History is full of examples of people trying to rewrite history. In fact, there are times when people wonder whether the facts that they are reading as history are really what took place. There have been times when the dates were wrong and there have been the exaggeration of incidents.
Sometimes there have been omissions to the point that when what was omitted is taken into consideration the recorded history is changed, dramatically. Just this week I happened to read something about how the United States of America came by its name.
The recorded history attributed the name to a number of people, admittedly though, never definitively. So this past week someone doing research actually credited the name of the country to George Washington. He stumbled upon a letter that had been written before the date many people believed that the name was coined.
All this happened 274 years ago, so one finds out that the history can actually be changed. People reading about the United States would get another version of the history of the country.
In Guyana, we talk about the Berbice Slave Rebellion and we attribute the date of this event as February 23, 1763. This allowed Guyana to set up the first independent state even before the United States was independent.
However, researchers are now finding out that there was no rebellion on February 23, 1763. Our history will be changed, although I doubt that any discovery would actually make its way into the history books.
I am not a historian. Of course in school, I was forced to learn English history. So I learnt about Charlemagne and the King Richards and Jeanne D’Arc, things that should not really interest me, but there were people who thought such things interesting to the point that they needed to be perpetuated.
I am still looking at the history of the various wars that occurred in the last century and I am finding out that changes are being made all the time. For example, during the Second World War there was a group of Airmen called the Tuskegee Airmen. They were Black and it turned out that they were among the best airmen to escort the bombers into Europe.
However, the history of the war did not really document them. It was not until long after, when many of them had died, that the American authorities actually gave them their due. The history books were changed to acknowledge this group of airmen.
President Donald Ramotar made these things come to mind when in Trinidad he sought to rewrite the history of Caricom. Four men initiated the regional integration movement and one of them was Guyana’s Forbes Burnham.
This year marked the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the agreement that gave Caricom its existence. That agreement was signed in Trinidad and became known as the Treaty of Chaguaramas. The founding fathers, Burnham, Trinidad’s Eric Williams, Jamaica’s Michael Manley and Barbados’s Errol Barrow, all affixed their signature. Those records are there and the original document exists in the archives. It cannot be wished away.
It was therefore surprising that President Donald Ramotar travelled to Trinidad and sought to change the history of the regional integration movement. The summit decided that it would recognize the founding fathers and speaker after speaker spoke of the foresight of these men.
Then it was Donald Ramotar’s turn. For him, Burnham did not exist; he was not there to sign the Treaty of Chaguaramas. President Ramotar spoke of the wisdom of the founding of Caricom and he spoke of the role of Dr Cheddi Jagan in the fight for regional integration, but nothing about Burnham.
He obviously forgot that Cheddi Jagan refused to join the West Indies Federation. That he refused to allow University of Guyana to be a part of the University of the West Indies. In fact, Cheddi Jagan was not a regional integration person.
It was as if the name stuck in his throat or that if he were to mention it then he would collapse and die or run to some church to seek absolution.
History will show that Burnham was not the best thing to face the People’s Progressive Party that Donald Ramotar now heads. History will show that Ramotar and his followers both at home and abroad, campaigned unceasingly for Burnham’s removal from office. This never happened.
Indeed Ramotar would have hated Burnham with a vengeance, but to go on a global stage and to try to wish away Burnham was something stupid. It was embarrassing, to say the least, that everyone at the summit recognized this, and they must be saying that Guyanese must be the pettiest people in the world.
Trinidad’s Kamla Persad-Bissessar is from a party other than Eric Williams, but she recognized his role. Donald Ramotar could not appreciate Burnham’s.
Jun 23, 2021Kaieteur News – The Guyana Badminton Association Team of President Gokarn Ramdhani, Vice President Ayanna Watson and Secretary Emelia Ramdhani along with National and International Champions...
Kaieteur News – I met Leyland DeCambra at the beginning of the 70s. It was a friendship that has lasted ever since.... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders More commonality was shown by CARICOM countries in a vote on Tuesday June 15 at the Organisation of... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]