I refer to Mr David Burgess’s letter captioned “Conversation tree seems to be dying” (07.10.22).
I also noticed the sad current state of the tree on my recent visit to Guyana. However, any corporate sponsorship for its redemption (as suggested by Mr Burgess) is likely to be “Bla Bla Bla” as the art of conversation seems to have been lost in Guyana. Guyanese generally now appear to communicate in a more non-verbal manner, curt aggressive tones, abuse, violence, litigation and dare I say it, through the letter columns of newspapers.
My suggestion would be that a new tree is replanted by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) in remembrance of my late uncle, Charles P Kennard who died in horrific circumstances at that very spot eight years ago in September 1999. Mr Kennard was at the time the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the GRDB and a foundation member of the Caribbean Rice Association and of the Caribbean Rice Improvement Network. Mr Kennard was on his way to chair a rice conference he had organised, when his fatal accident occurred next to the ‘Conversation Tree’. Not only was he an acknowledged expert in his field, he was a compassionate and caring gentleman of principle. Such men are now a rare breed in Guyana.
Manners maketh man, as the saying goes but it can also make a nation.
Robert S. Drepaul