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February 24, 2009 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Due to “credible death and kidnapping threats”, T-Pain has cancelled a concert in Guyana for Mashramani, the festival that marks the anniversary of Guyana’s independence from Great Britain. Last years, celebration was soured by a killing spree perpetrated by a heavily armed gang led by man known as “Fine Man”. Because the 23 victims were mainly of East Indian descent, the massacre was a powder keg issue for the tiny South American nation. With a population of 44% East Indian and 30% African ancestries, Guyana tends to be socially and politically divided along ethnic identity lines.

What initiated the February 2008 rampage was the fact that “Fine Man’s” (Rondell Rawlins) 18 year-old pregnant girlfriend went missing. The gang leader accused the Ethnic East-Indian controlled government of kidnapping her; employing secret, yet sanctioned vigilante squads to do so.
Allegedly linked to the then Guyanese Minister of Home Affairs, these ‘Phantom Death Squads’ have been responsible for the murders of suspected criminals and escaped convicts since 2002. Such squads have also been linked to a prominent Guyanese businessman who may have motives of his own when it comes to his involvement with them.
“Fine Man” was killed in a police raid last September. His girlfriend has yet to be found.
posted by Stu-Pendous (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The above mentioned Minister of Home Affairs
posted by Stu-Pendous at 3:53 PM on February 24, 2009

So, he'll take Martin Sheen's advice and stay on the boat, then?
posted by The World Famous at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2009

Romantic, terrifying and compelling. These circumstances remind me of "Ghosts of Cité Soleil", a documentary about government sanctioned gang leaders in Haiti's worst neighborhood.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 4:08 PM on February 24, 2009

The situation sounds tragic, but there's a silver lining: They don't have to listen to T-Pain.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:23 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

So, he'll take Martin Sheen's advice and stay on the boat, then?

posted by GuyZero at 4:35 PM on February 24, 2009

Dude... I saw T-Pain in PHX with Lil' Wayne a few weeks ago... those guys are missing out on something special.
posted by ph00dz at 4:46 PM on February 24, 2009

While I'm not surprised that T-Pain has received death threats, I didn't expect they'd be coming from the Guyanese.
posted by box at 6:25 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

1. Text to speech the NYT Article
2. Apply Auto Tune

I just don't have the time at the moment...
posted by jckll at 7:31 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love me some T-Pain.

That is all. One hopes :-)
posted by 8-bit floozy at 7:57 PM on February 24, 2009

Perhaps he could perform from someplace nearby where it would be difficult for murderers and kidnappers to reach?

Hmmmm.... maybe on a boat offshore of Georgetown?
posted by SenshiNeko at 8:07 PM on February 24, 2009

Guyana is not "socially divided" along racial lines. It's like Trinidad, where my partner hails from. In the US, you have social segregation between blacks and non-blacks, so much so that the two groups, even in cases in which they live mere steps from one another, speak completely different forms of English.

In TT and Guyana, blacks, Indians, Chinese, Syrians, and "douglah" and other ethnic/racial mixtures partake of the same culture and SPEAK THE SAME VERNACULAR.

The kidnappings etc are very obviously racially informed (if not racially "motivated," whatever that means) and politics in both countries are starkly racially divided. But in some ways Guyana is not remotely as segregated as is the US.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:06 AM on February 25, 2009

It is incorrect to assume that there are no racial divides in Guyana based on your Trinidadian partner's experience in their country. Though the demographics of both countries may be similar, I've heard that race relations are much better in T&T.

I am Guyanese, and I have seen the Indian/African racial divide in that country first hand; it still exists. The divide even remains among some Guyanese living abroad.
posted by LaFleur at 8:23 AM on February 26, 2009

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