New book dedicated to Ashton Chase on 86th birthday
– among top ten world professionals
Guyana’s highest national awardee and Senior Counsel, Ashton Chase, was given a fitting gift for his 86th birthday anniversary with the launch of a book titled “Ashton Chase – The Bengal Tiger”. The book chronicles his life, accomplishments and contributions to Guyana.
President Donald Ramotar who wrote the foreword for the newly released book joined Cabinet members, politicians, attorneys at law, Guyanese of distinction, family members and well wishers who gathered in the auditorium of the newly commissioned New Building Society for the auspicious occasion on Wednesday.
The author, Dr. Nanda Gopaul, sought to charm persons to purchase the book by withholding details about the origin of the name the Bengal Tiger which connotes fierceness, and deep strategic intelligence of the most majestic of the big cats roaming the Indian sub continent.
Senior Counsel Chase felt that he didn’t fit the demeanor of a tiger which by its nature is agile and full of strength. Nevertheless he was surprised and appreciative of the Labour Minister’s effort to record his past achievements and contributions.
Within the 216 pages are records of the presentations Chase would have made while leading the National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees’ (NAACIE’s) delegation in tribunals against the SPA and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), his role in trade unionism, politics and the struggle for Guyana’s sovereignty and nationalism.
Minister Gopaul said that while part of his research initiatives were the sourcing of the Parliament Hansards, some were acquired through one on one interactions with Chase that were secretly recorded. The disclosure brought humour to the launching and solved the mystery surrounding the articulate information, according to Chase.
Chase said he was particularly elated with the documented tribunal presentations which he believes would be useful to the trade union movement of today and which President Ramotar contends is un-democratised.
Head of State, President Ramotar, recalled Chase’s instrumental role as Minister of Labour, to pilot the Labour Relations Bill of 1953 which he regarded as the pillar in trade union democracy. The Bill was approved long after Chase would have gone into retirement.
“One of the major problems in the labour movement is still the need to democratize the trade union movement in our country. As long as those fundamental issues of representation of workers within their unions, we will not overcome some of the difficulties that the trade union movement is still experiencing,” President Ramotar said.
Reflections were also made on Chase’s “throne” speech which Minister Gopaul said addressed many issues that are still highly debated today.
Chase’s involvement in trade unionism dates back to the age of nine when he said he was first introduced and his role in leadership as a teenager is living proof that youths have the vision to lead.
Minister Gopaul regards Chase as his mentor and someone who has influenced his life significantly. The valiance which Chase and others demonstrated in coming to Minister Gopaul’s aid when he was imprisoned in the “repressive era,” stands out in the minds of many onto this day.
Having worked alongside the father of the Trade Union Movement, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, and former President Dr. Cheddi Jagan as the pillars of strength in Guyana’s politics, President Ramotar said there are few people of distinction with interesting characters like Chase who should be given the loyalty they deserved.
Chase has joined the list of top 10 professionals in the world after the International Biographical Centre (IBC) in England which brought the good news to him in a correspondence on July 12.
The award which is accompanied by a laminated certificate makes Chase a new member of the IBC. The award will also be recorded in the halls of the IBC.