Enmore Martyrs paid homage 70 years later

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, June 16, 2018

The five Enmore Martyrs – Rambarran, Lall called Pooran, Lallabagie Kissoon, Surujballi called Dookie and Harry – who lost their lives 70 years ago fighting for their rights and the rights of others were this morning paid homage at their grave sites at the Le Repentir Cemetery, Georgetown.

Deemed heroes, the five lost their lives while on strike at Plantation Enmore, East Coast Demerara, June 16, 1948.

Paying homage was Minister of Social Cohesion Dr. George Norton, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma, representatives from the Guyana Trade Union Council (GTUC), the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and relatives of the slain sugar workers.

Minister Norton said the wreath-laying ceremony should be a time to reflect and honour the sacrifices of the fallen sugar workers who paid the ultimate price so that hundreds of others could be heard.

“We all involved in the effort to improve the conditions of not only the sugar workers but workers in general and I call upon all of us to make full use of the conditions that are put in place by this administration to capitalise and work towards the benefit of all the Minister stated.

It was highlighted that sacrifice of the slain sugar workers was recognised internationally at the continental conference of the national affiliates of the World Peace Council in 1976.

GTUC Organising Secretary Leslie Gonsalves said that while it is good to reflect on what happened 70 years ago, it is important to ensure that it never occurs again.

“I call on trade union movement, I call on the department of labour, I call on every conscious worker within the length and breadth of this country to ensure that your rights as a worker, are being represented,” he stated.

June 16, 1948, served as a catalyst for change that resulted in statutory recognition of all trade unions, in collective bargaining for better wages and benefits with employers, and a broad menu of labour laws that regulate wages, holidays with pay, termination of employment, old age pension, national insurance and social benefits.

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

Image: Jules Gibson