandit leader would be rudely disappointed. First of all, in general, "there is an honor among thieves", and bandits anywhere, not just in Buxton, would sooner eliminate rather than betray each other. Secondly, with specific regards to Buxton, the leaders are not betrayed; it has been the other way round.

There is no doubt that Buxtonians, historically cultured and indomitable, see themselves as a people disappointed (and betrayed) by at least three major political parties, whose pride has been eroded and rights trampled upon over a period of four decades, a people whose indigenous leaders have now abandoned them for the comfort of cooler climates, a people stripped of their culture and artisanship, reduced from the independence of peasantry to the drudgery of wage slavery, eking out a subsistent existence from the scraps that fall off the tables of or thrown to them from their paternalistic and lordly new masters, formerly on horseback, but now in Pradas. Thus eroded of humanity, they are forced to accept leadership from whatever source would offer a morsel for their belly and a cover-up for their shame, even if such leadership comes from vagabonds who style themselves in the vein of a Robin Hood or Geronimo, and who have successfully eluded capture for six years, and whose logistical, organizational and unconventional military skills have apparently outshined the police, army and Minister of Home Affairs, all put together.

It is in the above context that I can see political rationalizations and justifications, or whatever cover-up for this "loss of lives" at Lusignan in response to "recent killings" at Buxton coming from the mayor and other high sources.

Having said that, I wish to refer readers to the article, "Try a New Approach to Buxton" by Gokarran Sukhdeo, published in Guyana Chronicle, September 21, 2004, (accessed from the internet).

The article, taking a social work perspective, strongly contends that a unique, non-conventional solution exists to the situation at Buxton, and that that solution, an apolitical and non-militaristic one, should be based seriously on consideration of the social and historic dynamic of Buxton.

All previous conventional approaches (even the non-conventional approach by the now defunct "phantom" gang) have failed because they have been reactionary, insensitive and punitive, generally resulting in punishing the whole of Buxton, while the handful of real perpetuators hardly feel the squeeze. Incessant, strong military maneuvers result in getting innocent residents killed, but also do irreparable psychological damage to the community.

The approach I advocate is essentially based on good faith and calls for the starting off on a new slate with a new attitude and a deep, relentless optimism. It calls for generating first a policy, then deriving the procedures based on that policy. And that policy is: the return of Buxton to economic independence through peasantization, development of artisanship, athletic and technological skills, and a re-absorption of the marginalized community (presently ostracized as a state within a state) into the mainstream of national society.

The model is based on the strengths of the community rather than on its weaknesses and failures. It aims at empowering the youth and connecting them not only to a means of using their strengths in a proud and socially acceptable way in earning a living, but it also connects them to institutions such as family, church, school, cultural and vocational activities and other community supports.

And if the PPP/C and PNCR are genuinely interested, let them make a bi-partisan approach and collaboratively meet the youth of the community and hear their concerns. Then follow up on these concerns. Grant land and soft loans to produce poultry, pigs and cash crops and crafts. Let them peasantize the marginal cane lands, some of which are safe havens for the bandits. Employ the "bandits" in the Guyana Defense Force and deploy them to "terrorize" those who threaten our borders. Grant scholarships to them to pursue vocational and academic studies. Offer pardons to those who take up the offers. And like Mr. Eusi Kwayana once suggested, provide 50, 70 computers to an educational/vocational program in the community.

Forget the reward. Spend the fifty million on rehabilitating the community and then watch as you leave them alone, they'll come home and bring their tails behind them.

We must think unconventional; we must think outside the box (if indeed we can first free ourselves from the political albatrosses around our necks).
– Gokarran Sukhdeo

Déjà vu of July, 1964

My Name is Sabitri Prashad nee Jaikarran, currently living in Virginia, USA.I was born and raised at Pln. Chance, Mahaicony Branch Road, E.C.D. Guyana.

Over forty-three years ago, July, 1964, eight members of my family were shot by thugs who went to my sister Moorti Devi Pritipaul’s house, and shot my sister, her husband, their sons and my teenage brother Rajpaul Jaikarran, and also a relative, Bob.

Then they darted across the road, broke down the door and shot my brother Bhoge Jaikarran, his wife who was pregnant, their daughter and son, killing seven on the spot, and three died later.

We had to dig a very big pond on a house spot on my parents’ land just near where the shooting took place, and placed the coffins side by side. God knows how the rest of us survived it; but most of all my Mom and Dad. “Oh, how it still hurts!” And it seems like yesterday.

Less than two years ago, two of my nephews and a niece (Satyadeo Sawh, Rajpaul Sawh and Juliet) and one other, were gunned down at LBI, E.C.D. Guyana.

Now January 2008, a criminal gang shot and killed eleven people at Lusignan. A close relative of mine Mohandai Gourdat and her two sons were shot dead. The husband and father had three days before gone back to Trinidad where he worked. He received a phone call to ‘come home’ to Guyana, only to find his entire family dead.

Then there is a distant relative of mine Gomattie who whilst hiding, saw the gunman shoot her husband Clarence Thomas, their eleven-year old son, daughter, and another son to death at point blank range. What went through this mother’s mind is unimaginable and hard to comprehend.

I am grieving at the inhuman act of murder of these innocent brothers and sisters, and the five angels (the children).

My family and I share in the pain that the family and friends of the victims are going through. My prayers are also for the recovery of those in hospital. My sincerest condolences.
– Sabitri Prashad

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