OPPOSITION LEADER: Keith Rowley

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PNM – experts in ethnic stocking

I have read the claims of "ethnic stocking" made by the Jamaica Observer and endorsed by the Opposition Leader Dr Rowley with great amusement.

The PNM ruled this country for almost a half a century and from almost 1956 to 1986 they did not condescend to have a single Hindu minister in their cabinet.

During this time they stacked state boards, executive management of all state enterprises and the public service with supporters who were drawn mainly from their African-Trinidadian base without so much as a peep from any Caricom politician or newspaper.

Where was the voice of Dr Rowley and the Observer when Indians in Guyana were being raped and murdered during the dictatorship of Burnham? No one listened to their pleas for help.

Apartheid was spoken of in Africa but not in Guyana. They turned their backs on the racial oppression in Guyana for decades but have suddenly found their voice to make ridiculous and scurrilous allegations about ethnic stocking by the People's Partnership Government in Trinidad and Tobago. Such convenient politics fuel speculation about the depth and scope of the regional Afro-centralism and undermines the noble efforts toward meaningful Caribbean integration.

There is no judge of Indian descent on the CCJ. Is this because of "ethnic stocking" to keep Indians out? Most regional Caricom institutions are devoid of any Indian presence. Is this the case of regional "ethnic stocking'' by governments?

I challenge Dr Rowley to tell the nation how many Indo-Trinidadians were appointed to the position of CEO, chairman or board director under the PNM such that he has the moral authority to speak about "ethnic stocking". The facts are that Indians were a scarce commodity under the PNM and the People's Partnership has achieved a far greater balance than ever obtained under the PNM. I doubt Jamaica would ever "observe" this.

Allan Hewitt

Maraval

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