Since the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) was reconstituted on March 21, 2023, a number of complaints were received and reviewed.
Two (2) recent complaints were referred to the Guyana Police Force for further investigation over alleged breaches of the country’s cybercrime laws. The complaints were made following statements or remarks arising from the undermentioned:
1. A post by Mr. Albert Morgan on a Live Facebook broadcast hosted by Dr. David Hinds, titled Politics 101. The Commission, having reviewed the post, found it to be a serious threat to life and sought the assistance of the Guyana Police Force for further investigation. Having been advised by the Police that Mr. Morgan was taken into custody, the Commission provided two statements reflecting its concerns and its firm belief that the said post transgressed the Laws of Guyana, including the Cybercrime Act. Dr. Hinds was also written to and asked to appear before the Commission given that he failed to condemn the post and/or disassociate himself from it.
2. The Commission would have also reviewed a Live Facebook broadcast purportedly from the profile of one Norman Browne. The Commission, having found the contents of the said broadcast to be racially divisive and included threats to life and a transgression of the laws of Guyana including the Cybercrime Act, wrote seeking the assistance of the Guyana Police Force for further investigation. The video in question is believed to be broadcast sometime on the evening of Monday, June 12, 2023; Local Government Elections Day.
The Commission similarly reviewed a video recording of a recent public meeting during which the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Aubrey Norton, addressed the gathering and made comments referring to the First Lady. The ERC is of the firm view that the context and explicit reference were unnecessary, demeaning, provoking and not in keeping with the esteemed Office of the Opposition leader. It outlined in its letter that it was necessary to advance an atmosphere of respect and responsible behavior during public discourses which are tenets vital to the promotion of peace and harmony.
Two complaints were received pertaining to comments allegedly made by Mr. Tacuma Ogunseye at a public meeting in March, 2023 at Buxton, East Coast Demerara. The matter is currently engaging the attention of the Guyana Police Force.
Additionally, a number of complainants have opted not to pursue their respective matters for complaints which were received by the Secretariat in 2022. Several other complaints are currently under review and the necessary action will be instituted.
The Commission wishes to remind the general public that complaints can be made via the ERC’s website @ www.erc.org.gy; email @ email@example.com or through a walk-in process. The Commission remains committed in ensuring that its mandate of promoting harmony and good relations is upheld.
July 7, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest Eid–ul–Adha greetings to Muslims and all other Guyanese on this annual observance.
This national holiday, which translates to the ‘festival of sacrifice’ in Islam is important for all humanity – obedience to God and the priceless value of sacrifice. The ERC urges all to heed the universal message of Eid–ul–Adha for a better Guyana – render support and inculcate the lessons of sacrifice for peace and brotherhood.
Sharing during this holiday to the less fortunate, neighbours and friends is characteristic of Eid-ul-Adha, and reflective of the brotherhood that exists among Guyanese. The observance remains a beacon of inspiration, guidance and motivation for all of us to build and promote national harmony. The lessons of sacrifice and humility must inspire us as Guyanese.
Moreover, the Commission supports the thrust of this countrywide observance which strengthens ties with other ethnic groups in our multi-cultural society. The ERC is positive that our status as ‘One People’ is given deeper meaning during Eid–ul– Adha celebrations every year.
Eid-ul-Adha represents another veritable example of the peaceful co-existence and religious freedom all Guyanese enjoy. The ERC wishes that Guyanese of all ethnicities learn the important messages and principles from today’s observance and its recurring theme.
Eid Mubarak from the Ethnic Relations Commission!
June 29, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends Labour Day greetings to all workers and salutes their invaluable contributions over time for the upliftment of the labour sector and the development of Guyana. The Guyanese working class experienced many painful and fatal challenges in its early years but the labour movement evolved, notwithstanding the adversity prevalent at the time.
The movement represents a significant segment of workers and its role as a critical stakeholder is invaluable in the ERC’s objective to promote ethnic harmony in the workplace. The ERC therefore, embraces any initiative to empower citizens through education and training to equip them for Guyana’s accelerating economy.
The Commission joins the social partners represented by government, employers, employees and the trade unions in recognition of their efforts to continuously improve the social and economic well-being of citizens; increase in productivity is achieved through the collective efforts of all.
The 1st of May is an occasion annually that honours workers in their struggles and the Commission remains in solidarity with them, and values the importance of labour in every sector of the economy.
Happy Labour Day to all!
May 1, 23
The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), extends warmest celebratory Eid-ul-Fitr greetings to all Muslims on completion of their sacred period of rigorous fasting.
The Commission recognizes that Guyanese from other ethnic groups can internalize the message of Ramadan, that month-long period of intense self-deprivation required of Muslims annually.
The ERC also recognizes that the act of charity especially during Eid-ul-Fitr helps in the cementing of brotherhood and promotion of understanding in the wider society.
Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations on the climax of Ramadan also allows other Guyanese to be further enlightened on the importance of self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and empathy for the less fortunate.
The ERC supports the festivities of Eid-ul-Fitr, the renewed strength and upliftment granted to Muslims following the testing period just concluded.
Eid Mubarak to all!
April 21, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends Easter greetings to all Christians and fellow Guyanese at home and the diaspora.
Easter is traditionally known as a time when Guyanese truly come together, especially in kite-flying and at social gatherings. Easter befits the true spirit of our national observances which continue to foster togetherness of our peoples from many cultures.
The significance of the resurrection is an inspirational turning point and offers mankind the universal message that there is always hope for a new beginning in the face of adversity. It brings comfort and motivation for the path to continuity even in what may be seen as the end.
As the kites of different colours and sizes soar and buzz high in the skies once more, let it symbolize our collective and sustained efforts in rising to the challenges to remove barriers of misunderstanding and prejudice.
Let the significance of the occasion of Easter guide us to renew our commitment to individually and collectively endeavor to build on the strides made in the fostering of tolerance and respect.
The Commission urges Guyanese to ensure that the true significance and message of Easter remain alive and its religious teachings inspire us to promote harmony and good relations across our dear land.
Peace and fellowship for the Easter holidays!
April 10, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), embraces today’s observance of the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The Commission remains firm on its mandate to “promote harmony and good relations” in our multi-ethnic society and to build peace and understanding. This observance is a pertinent and well-intentioned desire by the UN to promote racial and ethnic harmony everywhere.
The ERC is resolute that the UN observance worldwide will further promote the much needed awareness to stop and prevent occurrences of prejudice based on an individual’s racial or ethnic background.
Moreover, the ERC recognises that the elimination of those prejudices along with ignorance is paramount for the preservation of peace and brotherhood. The Commission is therefore committed to Guyanese of all ethnicities for the sake of a stable society and upholding the rule of law.
The multi-ethnic Guyanese society faces many challenges among its diverse peoples whose foreparents experienced varying levels of discrimination at varying periods. Today, many years later the internationally recognised observance annually seeks to spur continued interest and awareness to rid societies of a destructive practice.
The ERC, in its monumental task, seeks the cooperation of everyone to achieve national harmony in the society.
March 21, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), wishes a Happy Holi to all Guyanese at home and the diaspora on this colourful national festival. The Commission is buoyed by the spirit of Phagwah which is greeted with participation by Hindus as well as Guyanese from other ethnic groups.
The burst of colours is seen in the towns and villages as Guyanese participate in the frolic – throwing or spraying each other with colored water or applying powder to the hair and faces of friends, family and colleagues at work. The ERC reminds that Phagwah exhibits the vibrant mix of our rich diversity which defines who we are as a people. It represents an achievement stemming from a combination of efforts as we endeavor together to be one people.
The fun and festivities associated with Phagwah, or Holi, is more than celebratory. It brings together Guyanese from all walks of life. The Commission urges all to celebrate and internalize the significance of Holi. Significant in its underlying message is the triumph of good over evil for the progress of humanity, as the story of young Prahlad illustrates in the Hindu scriptures.
Phagwah is one example of how the Guyanese nation embraces its cultural diversity. That therefore, offers relevant lessons for us all and is an impetus for increased and sustained efforts to build upon our unified strengths and improve on weaknesses. Such national occasions allow for improvement of our capacity to overcome inherent challenges to foster togetherness. The Commission encourages everyone to observe Phagwah while remembering the recurring theme of its messages.
SHUBH HOLI TO ALL!
March 7, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest Republic Day greetings to all Guyanese on this important anniversary in our multi-ethnic society. The Commission reminds that in 2023 the rich cultural heritage of Guyana’s diverse people remains intact since an independent Guyana took the final step towards republicanism in 1970.
Thousands of Guyanese will join in the revelry of Mashramani or observe the Republic anniversary fraternizing with friends and family. The ERC therefore sees the many activities and observances as another solid example of citizens taking time out as one people to celebrate.
The Commission commends Guyanese for their efforts to respect the country’s ethnic diversity and continuing to contribute in spirit to attain togetherness. The task of the ERC is made easier as the body continuously seeks to “promote harmony and good relations” when national occasions are embraced by the people. Today, Guyanese are able again to bond freely and observe another important milestone in their country.
Happy Republic Day from the Ethnic Relations Commission!
February 23, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends greetings to thousands of Hindus across the country on observances to mark ‘Maha Shivratri’, Saturday February 18.
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest greetings to all Guyanese of Chinese descent, on the occasion of Chinese Arrival Day commemorated on Thursday, January 12. This year marks 170 years since the first batch of Chinese immigrants landed in British Guiana in 1853.
The Chinese were another ethnic group added to the sugar plantations by the British after the end of slavery. The ERC therefore, recognises the invaluable contributions of the Chinese toward the evolution of modern-day Guyana.
Guyana’s first President, Arthur Chung was of Chinese descent and several Guyanese of that lineage entered public life which impacted the social and cultural life of the country. Many Guyanese of Chinese descent also functioned in the judiciary, business and the arts after the country became independent almost 60 years ago.
The ERC with its mandate to “promote harmony and good relations” continues to acknowledge the presence of the various ethnicities which have shaped the multi-ethnic society since independence.
January 12, 2023
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest Christmas greetings to Christians and all Guyanese, while remembering the needy during the season and beyond. It is time again to celebrate the goodness of humanity with sharing and compassion.
The past year was not without many challenges, yet the Guyanese tradition of giving has brought smiles and joy to the needy from all ethnic groups, both young and old. The ERC, with its role to promote harmony and good relations welcomes the generosity for which the Guyanese culture of giving is known.
The birth of the Christ child in humble settings continues to be inspirational with a symbolic message of goodness and love for all humanity. The Commission encourages citizens to remember the significance of Christmas in our multi-ethnic society.
Like our other religious holidays, Christmas has overcome religious barriers and Guyanese from all backgrounds observe the festive season. Such a positive development has served to provide opportunities to bring our people together.
As friends, neighbours, colleagues at work or relatives, make a silent and determined promise to promote tolerance and peace. It is our collective duty to galvanise efforts as citizens to achieve national harmony for the sake of our country.
Merry Christmas from the Ethnic Relations Commission!
December 25, 2022
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest greetings to the Hindu community and all Guyanese in observing Diwali 2022, signifying the triumph of good over evil.
The recurring story of the annual festival provides inspiration and guidance to citizens from all ethnic groups; light will replace darkness, positives will bloom over negatives and good will ultimately overcome evil.
The Commission is tasked with the multi-faceted objective to promote harmony and good relations through positive measures; actions to promote tolerance, understanding, education and acceptance to achieve national harmony, eventually removing the destructive undercurrents of division and disharmony.
The resurgence this year of the traditional well-lit Diwali motorcades traversing the roadways, along with the walk-about by citizens to view the flickering Diyas country-wide epitomize the illuminating message of Diwali. For Hindus, Diwali symbolizes the lighted path prepared to herald the homecoming of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile and defeating King Ravana’s tyranny thousands of years ago.
The significance of this national observance is replete with messages of victory and emergence from darkness and despair. The Commission, therefore, urges Guyanese to endeavour and commit to building upon the enduring festival of lights to sustain peace and brotherhood.
Let’s embrace the positives portrayed by Diwali for the advancement of the multi-ethnic Guyanese nation celebrating many cultures in one country. Shubh Diwali to all from the Ethnic Relations Commission!
October 24, 2022
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends Youman-Nabi greetings to the Muslim community and all Guyanese in commemorating the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Since Independence, the annual religious public holiday on the cultural calendar is one which reinforces Guyanese tradition of embracing major religious observances. The Commission overwhelmingly supports the nurturing and continued advancement of the religious diversity which pervades our multi-ethnic society. The significance of this national observance enhances the promotion of harmony and good relations among Guyanese – a major objective of the ERC. The worldwide observance of Youman-Nabi re-emphasises too the many teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) such as love and respect for each other.
The ERC reminds that the Holy Prophet’s teachings to reform mankind’s behavior include the acceptance of God and his commandments leading ultimately to spiritual elevation. The commemoration of Youman-Nabi revives those teachings which, centuries after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) remain relevant for Guyanese of all ethnicities. The Commission therefore, encourages all Guyanese to internalize and endorse the messages associated with Youman-Nabi to further appreciate our peaceful co-existence and high level of religious tolerance.
Happy Youman-Nabi to all from the Ethnic Relations Commission!
October 9, 2022
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest greetings to the indigenous peoples and all Guyanese in observance of Heritage Month 2022. The culture of our first peoples is uniquely intertwined with the Guyanese nation and multi-ethnic identity.
Fortunately, it is befitting to remind that Guyana remains one of the few territories in the Caribbean where nine indigenous ethnic groups reside, adding to the country’s unique cultural diversity.
Once again, the indigenous culture will be shared for others to experience in the month-long observances, with its rich customary foods and beverages that many Guyanese enjoy. In that regard, the Commission encourages Guyanese of other ethnic groups to participate in the observances, connecting with the indigenous peoples and recognizing their contributions.
Since Independence from colonial rule, indigenous cultural practices have become more embedded and are welcomed alongside the African, East Indian, Portuguese and Chinese cultures in our plural society. Let’s persist in that practice of tolerance. Happy Heritage Month from the Ethnic Relations Commission!
September 1, 2022
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends Emancipation greetings to all African Guyanese at home and abroad on this milestone to mark the end of slavery. The Commission joins hands with all Guyanese on this 184th anniversary to reflect on the importance of freedom – a basic human right for all.
The ancestral experience was dominated by bondage for centuries and to muster the courage to change and shape the future ended many times with lethal consequences. That experience began with the ships at sea transporting their chained human cargo to faraway lands, including British Guiana. It was inevitable that the initial foundations of the colony of British Guiana were laid by the sacrifices of the bondsmen, not omitting contributions made much later by other ethnicities. Let’s therefore seek to define a common future as One People on the cusp of further development.
The contributions of our African compatriots in the beginning are indelible and serve as poignant reminders. Looking back, we can all learn from their experiences while faced with the changing dynamics of this century.
Happy Emancipation Anniversary to all from the management and staff of the Ethnic Relations Commission!
August 1, 2022
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest EID – UL – ADHA greetings to Muslims and all Guyanese on this annual observance.
The national holiday which translates as the ‘festival of sacrifice’ is a symbolic Islamic principle for all humanity; obedience to God and the message associated with sacrifice. The ERC urges all to heed the universal message of EID – UL – ADHA for a better Guyana – render support to each other, especially in situations of need.
Sharing during this holiday to the less fortunate, neighbours and friends is commendable and in recognition of the brotherhood existing among Guyanese. The observance remains a beacon of inspiration, guidance and motivation for all of us to build and promote national harmony. The lessons of sacrifice and humility must inspire us all as Guyanese.
Moreover, the Commission supports the thrust of this countrywide observance which strengthens ties with other ethnic groups in our multi-cultural society. The ERC is positive that our status as ‘One People’ is given deeper meaning during EID – UL – ADHA celebrations every year.
The national holiday represents another veritable example of the peaceful co-existence all Guyanese enjoy and the religious freedoms that are allowed. The ERC reiterates on this holiday that Guyanese of all ethnicities can draw important messages and principles from each other’s observances on the cultural calendar.
Eid Mubarak from the Ethnic Relations Commission!
July 9, 2022
The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends warmest greetings to all Guyanese on Independence Day. Political independence was granted after bitter struggle, but all ethnic groups now share one independent homeland, in freedom for more than half a century.
Cultural and religious freedoms continue to flourish; the ERC congratulates all Guyanese for continuing, in any small way, to cement the ties of diversity that bind everyone together as One People. Independence spurred intensified efforts to promote the growth of tolerance and respect. It blossomed with multi-ethnic national holidays and sharing in each other’s cultural festivities.
The breakaway from the grip of colonial rule, spearheaded by the selfless efforts of heroes of yore, climaxed 56 years ago in May, 1966. The lowering of the Union Jack for the last time and hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead for the first, ushered in the birth of One Nation – represented by diverse peoples including our own indigenous citizens.
The mammoth undertaking of nation-building rests on the shoulders of every citizen, traversing a common path together to attain One Destiny in peace and prosperity. Let’s continue to remember that our ancestors travelled from different lands across the Atlantic and laid the foundations of independence in struggle.
With commitment to country and recognition of our aspirations, the stage is set for adding more building blocks to achieve a more harmonious multi-ethnic society which we all desire. Our National Motto reminds us of that!
Happy Independence to all Guyanese from the Management and Staff of the ERC!
May 26, 2022
The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) extends greetings to all Guyanese on the observance of Arrival Day 2022. It commemorates the arrival, at different historical points, of numerous indentured servants in a hodgepodge of diverse cultures to replace slave labor on the sugar plantations.
The role of the colonial power, without argument, was responsible for facilitating a labour supply made up of different faces who made unique contributions. The ERC reiterates the need for Guyanese of all ethnicities to remember their history which has irreversibly shaped our country.
Today, we celebrate the enrichment of diversity that Arrival Day embodies in the shaping of modern Guyana. Arrival Day is most significant for what it represents in the context of the multi-faceted mosaic it created and for which our country is known. We are multi-ethnic as a result of the untold sacrifices, desires and steadfastness of our ancestors, to practice and preserve their rich and colourful cultural traditions. As One Guyana, it is evident that many participate meaningfully in each other’s festivities that have become truly national observances.
Over time, that rich, beautiful and vibrant diversity has become our strength and common bond in the process of becoming one people, working towards a common destiny.
Happy Arrival Day to all!
May 5, 2022