Apr 07, 2021 Letters
Kaieteur News – It is now 15 long years since Satyadeow ‘Sash’ Sawh, his sister Pulmatie Persaud, his brother Rajpat Sawh and the security guard Curtis Robertson were brutally murdered by terrorists on April 22, 2006.
It is an absolute shame that, after all these years, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has not publicly provided objective and complete answers for what happened to one of its leaders, nor has it identified the organisers of this terrorist act. These murders should be one of the priority ‘cold cases’ to be solved.
Sash Sawh served three PPP/C Presidents – Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan and Bharrat Jagdeo. Therefore, the PPP/C has the primary responsibility for putting an end to the hearsay, rumours and theories about supposedly inner-party jealousies, forestry concessions and drug lords. We Guyanese, at home and in the diaspora, need an answer as to why police assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) never materialised.
All PPP/C members and supporters must support his wife, sons, relatives and friends who have been consistently calling on the PPP/C leadership, for over 10 years now, to complete a full and proper investigation.
Satyadeow Sawh was a patriot and internationalist whose time among us was too short. He was a compassionate and intelligent person who graduated from York University in Toronto with a Degree in Economics.
He was one of the most effective democratic leaders in the Guyanese diaspora in North America, an outstanding Ambassador for Guyana and one of the most dynamic, efficient and effective Ministers ever in any Guyanese Government.
As we know, between 1968 and 1985 in Guyana, there were rigged elections, economic decline and trends towards dictatorship and the militarisation of the society. That was a very difficult time for the democratic forces in Guyana. Some PPP leaders in Guyana defected to the PNC, others drifted out of politics, and Walter Rodney was assassinated in 1980.
From 1982 to 1993, in response to these challenges, Sash Sawh, the patriot, led the Association of Concerned Guyanese (ACG) in Toronto to organise the Guyanese diaspora and Canadian organisations to support the successful return of democracy to Guyana in 1992.
As an internationalist, Sash also led the ACG to support organisations in Toronto that were struggling for an end to nuclear arms, for the liberation of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, for an end to dictatorships in Central and South America and for progressive change in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.
From 1993 to 1996 in Venezuela, Satyadeow Sawh distinguished himself as an Ambassador for Guyana. In recognition of his contribution to improving relations between the Guyanese and Venezuelan nations, he was honoured with a national award in Venezuela.
Today, the Guyanese diaspora in Venezuela, who number over 30,000 persons, still fondly remember Ambassador Sawh for his steadfast support of their legal rights in Venezuela and for facilitating many of their family members to return to Guyana.
In 1997, Satyadeow ‘Sash’ Sawh was mandated by the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan to create the new Ministry of Fisheries, Other Crops and Livestock.
Under his leadership, the agricultural sector was diversified into new and expanded sub-sectors like honey production, commercial fish farming and processed juices.
As a Minister, Sash was humble, caring and approachable. He had an unbreakable grassroots connection with fisher folk, farmers, workers and the poor. He understood their problems, concerns and aspirations, and represented their interests with zeal, passion, and integrity.
Regardless of ethnicity or political affiliation, Minister Sawh carried the message of “food security” to farmers in their villages across Guyana. In meetings of CARICOM Ministers, he always proposed fresh ideas and new ways to meet the food needs of the Caribbean people.
Sash’s focus was on how farmers and processors could increase their incomes by exporting value-added products and by substituting imported foods with quality local products. There were successes. Seafood export revenues grew from US$3 million in the early 1990’s to over US$62 million in 2007. In 2001, over 40 percent of the chicken that Guyanese consumed was imported from the USA. By 2011, Guyana became self-sufficient in poultry production.
Everyone, especially young people, can learn a lot from Sash Sawh. He set an example by his deeds and not just his words. Even when things went wrong and there were defeats, he displayed an unwavering commitment to the cause of democracy and a better life for all Guyanese. His ethics were grounded in his religious and moral upbringing, the compassionate lessons of his parents, and his life experiences growing up in Mahaicony and, later, Georgetown.
The secret of Sash’s success was his self-sacrifice and devotion to what he loved to do, happily serving his family, country, farmers, workers, the poor and the disadvantaged. He was a loyal son, a fantastic father and husband, a patriot and an internationalist – a true humanitarian.
Sash was always dedicated, committed and loyal to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic.
He had an impressive ability to effectively articulate the struggles, aspirations and victories of workers, farmers and other working people. He was blessed with a booming voice and an undeniable ‘people’s touch’. This was confirmed at his funeral when thousands of Guyanese showed an outpouring of love for him because he was honest, forward-looking, competent and inspiring, and he had a genuine interest in their wellbeing.
His happy personality, joyous laugh and engaging smile infected everyone. He was a perpetual optimist. He was not a negative or complaining person. He was always cheerful and enthusiastic.
All PPP/C members and supporters and all Guyanese, at home and in the diaspora, cannot be silent and allow the injustice of April 22, 2006 to continue. We want the PPP/C government to hold an investigation now. If we do not do this, then it will be the PPP/C’s shame for generations to come.
Geoffrey Da Silva
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