Dr. Kirk Meighoo, Guyana Indian minorities, oil reserves, Herland Report

Dr. Kirk Meighoo on Guyana, its Indian minorities and massive oil reserves


Herland Report: Guyana is a small country in South America that recently found massive oil discoveries. There is a large, Indian minority living in Guyana, that came to the country almost two hundred years ago.

The political stakes in Guyana have risen massively since May 2015 when Exxon Mobil discovered oil reserves potentially worth more than $100bn (£80bn) 200km (124 miles) off the coast – a find big enough to transform a South American country of fewer than 1 million people with a GDP of $3bn largely based on sugar, timber, molasses and bauxite.

Its current income of $5,250 per head is projected to rise to above $10,000 next year alone.

Karishma Himatsinghani interviews noted Guyanese columnist and media personality Dr Vishnu Bisram and former senator from Trinidad and Tobago Dr Kirk Meighoo to discuss the Hindu history of Guyana, the evolution of the current social-political turmoil, and the way forward.

Indians who were brought in as indentured laborers to Guyana almost 180 years, helped build the country and are today the largest minority.

However ethnic politics reared its ugly head when the US, Britain and EU backed a coup in the 1960s to topple the democratically elected government.

For almost 3 decades, the Hindu community faced systemic state-sponsored persecution, it is said in the conversation.

In more recent times, the current ethnic dictatorship regime has refused to relinquish power after a no-confidence motion, by blatantly disregarding court orders and constitutional mandates, and currently Guyana is in the midst of a political stalemate.




The Indo-Guyanese community has received little to no political support from either the international community, or Indian government or the global NRI community.

Apart from political intervention, there is an urgent need for ethnic Indians to mobilize and unite under the larger umbrella of Hinduism to make their voices heard.


The final election outcome will have a big impact on Guyana’s future relationship with the oil industry. Many observers claim Exxon’s current licence to extract oil needs renegotiating and reflects an entrenched political class.

Others say Guyana is on the edge of a bonanza and will become the richest oil country on earth as measured by income per capita. Either way, the impasse over the election result may undermine investor confidence.

The centre of the contested votes is in the largest election district, region four (Demerara Mahaica). Despite widespread objections including from international electoral observers but not from the Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition of the defeated President Granger, the returning officer proceeded to make a declaration based on his numbers that were at odds with the figures on official documents.


Also check out these topics at CNN or FOX News. Other sources may be New York TimesUSA Today, the Washington Post or from the British angle, BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph or Financial Times.

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