Guyana: Culture Minister Charles Ramson Jr. under fire for statement about lack of black role models

– News Source Guyana – November 28, 2012

Charles Ramson Jr

The Culture Minister appeared on an afternoon programme on 94.1 FM on Friday November 26, 2021 and sought to lecture the black community in Guyana about what he sees as a need for more black role models.

Guyana’s Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr. has found himself facing a mountain of criticism from several prominent black citizens over a statement he made about the black community in Guyana being in need of black role models.

“I think that in the black community, young black kids also need lots of examples of success because they have to be able to see that there is a pathway in order for them to live that successful life. And it bothers me a lot when I hear people who just came out of government, who spent 1.4 trillion dollars in this country and failed the black community and still are walking around the people as if they were capable of giving the leadership to help to create wealth in the country and in the black community”, Ramson said, while explaining that his father was his role model.         


The statement received immediate backlash and has been described as gaslighting racial issues and racist beliefs in the country.

Appearing on a special edition of the Mark Benschop radio show on Saturday night, prominent Attorney-at-law, Nigel Hughes said while he is not surprised by Ramson’s statements, it clearly points to a pattern that may also be representative of an attempt to revise history as it relates to the experiences of Africans and Afro Guyanese.

Attorney Nigel Hughes

“Every single day from the beginning of time, African people got up every morning in the presence of their children irrespective of whether they were dock workers, whether they were clerical people, whether they were Lawyers, doctors or professionals, went to work to give their children a better chance, every single day in most African households. So to suggest today that they are revising history to say that African children have no role models—African people have no role model, really needs to be treated as an attempt at revisionist history’, Hughes said.

Appearing on the same programme, former Government Minister and rights activist, Simona Broomes said Ramson’s language about the Afro-Guyanese community has been consistent. She said she is not surprised about what he had to say about the black community lacking role models and she sees his statement as degrading towards black people.

She said Ramson with his “wild and disrespectful statements”, must understand that in the black community “we do have role models. We were raised in homes too with mother and father and we are good examples”.

In a separate statement on Facebook, Opposition Member of Parliament and Attorney Amanza Walton- Desir spoke about her experiences as a child growing up to black parents who were her role models.

MP Amanza Walton-Desir

“I grew up with role models all around, in my family and in my community. My mother Joy Walton was a teacher for over 40 years and shaped the lives of thousands of Guyanese from all walks of life. From her, I learned compassion and the value of hard and honest labour. My father Ovid Walton was a military officer and served this country with distinction. He instilled in me the importance of integrity, love of country, and love for the Guyanese people, irrespective of race or creed. They both have left a rich legacy that I wake up to every day and proudly walk in. So, no, you do not get to diminish them, because they were not financially wealthy, nor do you get to diminish any of the hardworking Guyanese who get up every day to work to keep this country going for that matter”.

Longtime and Prominent Guyanese Professor at Ohio University in the United States, Dr. Vibert Cambridge also took offense to the statements made by Ramson and said as a Minister of Culture, Ramson should be bringing people together and not dividing them.

“It is most unfortunate when Guyana’s Minister responsible for the nation’s cultural development is consistent in stoking divisiveness and not promoting or encouraging solidarity. At one time I excused the behavior as exuberance and inexperience. Now it appears as unacceptable patterned and deliberate behavior”, Dr. Cambridge said in a Facebook post.

Dr. Vibert Cambridge

Another overseas based Guyanese Professor, David Hinds said he is not at all surprised by the statement of the Culture Minister. He added that Ramson appears to be attacking the black community over the power and wealth that he enjoys and which were handed to him. Professor Hinds those are things that have always been used to attack and make fun of the black community.

“We don’t want any apology from Ramson, but let him go long brave, go brave boy, go”, Hinds said.


Ramson Backpedals Statement About Black Role Models

 News Source Guyana: 29 November 2021
In a video message posted to his Facebook page and reading from a prepared statement, the Minister said his earlier statement did not say there are no black role models. He said there are many Afro-Guyanese role models and many of them have shaped his political and legal life.

Harmon calls for push back against Ramson for disparaging remarks ...

… Joseph Harmon has urged African Guyanese to fight back against Youth Sports and Culture Minister, Charles Ramson Jr.

Mr Charles Ramson is absolutely right! – Guyana Times

 — … over the statements made by Minister Charles Ramson, that the Black community is adversely affected due to a lack of male role models.
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  • Linda  On 12/02/2021 at 4:10 pm

    I understand fully what Mr. Ramson was saying and he was not being racial so the backlash that he faced is nothing more than politics at play ONCE AGAIN!!!

    That said, I would love to see him as the President of Guyana one day. He’s cultured, intelligent, insightful and a bright star on Guyana’s horizon. He depicts the image of what Guyana’s President should be like.

    • John Peters  On 12/03/2021 at 10:24 am

      Vibert & Nigel it is rather strange how quickly both of you honorable gentlemen along with David can find the time to attack Charles for a statement of fact rather than political opportunism for something that is so obvious. Yet at the same time you cannot mention a word about David caustic and racist remark about the poor east Indian lady trying to sell black pudding to put food in the mouth of her family, clothes on their back and a provide a warm place to rest when the night comes.

      Have we descended to a place so low and disgraceful that we can only see race at the mention at the drop of a hat of a statement of fact that many others are not even willing to entertain.

      As members of the school of academia, I had hope that you gentlemen would have something much better to offer to the general upliftment of our people not as a race but as simple humans in our beloved Guyana.

      I agree 100% with brother Neil Adams and Bill Cosby who had made similar comments about the importance of role models from your race.


  • John Peters  On 12/03/2021 at 10:38 am

    Mr Ramson is quite correct in what he is saying and I hope that many others would take his advice and become successful.


  • wic  On 12/03/2021 at 11:53 am

    My birth certificate says mixed race as my father was Black and mother Portuguese; in North America I am Black but sometimes also described as Other.

    Along with a full time job as a banker, I gave over 30 years of voluntary service in non-profit and social housing activities in the country where I now live. Many of the buildings remain occupied by Black women and their children but few men live there and yet at weekends, the visitors’ parking is always filled with the autos of visiting men.

    Additionally, the concept of Blacks living together instead of as married couples and raising their children, appear to be the norm in North America and also when I resided in Guyana, something alien to my upbringing.

    Walton-Desir and perhaps Cambridge? were as fortunate as me to have married parents and a father who always came home after work. But our good fortune shouldn’t blind us from seeing that we were the exception and the lack of male role models in the home is indeed a fact in many parts of North America and Guyana. Such is also responsible for the bad/criminal behaviour of many of the black youth as discipline in the home which should come from fathers is lacking.

    Many men however, are only willing to visit the women who may have mothered a child, give them some money but effectively are paying for the next roll in bed; in fact, they couldn’t care one iota about the children in particular, where other men may have fathered the other children in the home.

    As such, I concur with you, Linda. Mr. Ramson indeed speaks the truth.

    Unfortunately, notwithstanding their education, people such as W-Desir and Cambridge have difficulty with the truth as there is practically no solution to the crisis(and its a crisis), part of which requires the discipline of safe sex. and the commitment of 18-25 years of a parent’s life to each child. I was a single parent and know what is required to raise a child, get it to university and come up with cash for the deposit of their first home all the time ensuring the my children stayed clear of harm’s way and the law.

    Don’t make children unless you can commit to raise and nurture them.

  • JohnPeters  On 12/03/2021 at 12:31 pm

    I completely agree and also the lucid and no nonsense reply of Neil Adams

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