Monday, August 22, 2011

Jagdeo never requested invitation to attend parade-FIA Official

NIRAV MEHTA, Immediate Past President of FIA: Mr. MALCOLM Harripaul’s allegations (KN Aug 9) against President Jagdeo relating to the FIA India Day Parade are spurious and false. They are libellous. Mr. Harripaul’s letter is replete with lies, deceit and innuendoes. The allegations against the honourable President should not be given any credence. And quite frankly, the letter should not have been published without the facts being verified with our organisation.
The FIA has no links with Mr. Harripaul and we do not know the individual. We know and have worked with other prominent Guyanese-Americans such as Ramesh Kalicharran and Vishnu Bisram with whom we have had a collaborative relationship since our first parade in 1980. For decades, they have provided yeoman service in benefit to the Indian Diaspora in America and they have helped to promote our events particularly in the Caribbean media. The two gentlemen have been working closely with the FIA and other Indian organizations for decades to bridge the Indian Diaspora communities (nationals from India, the Caribbean, Fiji, Africa, etc.) in America. They have long lobbied for greater inclusion of Indo-Caribbeans in the India Day Parade events as well as in other festivals and activities organised by nationals from India. They are the ones who consistently and persuasively suggested to FIA executives that Caribbean leaders be invited to the parade to help bridge the divide between Indian nationals and Indo-Caribbeans and other diverse communities.
The FIA states unequivocally that President Jagdeo never requested an invitation to attend the parade. The idea of inviting the President (and Trinidad’s Prime Minister last year) was that of Mr. Kali and Bisram, two leading advocates of the Indo-Caribbean and Indo-Guyanese communities in America. The FIA acquiesced to their suggestions and issued invitations to leading Indo-Caribbean personalities to grace the parade in the past but these were declined. The FIA chooses to include Indo-Caribbeans in our parade because we recognise and are
impressed with the historic and important role Indo-Caribbeans have played in India’s freedom movement in their own societies and we are so pleased that they come out in large numbers to join the parade. Indo-Caribbeans are known to sponsor floats at the parade with Kali organizing an Indo-Caribbean float in the late 1980s that brought out a huge Guyanese contingent. Guyanese usually perform at the cultural extravaganza after the parade.
I was informed by FIA colleagues that Indo-Guyanese used the parade as a forum to bring awareness to human rights abuses in your country during what is described as the authoritarian era. There were also floats relating to your nation’s struggle for free and fair elections.
For the record, President Jagdeo declined invitations as Chief Guest on several previous occasions including last year because of conflicting schedules. Last year, Hon. Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago Ms. Kamla Persad-Bissessar accepted our invitation as Chief Guest and we were honoured to host her. This year, we invited President Jagdeo and he has graciously accepted our invitation. President Jagdeo is an internationally recognized leader with numerous global achievements as well as a leading advocate for the environment. One
of our parade’s themes is saving the environment. So we are fortunate and honoured to host the esteemed President of your nation. And we welcome anyone who accompanies the President. The President’s guest is our guest including one Mr. Donald Ramotar, who we understand is a Presidential Candidate. The President is also invited to our Grand Gala Dinner.
Contrary to what Harripaul claims, President Jagdeo did not make a request to ring the NASDAQ bell on 22nd August. But if President Jagdeo is available, he would be more than welcome to join us in this prestigious act.
Please note also that President Jagdeo did not request an invitation for dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Prime Minister is not coming to NY for our parade, although we will be honoured to have him at the parade should he be willing to join us. In the past, dinners with the P.M. were organized by the Indian Consulate in NY during his UN visit in September and at this time the not scheduled to attend UN activities this
In sum, all of Harripaul’s allegations are untrue and we urge him to cease and desist in penning fabrications and needlessly dragging our name into his propaganda activities against the esteemed President.
In closing, I thank Mr. Kali and Bisram for their roles in helping to make the parade a success and to increase attendance of Indo-Caribbeans at our events.
May I use this opportunity to invite the Guyanese and Caribbean-Americans to join us in India’s Independence Day celebrations on August 21, 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment