May 22, 2008


Posted in Guyana, History, Politics, Thoughts tagged , , , , , , at 12:17 am by randallbutisingh


This was a letter to the press in the sixties just before Guyana’s Independence in May 1966. Sir Patrick Renison was among the last to be given gubernatorial responsibility to an emerging nation. It was about to be the end of an era of imperialism, and a time when the two major ethnic groups were rubbing shoulders in order to effect the change. Unfortunately the lust for power divided the budding nation and Racism reared its ugly head with devastating consequences. With Independence there was gross injustice, nepotism and elimination of any opposition. It was fearful for the other major group, so there began a mass exodus of brain and brawn of those who were the backbone of the economy.

The older heads, wisely or unwisely, would have liked Colonialism to continue. There was protection by the law. Doors, as was a custom of the East Indians, could have been left open. People could have moved about freely by night or day without fear of being attacked. The media always carried good news, except on rare occasions. Teachers were given the privilege by parents to discipline their children; there were God fearing and dedicated teachers in those days. Sunday was a day of rest fully observed by everyone. There was more freedom in Colonialism; mark you, I am not advocating it, than there was in Independence when political fledglings gained power and began to throttle the nation.

“I will practice what I preach” were the words of a great administrator. They ring a challenge to all leaders in all walks of life.

Coming at this juncture, the most critical in this country’s history, he declared in his first speech this basic religious precept. “Brotherhood is not only a general impulse but a Divine command.” This was timely, as only the realization of this fundamental law can foster a good relationship among the various ethnic groups of this Promised Land,

Let us not forget that the great statesmen who have benefited posterity must have been those who have taken into their vocation the salutary influence of religious belief. They have practiced what they preached and have suffered for their high ideals and lofty principles, but they have had the consolation of their spiritual strength and the abiding hope of the salvation of the human race. They are the immortals who have transcended time and whose spirit will inspire and guide erring man till the end of time, while flamboyant celebrities wither and decay and pompous potentates and clever statesmen lie buried in the pages of history..

Gravesande, a religious and able Governor, by his wisdom and foresight, established his greatness by laying the foundation of a colony when he invited all nations to take up residence in this country. Sir Patrick Renison now has the task of welding isolated ethnic groups into a united nation.

Whether this noble personage succeeds or not, does not matter. We can be sure of his good intention, his best effort and his humanity. These will mark him as one of the greatest, if not the greatest governor of Colonial Guiana.

— Randall Butisingh



  1. Patanjali Ramlall said,

    Governors of British Guiana

    To be brief, here is a succession of Governors in British Guiana during some of its most turbulent and violent years.

    Alfred Savage – April 1953 – October 1955

    Patrick Renison – October 1955 – December 1958

    Ralph F. Grey – December 1958 – March 1964

    Richard Luyt – March 1964 – May 1966.

    Alfred Savage was the guy who presided over the suspension of the Waddington Constitution, destroying a democraticly elected government that won overwhelmingly 18 out of 24 parliamentary seats, and incarcerated its leaders in trumped-up charges.

    Patrick Renison oversaw the preparations for the visit of Margaret, sister of Elizabeth, currently in Buckingham palace.

    Ralph Grey probably looked on with amused interest while most of the shopping centres in Georgetown were being reduced to ashes* in February, 1962; he was also fortunate enough to have witnessed the bitter hatred and other atrocities aimed at the legally elected government in 1963, known as the 80 days’ strike, committed by forces dictated by British and American politics.

    Luckily again for him in 1964, he saw the begining of one of the bloodiest of race riots, instigated by King Sugar for control of the sugar workers and their union. All the while enjoying benefits from a beleaguered people and being impervious to their plight.

    Richard Luyt, the last of the venerables, witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack for the last time in B.G*., May 26, 1966.

    All of the Governors were replacements for Slave Masters and were also lackeys of an imperial and colonial empire. During all strikes and uprisings in B.G., not one of their hands was raised in defence of the suffering people. Eight sugar estates went on strike in 1948. On June 16, that same year, the police opened fire at the rear of the sugar factory at Plantation Enmore, killing 5, and injuring 12 defenceless persons, thirty-year-old Lalla Bagi was shot in the BACK.

    The people were seen as subservients to the needs of the empire, and Governors were the extensions of that evil empire.

    Nevertheless, there is always intrinsic good in all human beings, regardless of their positions; there should never be hesitations in recognizing such qualities, whether governor or governed, upper or lower class, and their goodness is tribute to justice, a justice that will some day be manifested for all humanity.

    * ashes, remind me of Nero fiddling while Rome burnt (allegedly)
    * B.G. British Guiana

    – the man who presided over the Waddingtonof the Waddington Constitution with a duly elected

  2. Thanks Pat for resurrecting history. That information is highly appreciated. I am sure Guyanee blogers will find it very interedting.

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