By Marcia Braveboy
Caribbean News Now Senior Correspondent
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- Please pray for Professor Norman Girvan! The well known academic and University of the West Indies professor is said to have suffered from a bad fall while hiking on the Caribbean island of Dominica; and now people in the Diaspora are asking to keep the professor in their hearts and in their prayers.
Professor Norman Girvan
Girvan had to be airlifted to a medical facility in Martinique and will now have to undergo surgery, having discovered the seriousness of the fall.
“…asking all my FB friends to keep Professor Norman Girvan in their thoughts and prayers. Norman had a bad accident on Tuesday while in Dominica. It seems that he suffered a bad fall. He had to be airlifted to Martinique and is due to undergo surgery. His situation is serious” David Abdulah wrote on his facebook page.
Abdulah is a trade unionist and is the head of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) in Trinidad and Tobago.
The MSJ leader said professor Girvan is a leading voice on the Caribbean political economy who has contributed to the development of the region through various groups and institutions.
“Professor Girvan is the region's leading political economist and has been doing tremendously important work over the past several years through lecturing, advocacy on key issues, sharing information and campaigning via his website and the initiation of an e paper – Caribbean Voices 1804. Norman was a member of the famous CLR James study group in London in the mid ‘60’s that included Walter Rodney, Wally Look Lai and Richard Small. Norman is also active in regional civil society through his work with the Cropper Foundation; as well as internationally. Norman's wife Jasmine is a very highly respected jeweler and is also well known to many here in T&T and the region.”
Girvan, who played an unyielding role for the betterment of the Haitian people, was remembered by Haitian-American performer-poet and human rights lawyer Ezili Danto, who wrote in an email exchange with other colleagues from the Caribbean that she was saddened by the news of Girvan’s accident. Danto posted the message on her Facebook page.
“Ezili HLLNetwork was sad to hear of the ill health of Dr. Norman Girvan who has not failed to stand for life in Haiti not death. Supporting and actively encouraging an end to the imperial exploitation, supporting the justice work of Ezili Network to bring voice to the voiceless. Below we copy a note received from Ms Khan joining our voice to say a speedy recovery to Norman Girvan. We're most happy to circulate this call to wish Professor Norman Girvan a speedy and quick get well.”
Girvan is admired and respected for his stance on human rights issues throughout the region; his most recent advocacy is against the September 23, 2013 constitutional court ruling in the Dominican Republic that renders stateless Dominican nationals of Haitian decent born in that country after 1920.
Back in November 2013, Girvan led a civil rights group that met with CARICOM leaders in Port of Spain. The delegation presented the chairman of CARICOM and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar along with the other heads of CARICOM with two petitions, protesting the ruling of the Dominican Republic constitutional court, which denationalizes citizens of Haitian descent, and called on CARICOM to take strong action to denounce it and bring pressure on Dominican Republic to change it.
The Girvan-led delegation called the ruling and its inhumane effects on Dominican nationals of Haitian decent “genocide” and “apartheid”. “Members of the Bureau: we cannot countenance, without the most vigorous opposition, the further institution of a state of social genocide and apartheid in the heart of our own region” the delegation stressed to the CARICOM bureau.
Family members have asked for privacy on professor Girvan’s condition at this time, but promise to update the media when the need arises.