On March 13, 1913, the manager of the Rose Hall, Canje sugar plantation, called in the Police to quell a work-related protest by sugar workers. The dispute centred over a promised holiday granted to workers then rescinded by a manager. Seven individuals protested, and the manager attempted to expel them from the plantation. Later, warrants were issued for some other immigrants. The Police, including the Inspector General from Georgetown himself, arrived to execute the warrants and the crowds resisted. The Riot Act was read; the Police fired, and fourteen immigrants were killed. One Policeman was also killed by their own bullets. It was the largest number of Immigrants ever killed in one protest.This pattern of killing workers who protested their working conditions – at this time still under indentureship – had become a regular occurrence. Only the year before, the manager at Lusignan had himself shot and killed a shovel-man, who, with six others was protesting their day’s “task”. Killings had previously occurred at Devonshire Castle – 1872, five killed, seven wounded; Non Pariel – 1896, five killed, 59 wounded; and Friends – 1903, six killed, seven wounded). The killings continued even after indentureship ended: Ruimveldt – 1924, 13 killed, 18 wounded); Leonora – 1939, four killed, four injured); and Enmore – 1948, five killed, nine injured).In an event held on site to commemorate the Rose Hall killings this year, Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton offered some remarks that demand explication: “Those lives were not lost in vain. These men and the lone woman were heroes, they are our martyrs, their struggles lend support to the fight against indentureship, which ended four years after… Not only must we be proud and recognise their contribution to the world we live here in Guyana today, but as Guyanese we must emulate the bravery of those fallen heroes.”How can Dr Norton say, “those lives were not lost in vain”, when three months ago his Government unilaterally closed the entire Rose Hall factory and fired 800 workers. With Rose Hall being the only source of employment in the entire Canje Creek settlements, and no alternative employment being created or facilitated by Government, the Government has effectively sentenced those workers and their families to a slow and painful death. The “leaden” argument used during the colonial period was perhaps kinder, since those lives were snuffed out immediately. Here, we are already witnessing the induced frustration of seeing no viable future leading to marital and family discord; suicide; increased alcoholism and children pulled out of school.In any other community, there would have been an explosion of protests over the inhuman act that will see these communities crumble and die. But perhaps the pattern of repression on the sugar plantations that actually increased after nationalisation – which was supposed to confer “ownership to the people of Guyana” – has dulled their spirits. As we saw, during indentureship, there were protests that rocked not only the industry but also the Guyanese colonial state.These protests directly led to Guyana achieving the franchise after the visiting Moyne Royal Commission investigating sugar protests witnessed practically first hand, the 1939 killings at Leonora and made that recommendation implemented after WWII. The 1948 killings at Enmore led to the formation of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which spearheaded the fight for independence. So how could Dr Norton say he was recognising “their contribution to the world we live here in Guyana today”?The poignancy of the sugar workers’ predicament was highlighted by the PPP’s Regional Councillor Zamal Hussain who called on the Government to act on a motion that was passed by the Regional Democratic Council of Region Six for transportation subsidies to be granted to children of sugar workers so they would be able to attend school.But perhaps Dr Norton unwittingly gave some solid advice: “as Guyanese we must emulate the bravery of those fallen heroes.” That is, stand up to the Government that has snatched bread from fellow Guyanese’ mouths.
Twenty-one years on, Erasmus faces the very different challenge of attempting to become only the second visiting international coach in two years to guide a team to victory on Scottish soil, after Steve Hansen, who achieved the feat in a narrow win for world champions New Zealand 12 months ago.That 22-17 defeat is Scotland’s only loss in their last 11 fixtures on home turf (10 of which have been played at Murrayfield and one at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock) and they have recorded notable successes against leading nations such as England, Ireland, Australia, Wales and France.Townsend’s side bounced back from a 21-10 defeat in their November opener against Wales in Cardiff with an impressive 54-17 eight-try victory over Fiji last Saturday and Erasmus is understandably wary ahead what will be South Africa’s penultimate Test of 2018 — despite his own team’s dramatic 29-26 win against France in Paris last weekend.“It will be a very big test for us,” said Erasmus. “Scotland like to attack and are not afraid to attack from anywhere. That is the way Gregor coaches. I know about which areas we need to focus on.”Erasmus has made just two enforced personnel changes to the side that snatched victory in Paris with replacement prop Bongi Mbonambi’s 85th-minute try.Embrose Papier makes his first start at scrum-half, in place of the unavailable Faf de Klerk, while RG Snyman comes into the second row to accommodate Pieter-Steph du Toit’s switch to a reshuffled back row shorn of injured No 8 Warren Whiteley.– ‘Biggest men in world rugby’ –Townsend has restored Huw Jones, a former player with South Africa’s Stormers side, to outside centre and beefed up his pack in anticipation of what he foresees as “the biggest physical challenge in world rugby”.“You know what’s coming from South Africa,” said the Scotland coach, who spent the 2004 Super Rugby season playing for the Sharks in Durban.“They’ll put huge pressure on your scrum, have an excellent line-out defence and a huge line-out drive. They have the biggest men in world rugby.”Townsend added: “They came close to doing the double over New Zealand last month. We have to rise to the challenge of playing one of the best teams in the world but I believe this squad can do that.”While Townsend’s inspired side came close to claiming a first Scottish win against New Zealand a year ago, when Beauden Barrett denied Stuart Hogg a late try that would have tied the scores, Erasmus’ Boks toppled the World Cup holders 36-34 in Wellington on 15 September and blew a 30-13 lead before suffering an agonising 32-30 loss to the All Blacks in Pretoria two weeks later.Scotland have not beaten South Africa since 2010, when Dan Parks kicked all of the points in a 21-17 win at Murrayfield.The teams last met in a World Cup pool match in Newcastle in 2015, the Boks outmuscling the Scots 36-14.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Rassie Erasmus will be hoping to help replicate the record 68-10 victory over Scotland he played in 21 years ago © AFP/File / FRANCK FIFEEDINBURGH, United Kingdom, Nov 16 – A Murrayfield fortress awaits Rassie Erasmus on Saturday as South Africa’s coach returns to the ground where he helped inflict Scotland’s greatest home loss in his playing days.The former Springbok flanker plundered the second of 10 South African tries in a 68-10 victory in 1997 that remains Scotland’s all-time record margin of defeat — and in which the Scots’ present coach, Gregor Townsend, played at fly-half for the home side.