OPINION: Not Historical – By Geoff Burrowes

  – By Geoff Burrowes

        To you who are kind enough to read my musings: please understand that I am not necessarily writing historically accurate stories. What they are are my personal memories, mainly of BG and Guyana – memories that have shaped me as an “Old Fowl” in Toronto, Canada.

        Although I am proud of my country, Canada, my roots in Guyana have made me what I am. But my experiences and memories will not necessarily be the same as others who grew up in Guyana.

        I’ll give you an example.          

        In 1953 the British Government suspended the constitutionally elected Government of Dr Cheddi Jagan and sent a contingent of the British Army to enforce the suspension.

        I was born in 1942 and had grown up with stories of gallant British and Commonwealth troops who had stood against the might of Hitler’s and Tojo’s armies. My uncle had travelled to England and joined the Coastal Command of the RAF. Furthermore allied troops were at this point fighting the communists in a vicious war in Korea, and the Cold War was threatening the world with nuclear annihilation and our Government seemed to be aligning itself with Moscow, China and Cuba, the enemies of the British and Americans, the free world, and I was excited at seeing the gallant troops who were fighting for us in Korea, at first hand.

        My classmate in third form was Walter Rodney, with whom I had an amicable relationship. While we were putting our books away in the lockers at the end of the day I said ” I am going up to see the troops at the barracks on Camp Street. Do you want to come with me?” he replied “Why would I want to see imperialist troops who are oppressing a freely elected government?” That was the first time I realised that not everybody thought the way I did and that Walter Rodney was politically aware in a way I had never encountered before. He eventually gave his life for his convictions. I certainly had no such convictions or the extreme courage he displayed in never backing off of his beliefs!

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that each of us had different personal experiences in Guyana and that everyone’s history is different and that we will therefore see Guyana in a different light. The point is that all our viewpoints are valid, though they might be different.

        We were all “born in the land of the mighty Roraima”. Let’s acknowledge our differences and celebrate that!     

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 08/06/2021 at 7:00 am

    Chee-A-Tow wrote:

    Excellent essay. Geoff is so right. We are products of our individual experiences and see history through that prism. I am impressed that Walter Rodney was so enlightened at such a young age. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Zandra Murray Tibbitts  On 08/06/2021 at 8:35 am

    I agree with Geoff. Those differences are also alive and well among family members and are influenced by diverse experiences and even marital connections..

  • wally n  On 08/06/2021 at 10:10 am

    Sometimes reading these stories from way back, mostly brings good memories, but then you can be forced to look at some from a more experienced point of view.
    As a young teenager I hung out with Michael Bacchus “pinpoint” the Ford brothers…We were mostly interested in the ladies, absolutely nothing else, younger Michael Forde was always off about politics, Government, mature boring stuff, we made fun of him and he stopped hanging. Years later I would meet him occasionally and he always offered me booklets .. which I would read, now reading the above, yes some people answer a “call” early in life.

  • the only  On 08/06/2021 at 1:48 pm

    Wally was there a fellow by the name of Jai Persaud that you know of in that group, i think he was from Berbice.

  • wally n  On 08/06/2021 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t think so….BTW at that time I don’t think any of us ever seen ….Berbice, so ignorant only the big city mattered.

  • Frank Ewing-Chow  On 08/06/2021 at 8:24 pm

    It is comforting to know that some cooler or ‘older” heads still exist. I enjoy reading the ‘posts” and comments of fellow Guyanese from the 50’s??? (school days). yes, many of us had never seen Berbice or Bartica!! Though I knew of Buxton (spice mango). Seriously, we all had our individual experiences and we remember with great nostalgia the events and circumstances that molded us. At my age no one cares about the accuracy of the event, just the sweetness of the memory and the thankfulness of being able to remember…….I wish I had known some of the fellow Guyanese posting here but then again, maybe I did but don’t quite remember?

  • greyprayerpower  On 08/06/2021 at 11:12 pm

    Geff, you are a  great guy, your stories bring happy memories to me a raw Buxtonian, I mean an innocent cooley gul  who went to Central High in the 50th, whose dad refused to allow me to travel with my best friend Ena Naraine on the big ship. He thought I was going to be wild. Thank goodness he allowed me to go on the big, big airplane. Boy, was I ever so lost, having hardly been  allowed  to go far away from the East Coast.  Hope to go for a visit to share and have fun with fellow Guyanese,  over 50 years in Canada and elsewhere, am dreaming of embracing all my fellows ,all whom I could find. Blessings to you- a true Guyanese. Kamala Gupta  ( Minty Persaud )

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