Jan 23, 2023 Letters
Kaieteur News – On Thursday, 20th January 2023, I received a text message, from a former M.P., informing me that comrade Gloria Bancroft was no longer with us. I read the message about three times before I could have reacted. I was shocked, saddened and lost for words. I thought about life and how fragile we, as human beings, are. I sat for about ten minutes before I contacted Gloria’s son to convey my condolences to him, his siblings and the rest of the family. Gloria and I were friends, we were PNCR comrades, we were members of the Eight Parliament and we campaigned together.
I have known Madam Bancroft, as I often called her, for most of my “political life.” We were almost like fixtures at party events. Gloria was rarely absent from party events in Georgetown, despite the fact that she lived in Region Eight, specifically Mahdia, during those times. She made it her duty to attend and actively participate in party activities. Gloria was a stalwart in every sense of the word. She served the party at various levels and did so energetically. She was a hard and dedicated worker. Gloria had many stories to tell of her activism. I’ve campaigned with Gloria many times, in different parts of Guyana. She was a foot slugger, even though at times she was in obvious pain caused by one of her legs. I recalled that during the 2011 national elections period, I was asked to travel to Mahdia for an election campaign rally. Gloria was identified as the chairperson of the rally and I was slated as one of the speakers. Once M.P Bancroft heard that I was heading to Mahdia, she contacted me to say “Lurlene, I hear you coming to Mahdia girl; we got to wuk this ground before the rally, I know you does walk fast but yuh gat to slow down cause yuh girl foot does act up.” We had a good laugh! I got into Mahdia around 5pm the afternoon of the rally which was scheduled for a 6-7pm start. I went straight to the venue to see what the setting was like, and there was Madam Bancroft busy getting things together, as she commanded an army of enthusiastic helpers.
We hugged then she asked if I was going to do a last “mop up on the ground” I answered in the affirmative and she immediately asked someone else to oversee the finishing touches at the venue. We walked and knocked on several doors and stopped at many shops, and she was sure to introduce me to everyone we met, and also reminded them that the presidential candidate will also be speaking. Many people reminded Comrade Bancroft that she had already invited them and assured her that they will be there. However, like a true campaigner, she elected to remind them time and again. It wasn’t until a few minutes before the start of the meeting that we returned to the crowded venue. There was no time for anything but for Gloria to get the rally started, and that she did with much enthusiasm! She was a true party comrade and friend to the youths.
Gloria was friend to the GYSM. She knew many of the executive members of the organization by name, position and region they came from. Many of us interacted with her at a personal level as we shared jokes and stories about comrades. Gloria had an inviting spirit and many gravitated to her. We were often anxious to hear what was happening in Region Eight and she is always willing to share. She loved to “gaff” and share past memories. I recalled during our early days in the National Assembly she would share many of these stories and often ended by saying “girl Lurlene you too young to know”. This line was her usual refrain after her animated and passionately told anecdotes. Gloria was one of the PNCR’s many eyes and ears in Region 8, she did not hesitate to report of what was going wrong and what needed to be done.
She loved the PNCR worked tirelessly, particularly during the party’s many years in opposition. As I reflect, I think of the many “Gloria Bancrofts” who have sacrificed so much to advance the cause of the party and people of Guyana. These are comrades who often, sacrificed all they had, not what they could have afforded, because of the love of their party and country. We owe a debt of gratitude to comrades like these who were in season no matter the temperature. They might not have always gotten it right but their work and commitment cannot be denied.
It is imperative that those who come after understand and appreciate the work and sacrifices people like Comrade Gloria Bancroft made. We must know on whose shoulders we stand, and never take the sacrifices of these comrades for granted. These are the people who had the least but gave the most. They might have been in physical pain but yet persevered; they might not have had all the lofty certificates but yet they represented like they did. It was the desire to contribute, in spite of their plight, that often captivated my admiration. I cherished those days of being around people like Comrade Bancroft, I was humbled by their humility and grateful for their company. I have seen their greatness from their struggles. I therefore, owe it to myself to tell the stories of these comrades who have done so much with so little! Yes, controversies may exist but their investment in, and labour for and on behalf of the PNCR cannot be denied.
Gloria Bancroft has made her contribution to Guyana and her party. She was a stalwart. I am glad I knew her.
Sleep well comrade, sleep well! You have done your part; you have played your role for life, may be just a stage! May God grant your soul eternal rest.
Thanks Madam Genevieve Allen for informing me of our fellow M.P.’s passing.
Sincere condolences to her children and other family members. May the fond memories of her help to comfort you in this time of great loss.
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