Vedanta AGM Protest. London August 28, 2012

Please join us for the eighth annual protest at British mining company Vedanta’s AGM on 28 August, 2.00PM at THE LINCOLN CENTRE, 18 Lincoln’s Inn
Fields, London WC2A 3ED

Vedanta plc is a London listed FTSE 100 company dubbed ‘the world’s most hated mining company’ which has brought death and destruction to
thousands. It is owned by billionaire Anil Agarwal and his family through companies in various tax havens. It has been consistently fought by
people’s movements but it is being helped by the British government to evolve into a multi-headed monster and spread across India and round the
world, diversifying into iron in Goa, Karnataka and Liberia, Zinc in Rajasthan, Namibia, South Africa and Ireland, copper in Zambia and most
recently oil in the ecologically fragile Mannar region in Sri Lanka.

* Vedanta is the second most tax evading mining company in the FTSE 100. Billionaire company chief Anil Agarwal is one of the richest men in
Britain with a £20 million home in Mayfair. His family own 62% of the company through various tax havens.

* At their Korba aluminium plant in Chhattisgarh, India up to 100 people are suspected to have been bulldozed into the rubble after a factory
chimney collapsed on them. Vedanta claim only 42 died but between 60 and 100 are still missing.

* At the Jharsuguda aluminium complex in Odisha, an estimated 10,000 people displaced by the plant are forced to live in polluted conditions
under constant surveillance rather than be rehabilitated.

* In Zambia Vedanta’s Konkola copper mines polluted the Kafue river so heavily that it turned green. 100 x acceptable levels for copper and 7,700
x acceptable levels of manganese were found in water depended on by 50,000 people.

* In Odisha, indigenous movements have opposed Vedanta’s bauxite mine on the Niyamgiri hills for seven years and so far prevented it. The whole of
the Dongia Kondh tribe would be affected detrimentally if the mine went ahead.

* Despite protests, environmental disasters and human rights atrocities everywhere the company operates, the British Government have continually
protected and supported Vedanta.

Ghana Independence – A view from Trinidad

Ghana celebrates 55 years of Independence today.   Later this year Trinidad and Tobago will celebrate 50 years of Independence.  Countries like Ghana led the way for other colonies.  But I want to remember two Trinidadians who were involved in the celebration of this day March 6, 1957.

The first is George Padmore, who was born in 1901 in Trinidad, the grandson of a slave, the son of a school teacher. He was a writer and activist and close friends with CLR James.  He was also the Personal Representative of Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah.

The second is Lord Kitchener, calypsonian extraordinaire who sang about Ghana’s independence.

Trinidad has given the world some of the most significant Pan Africanists of the 20th Century. From Henry Sylvestre Williams to CLR James to George Padmore and Kwame Ture. I wonder where that legacy has gone. I wonder too why the connections are not as strong as they used to be.

It’s not like Declarations of Independence have made the problems magically disappear.  If anything the economic shackles are still there and Western multi-nationals continue to call the shots when it comes to what we do with our natural resources, whether it is oil or cocoa or culture.

And it’s not just about politicians signing bi-lateral agreements. The disappointing legacy for the Caribbean and I imagine also for Africa is that our leaders have become agents of colonialism, selling us out piece by shiny piece to the highest bidders.  The majority of the citizens do not benefit from these deals and all that we are left with is the social and environmental complications.

We need to have more communication between our artists and intellectuals and activists.  We need solidarity because in a lot of ways our struggles are the same and it makes no sense for us to be labouring in our small corners without sharing ideas for solutions.

So that days like today are truly days for us to celebrate.  The victory of all peoples against the tyranny of oppression and the terror of self-doubt.