Aug 06, 2020 Letters Comments Off on It was my privilege to serve this country
Permit me the space, please, to share something of a personal note. It may be timely and meaningful during a period of heavy whispers and dark fears about witch-hunts and forced resignations, and similar such developments, whether engineered or contemplated or imagined; if real, it does not contribute to mending. This has special meaning for me, which is why I wish to do it publicly.
As many know I am a returnee, a virtual stranger here. I have never been affiliated with a political party, never attended a political meeting or rally, or any such thing; did not know any of the political principals from any side of the divide. Thus, it was a total surprise, when out of nowhere, the then Hon. Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman, extended an invitation to me to lend a helping hand at a state agency. He renewed that invitation three years in succession, despite a few attempts by me to depart. It was my privilege to serve this country; I am humbled. My tenure at the Guyana Gold Board will be a cherished memory, for several reasons.
Mr. Trotman never (I mean never) interfered or sought to influence the work that we did. We shared and discussed, and the rest was left to me and the board. We disagreed, to be sure, but the independence, which I had tabled at the initial conversation was always given free rein to function; it is the way things should be. I thank him for the confidence and trust placed in me and the team. I liked working for and with the man; things were done on a structured and honourable basis between us: no surprises, no blind sidings, no embarrassments. I thank him again. We worked through challenges and crisis and always, level heads prevailed. Once more, the appreciation flows and profusely. Like I said, I was able to get on with the responsibilities independently and fluently. That was priceless and will be treasured as a model of what should be. I encourage the new Ali Administration to listen and take a page from this book.
I found it appealing that, despite my lack of political history or pedigree, the then minister reached out to an outsider, a largely unknown entity (save for my writings), an Indian man no less and said: let us put our heads together and work together to do something positive. To be truly clear, I was not a supporter of any kind, an Indian one, a diaspora one, or a stealth one. But Mr. Trotman came to me and said: I think you can fulfill this responsibility; now go and do it well. Again, I humbly recommend that President Irfaan Ali and his group deliberate and decide along these lines. Trust a few strange people, a couple of outsiders, some unknown faces in which to deposit trust and support. They do not have to be tried and true supporters.
Lots of positives (so I believe) became possible because of the bold step taken by Trotman, and one who contributed heavily to those positives was Ms. Eondrene Thompson, General Manager of the Gold Board along with her team. To her, I extend a special word of gratitude. I say this unequivocally and from the heart: in all my years of working here, in North America, in Latin America, a little in Asia and in Europe, and to some extent back here again, I am yet to encounter Ms. Thompson’s equal in terms of comportment, honesty, and singular dedication to duty, honest dedication. The work that was done could not have been executed without someone of her calibre at the side.
To the Cabinet and ultimately President David Granger to whom I think these appointments tier up, I say thanks for the opportunity to serve the citizens of this country. I trust that I brought dignity and professionalism to the task at hand, and honesty and honour to all endeavours, and I mean all endeavours without fail. Time and environment will judge how I did. And last, to my fellow citizens, it was my special privilege to serve, to strive, to make the words written and the positions taken come alive in the doing and the living. I do hope that I did exemplify what it is to be a humble servant-leader, a genuine servant helper. May God bless all Guyana and Guyanese in the days ahead.
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