Proud to be Guyanese
February 18, 2002
It was the great Guyanese songwriter-musician Dave Martins, leader of the Tradewinds, who sang in a song some years ago "Where are your heroes Caribbean, show them to me."
Jamaicans continue to speak and sing about the great Jamaican Marcus Mosiah Garvey. There are also Guyanese here in Guyana who sing praises to Garvey. Have we ever mentioned the name of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow in a song? Critchlow is said to have been "the father of trade unionism", not only in Guyana, but in the Caribbean as well. That is why there is a Critchlow statue in the compound of Parliament Building, and that is why the labour college is named in honour of Critchlow.
The calypso "Proud to be Guyanese" seeks to pay tribute to several Guyanese who have made positive contributions to Guyana, here at home and abroad. The younger generation may not be familiar with some of the names mentioned in the song, but many of the names are household words in our society. Names like Cheddi Jagan, Forbes Burnham, Peter d'Aguiar, Eddie Grant, King Fighter, Clive Lloyd, Rohan Kanhai, Carl Hooper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul need no elaboration. We know of their achievements. Maurice Fernandes was the first Guyanese captain of the West Indies cricket team; Bruce Pairaudeau scored a century in his first test match; Lennox Blackmore was the first Guyanese Commonwealth Boxing Champion, Kenny Bristol won a silver medal in boxing at the Pan American Games and was another Guyanese commonwealth champion, Patrick Ford was a commonwealth boxing champion, world rated as one of the best boxers at that time, Michael Parris won a bronze medal in boxing at the Olympics; June Marcia Griffith won a silver medal in track and field at the Pan American Games. It was a dead heat photo finish in which her American opponent barely edged her out, James Wren - Gilkes won a gold medal in 200 metres in an amazing burst of speed at the Pan American games. Denis Andries who grew up on the East Coast of Demerara was the first person in Guyana who won a world boxing title. Andries won the world light heavyweight boxing championship twice, though of course, he fought as a Britisher. Wayne 'big truck' Braitwaithe is a destructive undefeated world rated fighter who is in line for a world championship fight.
Andrew Lewis put away American James Page to become the first authentic Guyanese world boxing champion. Someone has to sing about these things, and that is what "Proud to be Guyanese" is all about.
I started writing "Proud to be Guyanese" in March 2001 and completed it on November 30, 200l. The song contains about 104 names. Other names had to be left out because one short calypso cannot make mention of all the names which deserve to be mention. It is for this reason that I am working on "Proud to be Guyanese part two. I have very good reason to be proud to be Guyanese.