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Air Commodore David Case, the highest ranking black officer in the British armed forces, often dubbed ‘the British Colin Powell’ has offered to ‘E-mentor’ (guide by e-mail) his counterparts and young people in Guyana. Air Cmdre Case says such a link between those who have made it in the UK diapsora and their homeland could be administered by the High Commission in London.
Case, whose Guyanese family includes the timber exporter Hamley Case, won a UK Guyana High Commission award in 2001. It is hoped he might win another this autumn. An aircraft engineer by craft, he now shapes the policy of the RAF from a position just three from the top of that tree. He is a fully paid-up member of the ‘Guyanese Mafia’- the label put on UK Guyanese who have made it by Prince Charles and others.
He is happy to be so called: “I respond to the G Mafia moniker positively,” he told me in an exclusive interview. “It refers to a group of independent achievers who happen to have come to a degree of public prominence in roughly the same time window. The sinister aspects of the moniker do not apply. We do not act together.”
His base is outside London in the West Country of England so he tends to meet the other ‘Mafia’ members only at events at the High Commission.
Applying his analytic skills to the growth of the ‘Mafia’ he is equally clear: ‘It is difficult to explain the rise which is undoubtedly multi-factorial, but it has something to do with education, determination, strong communication skills and an ability to interact with people easily. Case, Baroness Amos, Trevor Phillips, Lord Waheed Alli and David Lammy MP would seem to have these qualities in spades. But, as with his suggested e-mentoring scheme, Air Commodore Case sees the responsibilities as well as the rewards of being a ‘Guy Mafia’ member. “Given that the Mafia label is merely journalistic shorthand, the nature of what the group has put back is directly related to the activity of the individual members,” he says.
But he concludes that whatever they give and take in the UK, their homeland has been the beneficiary of their rise. “They have certainly put Guyana, or more accurately Guyanese, on the map.” They sure have.