Kaieteur News – On Sunday in Massey Supermarket, I met someone that I have something in common with – entrepreneur and former diplomat, Hamley Case. Mr. Case, for Christmas 2014, sent me a copy of Bacharach’s autobiography. We both like the phenomenal music of Bacharach. See my column, “I read Burt Bacharach to stop depression while waiting for the election results,” May 24, 2015.”
While chatting with him in the supermarket, I remarked that something ought to be done to make his father’s contribution to the education system of Guyana known to the present generation. His father, Fred Case, was an education pioneer in the first half of the 20th century and later helped in the formation of the University of Guyana.
I can distinctly remember Mr. Case in a letter in the newspapers (can’t remember the date but must have been more than 10 years ago) bemoaning the fact that nothing in Guyana bears his father’s name. When I brought up that topic, Mr. Case informed me that a bust of his father will be installed in the Queen’s College’s compound.
When this is done it will constitute the recording of history. Young students will stop, read the inscription under the bust and it will add to their knowledge of their country’s past. There are voluminous gaps missing in the recording of Guyana’s history and they must be filled ASAP. I can think of Father Andrew Morrison of journalism, Ron Robinson of theatre, etc.
Do you know where the Indian Monument Garden is (it occupies a whole square – Church, Camp and Thomas Streets, and North Road) was the place where Georgetown received its water supply? There needs to be a huge billboard erected in the garden informing citizens that right on that spot was the city’s main water supply.
The next day (Monday) after meeting Mr. Case, an incident of contextual relevance with the Case encounter occurred. My wife and I went to the Ministry of Heath to get our COVID-19 vaccine. As we were leaving, this bouncy lad (he bounces as he walks), about 25 years old, came up to me. My wife went ahead. He said he always reads my columns and noticed that I write about President Burnham and he would like to know more about Mr. Burnham as president.
It was a very hot day and I said to him that there were two things I don’t like – Forbes Burnham and the hot midday sun. I told him another time another place. As I walked away he said, “Write more about Mr. Burnham.” I believe the young generation should know their history.
They should know about the contributions of Fred Case to education. They should know what Father Morrison did for journalism. They should know about the terrible, horrible autocracy of the longest ruler of their country – Forbes Burnham. If 70 percent of the population is under 40 years, then those people were born in 1980.
They have no working knowledge of Burnham. They would have been five years old when Burnham passed away. When they were 16 years in high school, it would have been 1996. Guyana in 1996 did not bear any resemblance in relation to dictatorship.
Half the population is under 18. They were born around 2000. They are completely devoid of any knowledge of political atrocities under Burnham and how Guyana was one of the biggest pariahs among the countries of the world.
Just as how the students of Queen’s College will know about the educator, Fred Case, the young generation of this promising country should know what Guyana went through when Burnham rigged the national election until he died in 1985. There is no bust with an inscription under it with details of Burnham’s life as will be the case with Fred Case.
To know about the consequences of Burnham’s dictatorship, it is left up to historians. One suspects that in the future there will be books on Cheddi and Janet Jagan, and I believe someone will write a book on Bharrat Jagdeo. Moses Nagamootoo and Robert Corbin are nearing completion of their memoirs. But there is nothing on Burnham except, one book (by Tyrone Ferguson) and it is not a biography of Burnham and it doesn’t touch the dimensions of his megalomania, narcissism, and the death of his image brought about by Walter Rodney’s confrontation that exposed Burnham’s inherent evil.
I don’t know if I will ever see “Mr. Bouncy” again. If he is reading this, I would suggest that he keeps reading my columns because from time to time, I will do the occasional piece on the diabolical dictator of Guyana – Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
The only savior of Guyana.
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