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Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, along with several officials from the Regional Executive Office in Region Six, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), and the Guyana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) on Saturday last paid homage to the fifteen (15) sugar workers who are referred to as the Rose Hall Martyrs, after they were slain by their colonial masters on March 13, 1913, at Rose Hall Estate.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while laying a wreath during the ceremony

The horrific incident is said to be one of the most unpleasant reminders of British colonialism and another manifestation of the brutal conditions our forefathers had to contend with in colonial times.

While offering remarks at a simple wreath-laying exercise, Minister Mustapha said

“These workers stood up to the plantocracy at that time. Four holidays were given to them and the plantocracy wanted to take those days back. We saw what took place after they stood their ground. Today as we mark 108 years since the sacrifice of these fallen heroes, I want to encourage you to rededicate your energies to ensure that the sacrifices of those who perished in 1913 and the additional 41 workers who were injured that day were not in vain. Last year, after the General and Regional Elections, we witnessed persons trying to steal our democracy. There was fear and serious conflict in our land but like any other peace-loving people we fought to ensure that the party that won the election was there to take up its position in government and Dr. Irfaan Ali was sworn in as President,” Minister Mustapha said.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha with the two granddaughters of one of the slain sugar-workers

The ordeal which resulted in the death of fifteen (15) persons, including a woman, Gobindei, and a Police Corporal, notably brought to an end the hated system of indentureship.

Two remaining granddaughters of one of the sugar workers also attended the ceremony. They both expressed thanks to the Minister and those in attendance for acknowledging the sacrifices made by their relatives all those years ago.

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