Josh Ramsammy first burst upon my world as a person keen on playing a part in correcting the inequalities of society, of rank, wealth and snobbery on the one side and poverty and disrespect and power on the other. When I met him the impression deepened.
He seemed to enjoy teaching, like many of our colleagues. You got the impression that he seemed to understand the essentials of the kind of work we had undertaken. No group was ever too small or too distant. He was forceful and dynamic at large, committed at meetings and patient and interactive, at very small ones.
I remember the day he casually educated the collective council of the WPA about PCBs from street lamps, harmful to the human body, things I with my under-schooling had never heard about. He was of course a convinced environmentalist. He was therefore fully alert to schemes for the importation of waste from industrial countries. When OMAI spilled millions of gallons of cyanide-laced liquid into the Essequibo River, he saw red, and took an active part in the effort and campaign for reparations to the people affected He appeared as a witness before the commission. He took a leading part in the indictment of OMAI and the effort for reparations.
No community activity was too unimportant for him. He attended high as well as low profile activities. Our first joint work with IPRA and ASCRIIA activists was the consultation about race (Race Commission) with groups of people of African, Indian descent sitting apart in their own villages, and in some places sitting together.
Brother Josh Ramsammy travelled at short notice to any part of the coast needing his presence. He uplifted copies of the party organ at specific times and distributed it to a given number of people who relied on him.
Most important, when we sat brainstorming about what the party organ should be called, it was he who ventured the name DayClean, not even expecting that would be warmly accepted without a vote.
When the WPA decided to register the paper after the long years of its civil disobedience as an unregistered organ, it was Josh Ramsammy who signed the bond in the registrar’s office.
Everyone knows by now my interest in race, Josh was a rare rural-urban type of citizen with free preferences and no taboos worthy of note. He moved easily among all ethnic and occupational groups and was very happy with the most rejected. His activity in the Moverment Against Oppression (MAO) and against state violence was typical. The attempt on his life in1971 seemed to steel him for action in a wider arena.
I have been out of touch with him for at least five years. Through this means I offer his widow and their offspring our deepest sympathy in their distress.