What limousines could Mr Mair have seen?
May 25, 2002
Letters on Burnham
We are pleased to see that John Mair was stung to a prompt response to our letter captioned "A palace it never was" (22.5.2002) [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] but it is not we who are demonstrating "short-sightedness and myopia" (his pleonasm, not ours!) or who are attempting to re-write history. Indeed, it is one of us who lobbied (in vain) in the 80s against the waste of governmental money on lavish presidential trips and premises abroad and suggested that the huge High Commission building in London might function also as the HC's residence and to accommodate visiting Guyanese officials. Further-more, together we have written in praise of the present High Commissioner who did not take up residence in the previous HC's mansion and who, brushing aside all the reasons why it could not be done, went ahead with little money and some volunteer help to convert the empty upper rooms of the High Commission into a first class, money-saving pied-a-terre for such visitors today. We have no master to serve: we speak as we find.
Now if Bill Cott.... sorry, John Mair saw limousines with his own eyes at Castellani House then he must have been wearing party-coloured glasses! He can only have been shown those imported since the advent of the PPP/C (and with whose money?) and been told by his mentors that they were inherited from Burnham. If so, then perhaps he is not so much dishonest as just willingly gullible! Either way he is wrong, wrong, wrong!
In Burham's time we had no flour and no sardines (and Kit Nascimento was writing as unctuously for the PNC as he now does for the PPP). We also had no presidential palaces, limousines or (that we can recall) any protesting John Mair either.
Mr Editor, perhaps your readers could help resolve this issue? Would you perhaps be willing and able to open a mini postal poll for those who are old enough to remember first-hand to respond with a plain yes or no vote on the question: "Did Forbes Burhnam ever have a Presidential Palace and a fleet of limousines?".
Meanwhile we thank you for your paper's continuing balanced presentation of news, editorials and readers' letters. We feel that this is particularly appropriate in the present instance; we acknowledge that such unbiased journalism did not exist at all in the Burhnam era and is indeed unique in Guyana today.