Tyrone Ferguson to launch new book on Burnham years

Stabroek News
July 9, 1999

A book aimed at exploding one of the great myths of Guyana and contributing to an understanding of the nation's history is being launched this evening at the Ocean View Convention Centre, Liliendaal.

The book titled To Survive Sensibly or to Court Heroic Death: The Political and Economic Management of Guyana 1965-1985, was written by Trinidad and Tobago-based University of the West Indies lecturer and researcher, Dr Tyrone Ferguson.

Dr Ferguson, who describes himself as having grown up during the Burnham years, told Stabroek News in a recent interview that the book was not about Forbes Burnham but about his and his party's management of Guyana. The book, he said, looks at four aspects of the period--the political management of the society, the social and cultural developments during the period, the management of the economy and foreign policy issues.

Dr Ferguson said that the book looks at the positive and negative achievements of the period, what went wrong and why.

Dr Ferguson who served as Head of the Presidential Secretariat for the latter period of the Desmond Hoyte administration said that he began research for the book in 1997, having taken the decision to write about the Burnham years during 1996.

He was prompted to do so, at the personal level, by his deep concern at the myths which had been thrown up by the mantra of "the 28 wasted years" and a concern with the larger perspective that Guyanese could not deal with the present or plan for the future if they did not get their history right.

Also, he said, his desire to write the book was reinforced by a Stabroek News editorial on August 7, 1998 which stated that both Burnham and Dr Cheddi Jagan together and apart had shaped the destiny of the country and that Guyanese needed to note their contributions and seek to move on.

Dr Ferguson observed that Guyana was a country of large myths and there was need to effectively debunk the myth of the "28 wasted years" as it is a stumbling block which only served the purposes of divisiveness and alienation.

Dr Ferguson's book was printed at the Guyana National Printers Ltd, which also printed his other book which dealt with the Hoyte administration.

This evening's function which will start at 7 pm is to be chaired by former foreign minister, Rashleigh Jackson and Professor Joycelyn Loncke and deputy registrar, University of Guyana will be making presentations in addition to Dr Ferguson.

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