A Proletarian Fighter
January 30, 2004
FATHER Andrew Morrison was laid to rest yesterday. For some it was the final rites of a concerned, caring person. For thousands of other Guyanese, the shock of Father Morrison's death marks a new beginning - the determination not to lose their hard-earned rights and freedoms.
Many people in this country owe the memory of Father Morrision, a great proletarian fighter, a debt that cannot ever be repaid. His entire demeanor from the mid-1970s onwards was to serve the working people.
Yes, he was a Jesuit committed to the Church of Rome and the traditions of liturgical pacificism. At the same time, he was a courageous hero whose racism was honed by the rigors of a radical pied nor understanding and consciousness.
One recalls his expose of the role of the corrupt sub-group that controlled the Knowledge Sharing Institute (KSI); especially the Maitland-Singhs, the husband and wife duly selected by the Burnham administration to manage this "special showpiece."
Few journalists anywhere in the Third World, with the possible exception of South Africa during the apartheid period, could have accomplished the sheer depth of reportage that Andrew Morrison succeeded in effecting.
There was also the expose of the House of Israel, as well as that of Jonestown, that literally ripped the camouflage flysheet away from the PNC propaganda machinery. Ordinary working-class people would seek him out wherever they could and provide him with confidential material. People trusted Father Morrison.
He understood better than many of his colleagues that the Catholic hierarchy and the religious establishment had a completely different perspective to that of the working poor. And that was what characterized his attitude and practice as a Survivor.
One also recalls that at the time he returned to Guyana in 1976, the Declaration of Sophia had "sealed off" virtually all the democratic alternatives normally associated with pluralism and a government of the people's choice.
The coverage the Catholic Standard gave to May Day activities at the National Park and elsewhere around the country was of great significance. Those articles of May Day, the speeches and demands of the workers for freedom and justice, were of immense importance for the morale and hopes of thousands of Guyanese.
Father Morrison exposed the cruelty and brutality of what took place at the interior locations of National Service, just as he pointed out the dangers of abuse to the schoolchildren who fainted in the hot sun during the PNC mass games.
He was the first to tell Guyanese, in the Catholic Standard of June 20, 1980, that Gregory Smith was the individual who, as a sergeant in the Army, had been trained and instructed to plant an anti-personnel explosive device in order to murder Dr. Walter Rodney.
The pictures of Gregory Smith printed by Father Morrison provided irrefutable evidence not only as to the existing dictatorship and its methods but also to confirm that Father Morrison, even after the martyrdom of Father Bernard Darke in 1979, refused to capitulate. He rejected the role of cowardice and lackeyism.
The memory of Father Andrew Morrision will forever live in the annals of dear Guyana.