I join other Guyanese who mourn the passing of Dr Josh Ramsammy and extend my sympathies to his family. I consider myself one of those whose formative years were immensely enriched by close contact with Josh and his generation of fighters. The courage and the commitment to our collective freedom of Josh Ramsammy, Walter Rodney, Kathy Wills, Bissoon Rajkumar, Dianne Matthews, Eusi Kwayana, Clive Thomas Rupert Roopnaraine, Andaiye, Bonita Bone-Harris, Brian Rodway, Malcolm Rodrigues, Tacuma Ogunseye, Jocelyn Dow, Maurice Odle, Moses Bhagwan and others not so well known drew a cadre of younger people to a similar commitment to social justice. The public political exploits of these men and women are to some extent well known by those who lived through the ’70s and ’80s. But what is not so well known is the direct and indirect mentoring they provided to the younger activists in and around the WPA. We became a family. I will not be telling tales out of school if I reveal that we the younger activists had our favourites and that Josh was high on that list largely because he was, despite his accomplishments, always a regular brother. This quality was most evident when he was on the Corentyne, a part of Guyana that he knew like the palm of his hand and could effectively communicate with.
I know that Josh did not think of himself and his political contributions as anything extra special. But that does not mean he was not special. He was. But there is something sickening about Guyana that marginalizes its special talents if they are not Burnhamites and Jaganites. Josh’s death is yet another reminder of how much Guyana has degenerated despite our much exalted democracy. We have been reading about organizations like Ratoon, Movement Against Oppression (MAO) and the WPA. But how many Guyanese below 35 years know of the priceless contributions of these organizations and their leaders to holding our nation together at a critical juncture? Today those like Josh who toiled in the dangerous trenches of the 1970s and 1980s are faceless and nameless. If they dare criticize today’s political gods or the political kingdom they are subjected to the worst ridicule by the agents of officialdom.
I claim no special treatment for my comrades. But my heart beats with anger when a Josh Ramsammy departs this world without a simple thanks from Guyana and its government. After all he took a near fatal bullet so that those who now masquerade as our foremost leaders can have what they call their government. The unkindest cut, I scream for all to hear. But God nah ah sleep. In the final analysis we are all of us and, as someone wisely said, we are all we have.
Farewell Josh. And say hello to Walter, Ohene, Dublin, Brain, John, Benjie, Holder, Chan and the other radical angels. Be sure to tell them it still rough and dread inna Guyana.
With much indignation, I sign my name.