Guyana has lost one of its most talented political foot soldiers that fought against the petty bourgeoisie rulers of Guyana. Lionel Peters (Lio) was a political activist who had a deep radical commitment to the people of Guyana. He came from the working class and throughout his political career, he remained among them.
I met Lio in the PYO, (the youth arm of the PPP) over two decades ago but as he told me, he was in the struggle for more than two decades before me. He told me that his commitment to the struggle was cemented after the murder of the Ballot Box Martyrs in the 1973 elections. Regardless of his trials and tribulations throughout his political life, I found Lio was always respectful of those around him, even to those who wronged him.
In his own humbleness, he was a man on a mission; to emancipate the working and exploited class using whatever mean necessary but at a very great expense to his personal self and his family. After 1992, as the PPP started to gravitate to the petty bourgeoisie, Lio was very concerned about this transformation. I particularly remembered his comment on how Laurie Lewis was allowed to infiltrate PPP leadership; notwithstanding he was a principal architect in undermining the struggle for free and fair elections.
But the true Lio was revealed in the 2011 elections, when at great risk to himself medically, he said “I want to campaign for the AFC and if I die, I will die a happy man knowing that I died with my boots on fighting for the people.” It took much determination and courage to execute, but he did it.
I was fortunate to have visited Lionel Peters a few weeks before his passing and as usual his first words to me from his bed were, “What is the latest happening in Guyana politics?” I smiled, since even from his bed, he was a politician. We had a long discourse on the no-confidence motion and his final words to me on that topic were, “I hope Moses pass this motion soon, without delay.” As I watched him eat that beef stew on that day, all by himself, I had two thoughts flashing through my mind: “This man really got God on his side” and “Lio will pull through this.”
After his hearty meal, Lio then blurted out “Once I get my kidney, I will be going back to Guyana in my wheelchair and will mobilize the people for Moses, the true President of Guyana”. I felt truly sad, since my eyes were telling me, Lio will not leave New York, but my heart was proud of his determination. The bad news came last week when Christina, his wife, posted on Facebook that she was asking us to pray for Lio. I did my duty to Lio and prayed but God’s always know best.
Lio was always a teacher before he was a politician. I personally learnt much from him. What I most admired about him was his undying belief in the youths of Guyana. May these few words comfort Christina, and his children Dherri, Sherri, Imran and Javed. Nothing would have made him prouder than to have all his children in the same room again and he did it from his dying bed. Lio has done his duty to his country. Farewell my comrade.
May God comfort his family at this time and may his soul rest in peace.
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