Nov 29, 2023 Letters
News about the deaths of comrades Dalchand, a tribune for ordinary people of West Demerara; Ayube Khan a farmer from Jacklow, Pomeroon River; Rudy Insanally the consummate diplomat, and Justice Prem Persaud the judge, made me think once again about the relationship between the living and the dead.
It amazes me how, after someone we know dies, we the living must continue life’s journey knowing that one day or night, we will end up dead just as the person we know has died.
It is a surreal sensation that makes you feel free from death until such time when death eventually conquers. Never mind the desire by some, who would like to live beyond the biblical three score and ten and, if possible, an extension thereof. To many, death might be a mystery, to others life is clear enough.
I have no doubt that there is a relationship between the living and the dead. It is stored in our ‘memory banks,’ the system in the brain responsible for storing and retrieving memories. The relationship is manifested in our dreams as well as in our speeches or writings in the form of obituaries about the life work of the deceased.
Life imposes upon us the necessity to carry on with what we must do for the sake of survival and reproduction. We know that with the passage of time the pain and sorrow of losing someone eases, though our relationship with the deceased tends to get lost in the inexorable ageing process.
Dalchand, Insanally, Khan and Persaud were, in my view, forward-thinking souls. Their contributions to Guyana’s development were made in completely different fields; at the executive, parliamentary, magistracy/ judicial and grass roots levels. They helped make Guyana what it is today.
What is of interest to me is the philosophical, political and ideological outlooks of these four individuals and what to say about them.
As I think about them, I have to concede that their contributions were made not by fleeting ideas but by dint of hard and sustained work based on tested and proven practices. I once described Samuel ‘Rudy’ Insanally, as God’s custodian of caution. As a senior practitioner of the diplomatic art, he played an important role as custodian of the diplomatic system and propriety. He made multiple speeches on behalf of Guyana at multiple international fora. He published numerous articles and books in which he shared his thoughts on complex international issues with humanity.
Rudy succeeded me as Minister of Foreign Affairs in May 2001. For fourteen years he served as Guyana’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations. Between 1993-1994, he presided over the 48th session of the UN General Assembly. He assisted me formulating my speeches as Foreign Minister to UN General Assemblies and in lobbying support for President Jagan’s New Global Human Order and for Justice Mohamed Shahabuddeen to be elected to the International Court of Justice. He assisted in chairing meetings of the G77 and China between 1999 -2000 and, above all, he was of great help to me in realizing a proposal I submitted and had approved by cabinet calling for the establishment of a six-member Commonwealth Ministerial Monitoring Group on Guyana/Venezuela Relations, officially launched in 1999 at the 16th CHOGM held in Durban, South Africa.
While Rudy hobnobbed with Heads of State, prime ministers, colleague foreign ministers and diplomats from and in foreign lands he was always conscious of his role to seek information which will be of advantage to the government of the day.
In the case of Dalchand, with his feet on the ground and many times wearing ‘long boots’ he could be seen in his old but sturdy Land Rover traversing the villages on the West Bank of Demerara. Dalchand grounded with farmers and villagers high and low irrespective of ethnicity and political persuasion. He was the consummate local authority advocate, if not grass roots specialist. Many sought his advice on issues affecting their community.
Ayube Khan was from Jacklow Pomeroon. He was known for his painstaking work among the farming communities on the banks of the Pomeroon River. Mondays at Charity Market became the venue for Khan to interact with farmers providing them with valuable advice on D&I and agricultural matters.
He served for many years as Chairman of the Charity/Urasara NDC. He was a self-educated person who believed that hard work is better than Harvard.
Judge Prem Persaud came from the village of Beterverwagting on the East Coast. He is known to have maintained contact with his BV roots. He was an able and well-liked person by the magistracy and Judiciary where he served for years at both levels. During his magistracy, a controversy arose whether patrons should stand when the national anthem was played in cinemas. He served his country as Chairman of the Trade Union Recognition Board, Chairman of the Interim Committee of the GPSU Credit Union, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, and member of the Judicial Service Commission. Justice Persaud was known for his simplicity. He frequently walked on the sea walls in afternoon hours. He harbored no airs and graces that is commonplace with some associated with legal profession.
Thus, by forging ahead on their separate and distinct paths, these four Guyanese proved to be seasoned and experienced in different fields of human endeavor. In this way, they won the respect, admiration, and support of their respective constituents.
All four men are from ‘One Guyana’ yet they developed personalities and profiles different from each other in pursuit of their respective callings committing themselves to serve the nation. I call them the four horsemen of peace, hope and goodwill. We owe each of them a debt of gratitude.
Clement J. Rohee
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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