'Guyanese Mafia' get their own 'Who's Who'
By John Mair in London
May 1, 2007
The moniker--invented by me--has stuck. 'The Guyanese Mafia' are now well and truly established in the British and Guyanese public consciousness. They are also high up in British Society--especially in the public sphere. Now they are to get their own 'Who's Who' and be immortalised in print forever. The book Guyanese Achievers UK is about to be published in the UK; it will be launched with a glittering reception at the Guyana High Commission, graced by the High Commissioner himself, in London on June 1.
The man behind it all is rather self-effacing. Seventy-two-year-old Vidur Dindayal is a retired architect who has made this his life's work over the last three years. Dindayal who emigrated from Rosignol to London 45 years ago. has chronicled the rise and rise of the 'Mafia' through a series of 60 portraits of the 'achievers'-- from Baroness Amos to Lord Waheed Alli, from Professor David Dabydeen to Professor Cynthia Pine, from Keith Waithe to the late Rudolph Dunbar all thriving in a variety of fields. These sons and daughters of the Land of Six Waters and races have thrived in their adopted land or in some cases their homeland. Dindayal, who himself rose up from being a clerk to being an architect for the Greater London Council acknowledges the 'Mafia,' though recalcitrant in using the term, and their common heritage.
"Guyanese migrants, by and large, have done well wherever they have settled. This book... is particularly aimed at celebrating the achievements of Guyanese who have settled here in the UK, their country of domicile. Given the small Guyanese population in the UK they have done well," he says in his preface.
Readers of the Stabroek News will be well aware of the major players on the Guyanese Mafia' stage. They will also remember the mild media storm over the 'Mafia' appellation too. Dindayal has been unstinting in his research with due credit paid to the Stabroek News and to this author for the spadework done on this subject and for his 'Guyanese achiever gene' typology. "Factors which perhaps contribute to the drive to achieve are that most Guyanese share in common a background of: modest means, an educational system with strict discipline in which we are expected to obtain top marks, where achievers are highly valued, as is respect for elders in the family and in the community, and a strong sense of belonging to the larger community, be it a village, the sugar plantation, or a part of town."
The 'Guyanese Mafia' have long ago arrived in the UK. So much so that now they are being replaced by the 'Young mafia'. Dindayal is their Boswell.
The book, Guyanese Achievers UK By Vidur Dindayal, is published by Trafford Press ISBN number 1-4251-0542-4 costs US$36.52 US or 21 pounds sterling and is available on the internet at www.trafford. com/6-2300teh Net proceeds will go to charities in Guyana