The article printed below is the first known political writing by Janet Jagan. It was written on September 2, 1942. Mrs. Jagan was 22 years old and a student of Cook County School of Nursing. It appeared to be a paper written as part of her studies. Janet Rosenberg, as her name was at that time, did not meet Cheddi until the following year but it can be seen that her political and social views, though still in their infancy, were highly advanced for a young white woman in the US in the 1940s. The article shows no Marxist leanings or typical Marxist language and phraseology. But Mrs. Jagan was clearly conscious of the economic and class basis for racial prejudice. Her obvious hostility to race discrimination was motivated by a political outlook that was both scientific and progressive. Some of the language, now regarded as unacceptable, was in common use at the time and did not have the same negative connotations as at present. Hereunder is Mrs. Jagan’s article.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RACE PREJUDICE
Continue reading “JANET JAGAN ON RACE”
Constitutional Reform in Trinidad and Tobago is on the political agenda. In recent discussions between Prime Minister Manning and Opposition Leader Panday, the latter agreed to support an executive presidency, as proposed by the former, if the electoral system is changed to proportional representation. There is a stalemate.
The demand for proportional representation is self evident if the 2007 election results are examined. The PMN (People’s National Movement) obtained 26 seats, or 65 percent of the seats, with 45.85 percent of the votes, the UNC (United National Congress) obtained 15 seats with 29.73 percent and the COP (Congress of the People) obtained no seats but got 22.64 percent of the votes. The combined opposition therefore obtained 35 percent of the seats with 52.37 percent of the votes. The supporters of proportional representation argue that the first past the post system that operates in Trinidad and Tobago, for the reasons explained above, is unfair.
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Guyana is a democracy. Institutionalized and observed in our law and practice are democracy’s basic elements, namely, free and fair elections, a free press, a legislature which makes laws and monitors the executive and an independent judiciary which rules against the Government from time to time. Hardly anyone will argue that Guyana has a perfect democracy. But the combination of these factors ensures that the rights of citizens are protected or vindicated.
In the most perfect of democracies the State sometimes violates the rights of citizens through its agents, either intentionally or unintentionally or negligently. Where this happens the Courts, which are the guardians of the Constitution, can be asked to intervene. In two recent cases on the constitutional right to freedom of expression challenging the Government’s delay in considering applications for radio licences, the Chief Justice and the Court of Appeal separately ruled against the State and granted constitutional relief.
Continue reading “ENCOURAGING TERRORISM”
There is no doubt that the group of killers described as ‘terrorist’ by the Commissioner of Police which carried out the hijacking of a car and the murder of the driver/owner, the shooting of two policemen, the fire bombing of the Supreme Court and arson or attempted arson at the Richard Ishmael school, intended a direct assault on the lawfully constituted State of Guyana. Correctly designated as ‘terrorists’’ these are cold-blooded criminals who use ‘violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.’ The aim in this case is the violent overthrow of the Government by first creating fear among the citizenry and then attempting to destroy its credibility.
There may be a temptation to link these attacks to the recent allegations of horrific torture against a 15 year old boy at the hands of policemen. There may be an attempt to justify these acts as some ugly attempts at revenge. They are nothing of the kind. They are the pre-meditated actions of a gang of bandits who have already revealed their hands in the recent burning of the Ministry of Health. To create some sympathy from the angry or uninformed, they seize upon unfortunate events in which persons employed by the government might be unlawfully involved and carry out their vengeful deeds in the dead of night, as cowards do when they attack the defenceless, much like the deed they want us to believe that they are protesting.
Continue reading “THE TERRORISTS’ CREED”
Kleptomania is compulsive stealing. Where a person steals persistently over a period of time when there is no apparent reason to do so, then the person can be deemed a kleptomaniac. Where, for example, an article can be lawfully rented, hired or borrowed but a person chooses instead to steal the article, even though the person has no permanent use for it, then that can be a sign of kleptomania. It is a mental disorder. Where the stealing starts from a young age and persists into adulthood, particularly in relation to a specific type of article, and then the person justifies it, one can be certain that one is dealing with a confirmed, determined and unrepentant kleptomaniac. Whenever that person is around, then steps should be taken to protect goods with which the kleptomaniac has an affinity.
Such a person is in need of professional help because even if exposed, the person will not stop. In fact, the person cannot stop. When the opportunity presents itself and the person is in the presence of the object of his/her fantasy or fetish, whatever the case, and the person thinks that no one is looking, he/she will swipe the article, especially if it is small enough to be secreted on the person’s body.
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