Remembering Walter
Stabroek News
March 7, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Had he been alive today, he would have been celebrating his 60th birthday anniversary on the 23rd of March. In this letter, I will be reviewing a facet of his life which was subsumed within his work as a historian and a politician.

When his ascendancy chimed at Queen's College in the 1950s, and he seared himself into the national consciousness of Guyana,it was primarily as an orator and writer of great distinction.

Rodney`s oratorical repertoire was characterised by a great interplay of the cerebral and the emotional, and this alternated with the mood of the audience.This was punctuated by the best interplay of verbal communication/ hand gesture co ordination I have ever seen in a public speaker. Walter Rodney as a public speaker and orator engaged his audience, and took them on

a journey of exploration, and discovery, and by so doing was able to give clarity to the state of affairs in Guyana during the period 1974 1979.

During his tour de force perfomance in my hometown of Beterverwagting during the period 1978/1979 he highlighted the progressive deterioration in Guyana. Looking prepossessing in a blue shirt and blue trousers, he was introduced to his audience by Eusi Kwayana.What followed was the deployment of oratorical skills at their most sublime. With a measured cadence, skilfully located on a polished eloquence,in half an hour he destroyed the facade of credibility projected by the P.N.C, and he demythologized the image of Burnham as an avuncular old man, and the P.N.C as a party of the masses.This speech encapsulated the deep and growing frustrations and malaise with the events in Guyana during the second half of the 1970s.

His speech evoked a response that would forever be etched in my mind.As he spoke every word evoked a rhythmic processional thronging of his person.Rodney as an orator avoided the use of excessive and pompous verbosity,obfuscatory language, and

phrasemongering.He was not into showmanship.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph Collins