Set up heritage research fund this Indian Arrival Day

THE EDITOR: This year is of special significance to people of Indian descent in TT because it marks the 175th anniversary of the arrival of their foreparents from India as well as the 100th anniversary of the official end of indentureship in 1920.

As a national holiday in TT, Indian Arrival Day will be commemorated on Saturday.

Due to the stay-at-home and social distancing covid19 measures, there will be no community or public events.

In the circumstances, I suggest the Government establishes a heritage research and production fund instead of giving the annual grant to organisations.

This fund should be used to financially support research projects, publications and productions relating to indentureship in TT (1845-1917).

It should be awarded to groups and individuals such as historians, biographers, playwrights, filmmakers, literary writers, artists and social scientists, as well as to students doing theses and dissertations.

Grants should be awarded yearly based on proposals submitted.

The fund should be administered and managed by a board of trustees with an office in the University of TT.

It can be modelled after the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, the Andrew W Mellon Foundation grant for slavery-related research, and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research on Slavery.

The size of the grant for this fund should be the same as that given for (African) Emancipation Day celebrations on August 1 every year.

Indian Arrival Day usually gets about $0.5 million while (African) Emancipation Day gets $3 million, although the two ethnic groups comprise the same size in the population (Indos 35.4 per cent and Afros 34.2 per cent).

Indian Arrival Day should not be compared with Divali or Eid. These are religious holidays. Indian Arrival Day is a historical holiday, just like (African) Emancipation Day.

It must be remembered that during this covid19 pandemic, Prime Minister Dr Rowley pledged to contribute $10 million towards the construction of a cathedral for the Spiritual Baptists. They constitute only one per cent of the population.


San Juan


"Set up heritage research fund this Indian Arrival Day"

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