Father Morrison should be honoured in a larger way
February 1, 2004
THURSDAY, before, during and after the church service, friends, priests and parishioners said final farewell to Father Morrison. When I entered the church, the singers from Linden were doing a rendition of that Bette Milder classic, WIND BENEATH MY WINGS. It was a moving movement to one of the greatest human beings that walked this earth. As we entered the cemetery and I watched the masons putting the final cement paste onto his tomb door, the thought occurred to me that Father Morrison should have been laid to rest at the Seven Ponds in the Botanical Gardens. The Jesuit Society would not have approved of this because all Jesuits take a vow of poverty and therefore Father Morrison had to be buried with other past Jesuits in normal circumstances. We must respect that.
But Father Morrison must be symbolized in a larger way. I am saying unambiguously that the people of Guyana must demand that a prominent place in Georgetown be named after Father Morrison. The next generation must grow up in this country knowing who Father Andrew Morrison was. If we can't name a large place after him, then we must build a monument to him and the Jesuit Society and the Catholic Church must understand that Father Morison was national property. He has heroic status and national heroes belong to the country. The people of Guyana could not stop the Catholic Church from burying Father at La Repentir but the Catholic Church should not intervene and stop the honouring of Father by other means. I am inclined to accept the idea that we should build a monument to him, and I am prepared to donate a month of my salary as a final contribution to the project. Father Morison was no ordinary Guyanese and this country loved him. I cannot foresee any inability on the part of anyone or any group to raise money for this endowment. We cannot let a disgraceful situation develop whereby 15 years from now young Guyanese will have to ask or inquire as to who was this great Guyanese. Why should they know who Burnham, Jagan, Hoyte, David Rose, Martin Carter, and Nathaniel Critchlow were but not know who Morison was?
All Guyanese know about the names listed here because there are physical manifestations dedicated to them. The same must be for Andrew Morrison. His memory and name must be carved out in physical mould so all Guyanese will know what he did for this country. I am trying my best here to restrain myself and make a comparison with Father and others and ask why visitors to the Botanic Gardens will know who Sir David Rose and Martin Carter were but not Father. There has to be recognition by the relevant sections of this country that can translate this idea into actuality that Father Morrison is a national hero and perhaps the one with the most impeccable record. And by this I mean no insult to Critchlow. I have written often that Father Morrison and Walter Rodney were the two greatest heroes we have produced as a nation. I suspect I may be challenged by those who think that Critchlow should be on this list; I have no objection to this. My emotion and analysis about Father Morrison center on the crucial axis of freedom. Here is where we need to have a profound polemic on what constitutes freedom. And maybe an academic symposium could be arranged whereby we can juxtapose Morrison's contribution as against Jagan and Burnham.