Buxton Honours Eusi Kwayana – August 21, 2013

Buxton Honours Eusi Kwayana – August 21, 2013

The Buxton First of August Movement  will be hosting a tribute to Brother Eusi Kwayana in recognition of his long and selfless public service to Guyana on Wednesday (today) August 21 at 5:30 pm at the Friendship Primary School. The tribute titled, Thank You Brother Eusi, will take the form of a Cultural Evening and a Symposium. Representatives of all political parties and organizations to which Kwayana was affiliated have been invited to tributes. These include the PPP, PNC, WPA, ACDA, ASCRIA, ASRE. Others such as AFC, Red Thread and the Pan African Organization are also expected to participate.

The First of August Movement believes that Kwayana has been a national treasure whose contributions have not been fully acknowledged by Guyana. We, therefore, hope that this tribute would serve to draw the country’s attention to the need to properly honor our outstanding sons and daughters while they are still in our midst. Brother Eusi at 88 years old continues to participate in the national debates through his regular interventions in the newspapers. . At a time when Guyana is going through a crisis of leadership, the example of Eusi Kwayana is most needed.  

Eusi Kwayana is a veteran educator, author and political activist. Kwayana, along with Dr. Cheddi Jagan, Forbes Burnham and others, was one of the leaders of Guyana’s independence movement.  He was a founder-member of Guyana’s first mass-based political party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), He was the PPP’s first Assistant General Secretary and served as a Member of Parliament and Minister of Works and Communication after the party won the country’s first election under Universal Adult Suffrage in 1953. Kwayana would later join the People’s National Congress (PNC), which emerged in the late 1950s following the split of the PPP in 1955. He served as Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the PNC and editor of its newspaper, New Nation.

In 1961 Kwayana co-founded the African Society for Racial Equality (ASRE) and in 1964 he along with others founded the African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa (ASCRIA). He served as chief-spokesperson for both organizations which were dedicated to the cause of African Guyanese empowerment.  It was during this period that he changed his name from Sydney King to Eusi Kwayana.

When ASCRIA joined with other groups to form the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) in 1974, Kwayana became part of it collective leadership. As a WPA member, he played a pivotal role in the struggle for democratic restoration and free and fair elections.  He represented WPA in Parliament 1985-90. He was also the Editor of the party’s organ, Dayclean and the moving force behind the party’s other publication, OPEN WORD. Kwayana was also a fierce fighter against official corruption.

As an educator he is best known as the founder and principal of the Republic Cooperative High School which was located in his home-village, Buxton. He also founded and or was associated with several organizations and Empowerment initiatives in Buxton.

Kwayana has authored several books, booklets, monographs and articles. His best known works are Next Witness, Scars of Bondage, Guyana: No Guilty Race, Buxton in Print and Memory and The Morning After. He also wrote the lyrics of the party songs of the PPP, PNC and WPA and ACDA’s Affirmation.

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  • Deen  On 08/21/2013 at 6:20 pm

    Indeed Eusi Kwayana is a national treasure, and a founding father, who has not been adequately recognized for his selfless contributions to Guyana and the people. Honoring him while he’s still alive is a deserving tribute. As one of the only prominent surviving founding fathers, it should not be only Buxton, but the whole of Guyana, that should pay tribute to this man.

  • hubert hintzen  On 08/21/2013 at 6:55 pm

    I don’t think young Guyanese have even heard the name, and some of them , if they have, simply discarded it as a name from the past, without any relevance to today’s world. Nothing could be further from the truth. I remember when I first met Brother Sydney and how much I learned from him. I remember the split and how strong Brother Eusi was. He is indeed a gifted man. I salute and join with all Guyanese in paying Tribute to this very remarkable man.

  • Robert L. Graham  On 08/22/2013 at 3:05 pm

    This is an honor well deserved. As a gifted orator and writer (along with his other numerous talents) Brother Eusi stands in sharp contrast to those who ‘masquerade’ as politicians with their only concern being their own narrow self-interests and not of their fellow guyanese.

  • francis jackson  On 08/23/2013 at 6:45 am

    A well deserve tribute to Bro Eusi Kwayana who has given of himself to others – give him his accolades while he can see and hear so that the upcoming generation can learn and be inspired by his good works.

  • Atley Seaforth.  On 08/26/2013 at 5:33 am

    Brother Eusi served and still serves as a legacy to many. He is largely responsible for the educational foundation of myself and others who have benefited from his dedicated work. He gave much and demanded nothing in return but was rewarded by our accomplishments. He is a true son of Guyana.

    Atley Seaforth on August 25, 2013

  • guyaneseonline  On 08/26/2013 at 10:05 am

    We have a living legend in our midst

    Dear Editor,
    I am so pleased that someone remembers Eusi Kwayana (Freddie Kissoon’s column, Kaieteur News, August 23, 2013.) Recently the government and people of Guyana erected a monument to honor the 1863 East Coast slave rebellion. Commendations to all who made this happen. I wish to remind you that we have a human monument still living among us, namely, Eusi Kwayana. Is anybody thinking about this?
    Like Mr. Kissoon at the Friendship Primary School celebration, I too become privy to “facts that . . . few people in today’s Guyana know” whenever I speak with Eusi, as we do from time to time. This experience is sometimes burdensome as you want to have it placed in the open and let it become common knowledge. Here are just a few of them.
    In the 1950s, Eusi told Cheddi that he (Eusi) was not going to run as a candidate in the upcoming elections. I am not really a politician, I do not care to hold office, I much prefer to be on the ground working side-by-side with the people—was how Eusi explained his position. Cheddi’s response was, if you are not running, I am not running. To this day, Eusi has kept that faith, shunning the trappings of office while continuing to serve outside of traditional institutions—and pro bono.
    When Nelson Mandela was released from prison, I was ecstatically proclaiming the achievement of Mandela and what a man he is. Eusi saw more than I did. He said to me it is not only Mandela, tribute must be paid to De Klerk (the South African Prime Minister) as well, in that he got white South Africans to accept majority black rule. I was stunned that this “blacker than black” freedom fighter would recognize the white enemy’s contribution to peace and freedom.
    Here is an incident that occurred at the Guyana Marketing Corporation, where Eusi held a titular position. An employee, who evidently was the party’s man on the job, had “chucked” another employee for not paying up contributions to the party. The matter was reported to Eusi, who expressed utter disgust at such behavior. The party man was relieved of his duties. Eusi told me that to this day no one ever called him to complain or ask about the firing. As Kissoon learned from Eusi, “you must speak out for principles and moral values, even if it means upsetting the mango cart.” No honcho from the party dared to call him. You had to come straight and clean when dealing with this colossus. Even though he is not against you, he would cut you down before you open your mouth if yours is an unprincipled thing.
    At the Guyana Marketing Corporation again. Evidently there was a glut of pigs in the country at the time. Burnham asked Eusi to take some of the excess pigs from his wife’s (Viola’s) farm. Eusi explained that he couldn’t as there were other people in front of him on the waiting list. The man doesn’t bend, regardless of who!
    Many readers are too young to know of the virtual one-man crusade Eusi led against corruption at the time, citing even Hamilton Green for appearance before the Ombudsman. Wish the likes of Eusi were in Guyana now.
    An attempted strangulation of Eusi in the streets of Georgetown did not succeed. However, the scars remain to this day. Only a few years ago his throat ailment was assessed by a specialist to have been caused by a chokehold from a jiu jitsu expert.
    I sometimes amuse myself by placing Eusi in the position of certain world leaders to chart how differently he would act. Let us have him be Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan. Musharraf claims in his autobiography that the special U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte (“the Ambassador of Death”) threatened him that if he does not cooperate, the U.S. would bomb Pakistan into the stone age. Negroponte does not deny the story. If Eusi was in Musharraf’s shoes, Eusi would have chased him out of his office and told him never to come back. Eusi would have done that without any thought or concern that as a result the U.S. would have destabilized the country, overthrown the government, and assassinated him (Eusi).
    Kissoon’s column has given me reason to recall some of the things dear to me. In a word, we have a living legend in our midst. Though marooned thousands of miles from the center, and now in his mid-80s, he soldiers on. People of Guyana (inside and outside) take heed and rejoice that you live in the same time and occupy the same planet as Eusi Kwayana.
    P. D. Sharma
    Los Angeles

  • Jason Martin  On 08/27/2013 at 11:07 am

    I met Eusi Kwanana on the plane while visiting Guyana with my now late father Wilfred Martin in 1999. He was gracious, pleasant and clearly an intellectual and spiritual presence. A living legend and a man of principle. Hopefully I can meet him again.

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