Instead of interring great Guyanese at the Place of Seven Ponds, why not remember them in busts set in a flower garden
On more than one occasion it has been drawn to my attention that letters have been written to the Guyana Times in particular commenting on controversial topics and signed by one ‘Raymond Trotz.‘ I find it necessary, therefore, to distinguish my identity from that of another letter writer using the same name. One letter, addressing the subject of security, was published in an edition of September 2011; another appeared in the Sunday issue of the Guyana Times captioned ‘Philip Moore’s status – not dependent upon a state funeral.‘
It is quite possible that there is another Raymond Trotz exercising his democratic right to self expression; on the other hand, it may well be a ghost writer with an ulterior motive.
Whichever it is, I do not identify with the style of written expression nor do I necessarily subscribe to those views. I shall therefore sign my name with my middle initial F (for Fitzgerald). I suggest that as a rule you request an ID number which need not be made public but can be retained by you if required for further identification. That should remove these ambiguities.
There is, however, a comment at the end of the last letter that has caught my attention. It is this: “Editor, I want readers to think on greatness – is the sporting hero more deserved of tributes than the creative artistes do?” [sic]
The question of “greatness” in the context of a state funeral and interment at the Place of the Seven Ponds raises the issue of an alleged absence of criteria, a point alluded to in a programme aired on Channel 9 last Sunday evening. I should like to respond to the writer’s invitation to think on this.
Greatness should be considered in the context of one’s contribution to building a unified Guyanese nation. There is a school of thought, once clearly expressed at a public function, that our national motto of ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny‘ was imposed by our former colonial masters with the intention of superimposing their European mores on us, thus de-emphasizing our cultural diversity. The speaker, therefore, expressed the strong view that the motto needed a re-definition in the context of cultural plurality whereby each culture is free to pursue its own destiny unfettered by former colonial influences. I pointed out at that forum, that what is required for nationhood is unity in diversity. Hence, in the context of Guyana’s development as a nation, true greatness lies in the extent to which one’s life has contributed to weaving our consciousness into a fabric of ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny.‘ Contributions to inter-ethnic and inter-cultural dialogues in spheres of political economy and cultural psychology should be essential aspects in determining the greatness of a public figure in Guyana.
Philip Moore’s life as expressed through his works and his utterances should provide enough evidence to determine the measure of his greatness.
I cannot say that I am as well acquainted with him as the writer, but listening to the celebration of his life – especially the latitude of his cross-cultural vision and the apparent level of his spiritual development – I would conclude that he qualifies for greatness. On the question of how he should be publicly honoured posthumously, I have a somewhat different view. The main questions are whether he should have had a state funeral and whether he should have been interred at Place of the Seven Ponds. On the question of a state funeral, I have not researched its constitutionality, but it might have been prudent to at least consider one as a healing gesture for a fractured nation. On the question of Place of the Seven Ponds: entombment has done little to enhance its aesthetic value – with the exception of Burnham’s Mausoleum. What might be more appropriate, given the limited space available to posterity, would be an arrangement of busts carved out of our semi-precious stones or out of selected metals – somewhat like the Non-Alignment Monument. These can carry inscriptions of the person’s greatness and can be set within a flower garden ornately fenced and guarded against the vagrancy of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Our artists can well do justice to such expressions.
Raymond F Trotz