Indian rights group to attend conflict course after all
Stabroek News
May 28, 2004

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The Guyana Indian Heritage Association (GIHA) has reconsidered its earlier decision not to participate in the Conflict Transformation Training course to be hosted by the Ethnic Relations Commission next month, according to a press release.

The release indicated that GIHA had met with United Nations Peace and Development representative, Chris Spies, and ERC Chairman Bishop Juan Edghill about its earlier decision to reject the Commission's invitation to attend the course and following that meeting, has decided to send two representatives.

GIHA had issued a press statement last week informing the public that it had decided to reject the ERC's invitation to participate in the aforementioned programme. In that release, GIHA had said that it felt the ERC was not equipped to function adequately as such a commission ought to because it had been reported that the ERC had said that school children should not be taught to acknowledge Guyana's six races but should be taught to view Guyanese as one and this in GIHA's opinion was an insult to ethnic and cultural diversity in the country.

Edghill has attempted to set the record straight on this issue on a number of occasions and has explained that the perception that the ERC had made this statement had come about as a result of a misreport about a suggestion made by someone during a session convened by the ERC in the early stages of its work.

The GIHA statement meanwhile read: "GIHA feels that its attendance at the course will ensure that the Indian perspective on such important issues as ethnic violence, and the marginalisation of Indian culture in Guyana by groups that include the PPP government, will be voiced and discussed," the GIHA release read.

It also said that Edghill had assured GIHA of the ERC's respect and appreciation for Guyana's ethnic and cultural diversity and added that the meeting had involved, "a full and frank discussion about Guyana's continued ethnic/racial issues, and the serious politicking that goes on behind the scenes to try and silence GIHA's criticisms of the PPP government."