The Association of Concerned Guyanese (ACG) is pleased to announce that it will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary on November 23rd, 2013 at 7 p.m. at Elite Banquet Hall, 1850 Albion Road, Toronto.
The ACG was formed in direct response to the widespread electoral fraud and massive political repression carried out by the People’s National Congress (PNC) regime during the General Elections held in Guyana on July 16th, 1973, and later exposed by Granada TV in a British documentary called “Burnham did it again!”
Previous elections held in 1968 were also massively rigged by the PNC where electoral fraud was again committed using widespread overseas voting by people who were already dead or who did not even exist or were not even Guyanese as later evidenced in the British Documentary by GRANADA TV, called “The Making of a Prime Minister“.
Elections in 1964 were manipulated by the British and the US Governments in a deliberate effort to keep Dr. Cheddi Jagan’s People’s Progressive Party (PPP) out of power by arbitrarily changing the electoral system in favour of the PNC/United Force coalition.
However the 1973 Elections saw widespread electoral fraud and massive repression by the PNC regime hit unprecedented proportions with the PNC deploying Guyana Defence Force soldiers armed with tear gas, grenades, rifles and bayonets, descending on the Corentyne, in county of Berbice, with the clear intention of taking full control of the ballot boxes and removing the representatives of the PPP Party from around the ballot boxes.
It was then that two courageous young Guyanese men, Bholanauth Parmanand and Jagan Ramessar, who were PPP Scrutineers, were brutally bayoneted and shot by GDF soldiers while performing their patriotic duty as they demanded that they accompany the ballot boxes to the place of counting. These two young men are now known as the Ballot Box Martyrs of Guyana.
It was in that eventful year of 1973 that a group of young patriotic Guyanese in Toronto gathered together to form the organization now known as the Association of Concerned Guyanese (the ACG).
Its mandate then was to bring international awareness to the plight of the Guyanese people, their struggles to have free and fair elections and to bring an end to the ruling PNC dictatorship.
The ACG joined with Dr. Jagan and the PPP to petition the Canadian Government and other International bodies to put pressure on the PNC regime to respect the wishes of the Guyanese people and to hold free and fair elections.
That struggle was won in October 1992 when the first free and fair elections were held in post- Independence Guyana and Dr. Jagan and his PPP/Civic Party were elected.
Mani Singh, Senior Vice President of the ACG, states that following the restoration of democracy in 1992, the ACG adjusted its mandate to provide support to the duly elected PPP/C Government in rebuilding the country which was devastated by almost three decades of dictatorial rule.
With national unity seen as a vital element of Nation building, the ACG initiated and played a leading role in bringing together the Guyanese Diaspora in Canada. These efforts would eventually give birth to the Guyana Festival in Toronto, the largest annual gathering of Guyanese outside of Guyana.
The ACG also initiated and supported numerous community-based projects aimed at strengthening communities and rebuilding the country. The ACG played an integral role in the flood relief efforts in 2005 by working closely with the Guyana Consulate in Toronto and by providing both financial and material assistance to fellow citizens in Guyana. The ACG has also supported the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre in Georgetown.
Several ACG members returned to Guyana and served in various capacities in the PPP/Civic Administration. And today the ACG continues to mobilize support for the PPP/C Government’s efforts to improve the quality of life of every Guyanese.
Mr. Singh further states that the work of the ACG is still relevant today as the struggle continues to maintain, consolidate and defend hard fought democratic gains from forces in Guyana who are bent on grabbing political power at all costs with absolutely no regard for democracy.
The Executive and Members of the ACG would like to extend a warm invitation to all Guyanese and friends of Guyana to join them in this historic celebration on November 23rd, 2013.