In 1992, the Ontario Chapter of the University of Guyana Guild of Graduates published a book entitled The University of Guyana – Perspectives on the Early History. This book covers the period 1963 to 1982 and provides the views of the first three individuals who were involved in setting up and heading the university. I was a student at the UG from its inception in 1963 and I was involved in the publication of this book. Consequently, I would like to offer a bit of perspective on the point about funding of the construction of the Turkeyen campus, raised by Mr Deryck Bernard in his letter captioned “The debate on education policy and President Burnham’s contribution is a useful one” (07.10.28). I believe the UG is a national institution. It has suffered and continues to suffer from political interference.
My only interest in this matter is to ensure that history is accurately recorded.
In his piece on the early history, Dr Harold Drayton, the individual who worked on setting up the university in 1963, states that the PNC-led coalition government which came into power in December 1964 was ambivalent towards the university, with some members “advocating UG’s immediate dissolution”. Also, Dr. Drayton writes “Sir Christopher Cox of the Colonial Office had visited British Guiana from October 9 – 17, 1964 for a series of intensive discussions with government and university officials. Based on his recommendations, and after negotiations with the Government of Canada, a modest but adequate grant was received from both the Canadian and UK governments to permit the erection of buildings on the Turkeyen plantation site, which had been donated since 1963 by Bookers”.
In his piece, Professor Alan Earp, the second Vice Chancellor of UG and the individual who oversaw the construction of the Turkeyen campus states “The British Government, which had not yet entirely relinquished its responsibilities, dispatched the senior higher education adviser to the Colonial Office, Sir Christopher Cox