The 6th October 2010 marks the 34th Anniversary of the dastardly act of terrorism which resulted in the Cubana Air Disaster.

All Guyanese need to be reminded of the 73 innocent persons, who were killed, on Cubana Flight 455 which was on its way from Barbados to Jamaica when it was brought down just off coast of Barbados. The passengers included five (5) citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 57 Cuban Nationals, including the championship winning Cuban National Fencing Team, as well as eleven (11) Guyanese:

1. Ann Nelson, 2. Gordon Sobha, 3. Harold Norton, 4. Jacqueline Williams, 5. Margaret Bradshaw, 6. Rawle Thomas, 7. Raymond Persaud, 8. Rita Thomas, 9. Sabrina Harrypaul, 10. Seshnarine Kumar, 11. Violet Thomas.

According to the then Prime Minister, Mr. L.F.S. Burnham, when he to the Nation on the tragedy, “They died because there are some in this world, and more particularly in this hemisphere, who do not accept the right of a people to fashion their own destinies and to dictate their own goals.”

After 34 years, it is easy to forget the political climate of that period. It was the period of the cold war when most developing countries believed that non-alignment and socialist values were essential for rapid economic development. It is, therefore, significant that that terrorist attack was intended as a way of deterring and frustrating Cuba and Guyana from pursuing the path of development consistent with their own determined political, economic and social values.

The Cubana Air Disaster is a reminder to us all that the building of a nation and the goal of self-determination are difficult and arduous tasks, but they must be undertaken if countries like Guyana are to fashion the kind of society in which their people can flourish and prosper.

That until this day, the known perpetrators of this terrorist act are still to be brought to justice, for their crime against humanity, speaks volumes for the different standards, meted out to poor developing countries, when it comes to international justice and fair play.

It is also unfortunate that, on this the 34th Anniversary of one of the most deadly terrorist airline attacks in the western hemisphere, we, in Guyana, are forced to endure: the ravages of widespread corruption; narco-trafficking; organised crime; gangland-type executions; gun-running; the rising incidence of domestic violence; and the feeling of hopelessness among our young people, inflicted by an incompetent, selfish and depraved Administration that seems to have lost their way and forgotten the values which caused us to suffer the consequences of the terrorism, represented by the Cubana Air Disaster.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Wednesday 6 October 2010

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