Dear Editor,
I was out for a while and only now caught up with Ms Gail Teixeira’s whole page Amerindian love letter SN 3/30/2016. Her defense was admirable, would I love to hear her defending Afro Guyanese so poignantly and assertively. Her initial argument of contradicting who came first is immaterial especially if it is juxtaposed against what was done.
The problem we have is that people believe that Amerindians just sprouted up like trees in this country. No, they like every other race came here. They are no more indigenous to this land than any other race who are here. The ancestors of the Native American are the forerunners of their race since they are all Asiatic peoples. History records that they crossed the Bering Straits a piece of land mask between Alyatki in Siberia Russia and Seward Peninsula In Nome Alaska. They crossed there about fifteen to twenty thousand years ago taking North America and soon South America.
The migration of the Asian people in the American continent: 1st migration, 38,000, 1800 BCE—14 to 15 Thousand years ago. 2nd migration, 10,00 BCE—12 to 13,000 years ago.
Ms Teixeira seems to find fault with Mr Phillips claim;” that if indigenous peoples in Guyana can receive land for being here first then Africans who came here before the Wai Wais and Wapishanas should be legally entitled to land.” She further takes offence to Phillips claim that “the entire economy of 1838 was created by enslaved Africans, where as our indigenous brothers and sisters were living the nomad life.”
After thinking that over she said, “ it is true that they moved (the Amerindians) within large geographic areas as a means of survival.” The American Heritage Dictionary; Nomad: ‘A group of people who move according to the seasons from place to place in search of water and food.”
So what has the Amerindian contributed since coming to this land now called Guyana? According to Teixeira the Walter Roth Museum writings says that “ the boundaries of Brazil and British Guiana were decided because the Amerindians were living there. She even feels that all Guyanese should be thankful that by being there Amerindians are in fact serving as de facto protectors of our country. She even regaled us with archaeological and anthropological studies/ documents, artifacts, burial mounds, pottery  etc, etc. Is that it? Is that their contribution?
If was so easy to discern the contempt tinged with sarcasm as she replies to Mr Phillips’ contention about the quantity of labour put out by the slaves; “ I wish to assure Mr Phillips that we Guyanese have not forgotten those facts.” Well if those facts put forward by Mr Phillips cannot get us a seat at the table, here are some others for you to consider.
According to some reports the slave trade to British Guiana began in the early decades of the 17th Century that slaves began coming here from 1658, but is that correct. It is also reported that as early as 1621/1623 Guiana exported to England 28,000 pounds of Tobacco. By 1677 they had 5 sugar plantations up and producing. In 1669 via England 60,000 pounds of sugar was sent to New Zealand. Production from Plantations in 1814: La Repentir 1495 slaves, 30,000 pounds of coffee. Werkenrust 115 slaves 4,9000 pounds of cotton. Beterverwagting 178 slaves 32,000 pounds of cotton. Thomas 278 slaves, 4000,000 pounds of sugar and 27,000 gallons of rum. Artisan slaves in the Winkle area of Berbice, (carpenters,coopers,black smiths, tinsmiths, boat builders, masons,) built the houses and offices for the estate personnel and the Mission Chapel. Vlissengen Road, Wellington and King Streets were laid out 1804, Camp street in 1805.
Milton Bruce