National heroes
What the People say about...
By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
May 26, 2003

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Politicians, athletes, writers, artists, educators or just regular people, we asked the man/woman-in-the-street to identify three persons, any three persons, who they consider deserving of being named national heroes for their contribution to Guyana's development. Here were their reactions:

Lavorn Dow-ding - teacher: `Forbes Burn-ham, I think he tried to instill in us a sense of pride for one's country. If you look at it that's what makes a country like America what it is, those people have pride for their country. That is what Burn-ham tried to do here, he even tried integrate national policies in schools, to develop a patriotic people of Guyana. When you look at our country today it is obvious that we don't have a sense of who we are as a nation. We're unravelling as we continue to look for who we are. If Burnham's policies were continued I think we would have been in a better place today. Ron Robinson, for his contribution to our cultural development. Through him we have been able to look at ourselves and laugh. But even as we laugh he has also forced us to take a serious look at who we are and what we are doing. The Link Show, `No Big T'ing' and Stretched Out Magazine, those shows allow us to analyse ourselves and try to inform. I admire him for that, for his courage to take on whoever, no matter who they are. For seeing the things that are wrong and standing up and saying something about it. Bernice Mansfield of Radio's Needy Children's Fund. She is someone who I consider a hero because through the years she has laboured tirelessly for the poor. Giving of herself, and not only that, motivating others to give. And I think because of that she is a hero. Over the years she has tried to develop this ideal of sharing everything that you have. She will say it doesn't matter how small, whatever you have you can give. That is what makes life, sharing and if we share what we have we can make Guyana a better place for the people who are not better off. I think she has given hope, especially to the children, they have something to look forward to, while also managing to integrate them into society. She has made everyone feel as though they belong. Anybody willing to sacrifice themselves for no reward whatsoever, it shows a caring spirit and I am happy to know her work continues today.'

Enandra Pratt - private sector employee: `Sir Shridath Ramphal, because of the confidence that is placed in him as the CARICOM negotiator. Clive Lloyd, for representing Guyana and being the most prolific leader of the West Indies team. And in the business world, I would have to say Peter D'Aguiar, for his vision. He built a company that is still standing and continues to be competitive internationally.

Claude Pile - cabinet maker: `I believe that a man who needs recognition for his contributions to Guyana's is Eusi Kwayana. He is a great fighter, he started early in the struggle in the early days of the PPP and later continued with the WPA. He is a man who is always willing to give people a new idea and he also made great contributions to education. He thought a lot of people. He came from humble origins and he developed himself and did a lot for Guyana's development and should be recognised for it. I think Bert Chancellor also deserves accolades for his service at the GBC. He is a hard worker and he has made a great contribution to Guyana's cultural development. He has worked a very long time to get where he is today and no matter what changes at the GBC, `Bertie' will always be there. A lot of people might not agree with me but I think Hamilton Green has struggled a lot for this country both during his tenure in the PNC and now as the Mayor of Georgetown. He still has a lot of work ahead of him as mayor but I think he is putting his best foot forward and I hope he can indeed make this city a garden city again. I believe that with the help of persons who are interested in seeing that he can do it. He also did a good job when he was Prime Minister, especially at the grassroots level, among the poor communities. He made contributions and is continuing today.'

Heimatie Singh - student: `Cheddi Jagan, Forbes Burnham and Gail Teixeira. Both Dr Jagan and Forbes Burnham inspire me. When I read about the early days of the PPP when they were both a part of the party and how they came together and brought the people together in peace and unity, I am inspired by them. Gail Teixeira, because she is an accomplished woman and for the work she has done as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport.'

Zahid Mohidin Rahat - self employed: `Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, Forbes Burnham and Richard Ishmael. Critchlow for his contribution to the Trade Union movement both here in Guyana and in the caribbean. Burnham, because at least the country was more proper then. There were never any strikes during his time in office, he used to work for the people and they were better off. At least I was better off. Ishmael also for his contribution to the Trade Union movement and to education.'

Doloris Fernandes - housewife: `Dr. Cheddi Jagan, because he really made a great contribution to this country. In Sports I would have to say Lennox Black-moore, I think he did something in the boxing ring, at least in my time, he probably inspired a lot of people. Michael Parris, the boxer who won the bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics, he put this country on the map.'

Hubert Jarvis - driver: The late leader, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, he did a lot of work for our country. For Amerindians, he did a lot of good, he visited a lot of villages and fulfilled his promises there and elsewhere in the country. And most of all he was a man for all the people. My second choice is the late President Hugh Desmond Hoyte, he restored peace and tranquility to this place. In the 1980's there were a lot of injustices which were done, a lot of violent crime and he put a stop to it during his time in office. Things were really rough before he assumed office and he saw that there was no need for people to punish, and he brought back the things that were banned. Lastly, Andrew Lewis, as a Guyanese he made me proud when he won the WBA Welterweight belt and became Guyana's first world champion.'

Marlyn Bailey - self-employed: `Hugh Desmond Hoyte, he stood for peace and he was for all the people both as President and as the leader of the opposition. Cheddi Jagan, he was a good man and he contributed greatly to the country's independence. Winifred Gaskin, she was a great leader in the education field. During her time she was responsible for elevating the education system in this country. I remember her as one of the Ministers who would visit schools and I thought she was a hero.'

Raymond Shepherd - self-employed: `Ramnaresh Sarwan is a very good candidate. He is a talented batsman and I think he is an inspiration to a lot of young people because of his hard work. Gordon Braithwaite, he is a football coach and I think he is trying to do a lot for young people. He is trying to push to do something with their lives, trying to get them off of the streets. There is this 13-year-old boy, his parents died. Braithwaite took him off of the streets and he is coaching him and he has the talent to become a great athlete. Aggrey Azore, he is man who works at the Drop-in-Centre. He looks after the street children, he tries to take them off of the streets and get them back into school and I think he is helping a lot of people. My nephew is one of the people who he helped. He took him off of the road and he placed him in High School and he just recently wrote his examinations, passed and I think he can make something of himself.'

A. Cameron - pensioner: `Forbes Burnham, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow and Dr. Cheddi Jagan, those were the people who were striving for the independence of Guyana and they should be honoured for their efforts.'

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