International Web–Symposium On India and its Diaspora Across the Globe: Expectations from Each Other Amid and After COVID-19 Pandemic Jointly organsied by The Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives (ODI India), Centre for Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad (UoH) & Diaspora and International Migration Programme (DIMP), CAS-School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi on 12 September 2020 From 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM (Indian Standard Time)
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International Web–Symposium

On

Political Contestations Between Diaspora's of India and Africa in the Caribbean: Results of 2020 General Elections in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago

 

Jointly organsied by

The Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives (ODI India),

and

Diaspora and International Migration Programme (DIMP), CAS-School of International Studies,

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi

on

29 August 2020

From 5:30 PM to 7:45 PM (Indian Standard Time)

From 8:00 AM to 10:15 AM (Guyana & Trinidad Time)

 

Registration Link: https://rb.gy/xa9whi

(Registration closes by 5:00 PM on 28 August 2020, Indian Standard Time)

 

ODI Series Coordinators: Dr. Sushmita Rajwar, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi &

Ms Aarshi Dua, Doctoral Fellow, CAS-School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Media coordinators: Mr. Samir Bhattacharyya, CAS-School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University & Ms. Sarita Nandmehar, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

 

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 

 

First Session: Inaugural

(5:30 PM- 6:25 PM)

5:30 PM- 5:35 PM

(5 Minutes)

Introduction and Moderator

Prof. Ajay Dubey,

Chair, CAS-School of International Studies, JNU & President, ODI, New Delhi

5:35 PM- 5:40 PM

(5 Minutes)

Theme Introduction

 

Dr. Sushmita Rajwar

ODI Webinar Series Coordinator & Assistant Prof. University of Delhi

 

5:40PM- 5:50PM

(10 Minutes)

 

Distinguished Guest

Shri Shyam Parande,

Secretary-General,

Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad (ARSP), New Delhi.

5:50PM-6:05 PM

(15 Minutes)

 

Chief Guest

Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar

Hon’ble Vice- Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

 

6:05PM- 6:20 PM

(15 Minutes)

 

Guest of Honour

H.E. Amb Arun Kumar Sahu,

High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago

 

6:20 PM- 6:25 PM

(5 Minutes)

 

 

Vote of Thanks

Ms. Aarshi Dua

ODI Webinar Series Coordinator & Doctoral Scholar, CAS- School of International Studies, JNU

SECOND SESSION

(6:25PM to 7:45 PM)

6:25 PM-6:30 PM

(5 Minutes)

 

Moderator

Prof. Kavita Sharma

Immediate Past President, South Asian University, & Chairperson, ODI International

6:30 PM-6:40 PM

(10 Minutes)

 

Speaker 1

 

Dr. Thomas B Singh,

Director, University of Guyana GREEN institute, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Guyana

6:40 PM-6:50 PM

(10 Minutes)

 

Speaker 2

Dr Vishnu Bisram

Political Analyst, Guyanese based in USA

6:50 PM-7:00 PM

(10 Minutes)

 

Speaker 3

 

Shri. Narayan Kumar,

Hon'ble Director, Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad (ARSP), New Delhi.

7:00 PM-7:10 PM

(10 Minutes)

 

Speaker 4

 

Dr. Primnath Gooptar,

University of West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago

7:10 PM-7:20 PM

(10 Minutes)

 

Speaker 5

 

Dr. Raymond Ramcharitar,

Former Adjunct Faculty for Cultural History, UWI, Trinidad & Tobago

7:20 PM-7:30 PM

(10 Minutes)

 

Speaker 6

 

Dr Jerome Teelucksingh,

Senior Lecturer, Department of History, University of West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago

Discussion and Q/A (730: PM-7:40 PM)

(10 Minutes)

7:40 PM-7:45 PM

(5 Minutes)

Vote of Thanks

Mr. BK Pandey,

Secretary-General, ODI India, PhD Scholar, CAS, JNU

 

CONCEPT NOTE

Political Contestations Between Diaspora's of India and Africa in the Caribbean: Results of 2020 General Elections in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago

 

The Indians in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago migrated mainly under the indentured labour system from the year 1838 after the Abolition of Slavery was implemented in the British West Indies. It was in the same year that 396 Indian immigrants popularly known as the ‘Gladstone Coolies’ landed in British Guiana from Bengal in India. Indians were also sent to Trinidad & Tobago under the indenture labour system mainly from the states of Awadh, Bihar, Bengal and Madras. These migrated Indians later formed majority in Trinidad & Tobago and a substantial part of the population in Guyana. The Indian labour force was in huge demand for working in the plantations fields in these colonies because of the reason that they were docile, hard-working, reliable and could work under harsh conditions as well. Between 1838-1917, a total number of 2,38,909 indentured labour were sent to British Guiana and from the year 1874-1917, a total number of 94,135 indentured labour migrated to Trinidad & Tobago.

Indians in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago have also been actively involved in the political affairs of their respective countries. Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana have comprised of different ethnic groups. These groups comprise of European, White and other mixed-race population. However, after the arrival of the indentured labour from India these places had to accommodate Indians too who maintained their distinct cultural identity. When most of the indentured Indians stayed back in their respective countries, it created a political threat to the African Diaspora and this gave rise to conflicts between the African and the Indian diaspora. The contestations between these two groups have intensified during the time of election of an Indian origin President. Many Indian origin Presidents have ruled in both countries like Noor Hassanali or Basdeo Pandey in Trinidad and Tobago, or Cheddi Jagan in Guyana.

The influencing role of the Indians in politics in Guyana is clearly visible from the election of a PIO President in Guyana this month. President Md. Irfaan Ali was chosen as the Presidential candidate of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for the elections held in March this year. He was sworn in as President only after 5 months after various allegations of vote tampering and after a complete recounting of votes. The results of the recounting were also not being released due to fear of violence in the country. Current President is the first Muslim President of a country in South America. PPP is a multi-ethnic organisation with the support of the Indo-Guyanese in Guyana. The party has given many Presidents to Guyana starting from Cheddi Jagan also known as the ‘father of nation’ in Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar. The PPP has been forming the government in most of the elections held but lost the last General Election in 2015 by a mere margin of one vote. The contestation between the two major political parties is clearly visible as one is supported by the Indo-Guyanese and the other by the Africans.

Indo-Trinidadians have mostly given their support to parties opposing the Peoples National Movement (PNM) which is mostly perceived as a party supported by Afro-Trinidadians. While the United National Congress (UNC) is the main opposition party in Trinidad & Tobago, it gets the support of mainly the Indo-Trinidadians. The PNM was in power in the last general elections of 2015 with Keith Rowley as PM and UNC in the opposition with Kamla Persad-Bissessar as its leader. The General Elections that took place in August, 2020 again reinstated the PNM government with a clear majority and Keith Rowley winning a second term. This is the second loss in a row form UNC, the leading party in opposition.

This year in 2020 with the swearing-in of Presidents from Suriname and Guyana, high hopes were put in the case of Trinidad & Tobago too. However, the contestations of different political parties supported by Afro-Guyanese and Afro-Trinidadians as opposed to the ones supported by Indo-Guyanese and Indo-Trinidadians brings us to this struggle for political power in these two countries that has existed since long time. The symposium would attempt to highlight these historical contestations, factors leading to this contestation and the role that both Indian Diaspora and African Diaspora, in both countries have played in this struggle for power.

Therefore, the symposium will try to cover but not limit the discussion to the following themes:

* History of contestation for political power between the Indian Diaspora and African Diaspora in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.

* Political Parties and Leadership Role of Indian and African communities in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.

* Political Contestation in last one decade between different diasporic groups in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.

* Analysing Election results and its implications of 2020 in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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